Possible missed podium for Miedecke Stone in GT Asia

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Having endured something of a difficult baptism at the third round of the GT Asia Series at Okayama at the beginning of the month, Aussie based Miedecke Stone Motorsport shipped their Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 the relatively short distance up to Fuji International Speedway for race's 7 and 8 last weekend.

Also joining the team would be late signing Australian Porsche Carrera Cup specialist Ashley Walsh who would drive alongside George Miedecke after team boss Andrew Miedecke decided that the team again needed someone with more experience to help continue setting up the car after Nathan Morcom started the process with the team at Okayama.

Settling upon their own programme of installation and setup and the fact that this was Walsh's first time out in a GT3, the #95 car surprisingly found themselves constantly half way up the timing screens and even achieved the lofty position of P5 in the second Free Practice session!

That alone was a massive difference to the performance of the car at Okayama.

During Q1 Miedecke posted a time of just under 1.5 seconds slower than the pole setting Porsche to claim P5 in Race 1 later on Saturday whilst Walsh clocked an incredible P3 just 0.2secs behind pole  (which later transpired to be P2 after a car ahead was forced to take an engine change) for Sundays race.

With Race 1 starting on a wet track the first few corners were taken very gingerly by all with Miedecke able to hold position and even take the fight to the surrounding Bentleys and Ferrari's and with track conditions never really improving the #95 would be involved with many dices for track position including an unfair degree of rubbing it may be said.

By the time the compulsory pit window had closed Walsh re-emerged from the pit lane in P9 but it was too late for him together the set up of the car (an improvised wet set up) to make up any time and the car eventually finished in in P10 (one lap down) but that was still an improvement to Okayama's best of P12.

Race 2 on Sunday was at least dry it was the turn of Walsh to do the first stint but with the grid penalty being awarded against the BBT Ferrari the #95 Aston would at least have a 'clear' view of T1 having been elevated to the front row.

With the traditional GT rolling start Walsh found himself being pushed out of position into the first corner, dropping back to fourth before being forced to push more than he perhaps should and spinning out and narrowly being missed by another car at T5 - that pushed him to the rear of the pack with only a minute gone.

What happened next was something special.

Considering his lack of GT3 experience and his lack of track knowledge Walsh put in one of, if not the best drives of the day, catching up and passing the field all the way up to P5 and even then pushing hard to make up a further two places with the Bentley and Ferrari ahead of him to gain what would be a podium position by the end of his half hour drive.

Coming out of the midway point compulsory pit stop Miedecke did emerge still in fifth and despite climbing up to and holding P4 from an early point into his stint until only five minutes to go the #88 Craft Bamboo Porsche eventually took the #95 to claim fourth and slightly dampen would would have been an amazing finish at the chequered flag.

Despite the disappointment of what could have been for MSM, the P5 finish at Fuji will be seen as a major plus point by the drivers and the team as they develop the car and themselves into the GT Asia series. They now ready themselves for the penultimate round of the series at Shanghai in China in the middle of August.

Photo credits - MSM

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