Stuck wheel nut costs D'Station Racing AMR in Super GT

Sunday, September 08, 2019

This weekends sixth round of the Japanese Super GT Series was looking quite promising for the green liveried #7 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 of D'Station Racing AMR and its driver JP de Oliveira and Tomonobu Fujii from the 4.7km circuit of Autopolis in southern Japan.

Running something against expectation, the #7 car qualified third in its GT300 ahead of Sundays 65 lap - 300km race.

With de Oliveira taking the start for the team, the car looked quick in the opening laps before the first of the Safety Car periods was called to recover a stricken car but once race restarted the Brazilian driver elevated his running position to P2 in class by the 33% race distance and before the rains came.

As the paddock sections of the track got soaked, the farthest and more technical sections of the track remained dry with many teams deciding to stay out on slicks (which D'Station did) although the gap between the #7 car and the class leader did extend from one to six seconds during this difficult period on track.

At the halfway mark of the race de Oliveira pitted from P2 in class to hand over to co-driver Fujii but their stop was heavily compromised by the wheel nut on the rear drivers side refused to budge despite the persistence of the mechanic. Feverish pounding with a mallet eventually released the nut and the car was finally released having lost over thirty seconds in pit lane.

From that point forward the race became more of a test session for the team with the pit lane issue dropping Fujii down to P20 in class and even the repeated Safety Car and grid realignments between the two racing classes failed to improve their position much above P18 by the time of the chequered flag.

Its of course hard to say just where the car may have finished without the wheel issue but everything leading up until then showed that the turbo charged V8 AMR had the pace to take the challenge to the more established chassis in the class.

Despite the disappointment, the team now have to prepare themselves for round 7 at Sugo in just over two weeks time.

Photo credits - D'Station / Super GT
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