Uphill battle for D'Station Racing at The Bend in Australia

Saturday, January 11, 2020

This weekends second round of the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series will be something of an uphill struggle for last time winners D'Station Racing AMR as a mechanical problem during Qualifying sees them starting from near the rear of the grid tomorrow.

This weekend also marks the first ever visit by international race series to Australia's latest race track facility at the Bend near Adelaide, an event that will also see the first competitive race conducted around its mighty full 7.7km, thirty five corner circuit.

Having never had LMP2, LMP3 and modern GT3 cars race around the full circuit, set up and tyre data is something of a premium for all twenty five ALMS cars who have made their way over to New South Wales for this very inaugural event.

Surprisingly, weather has also been very much been an issue at the circuit since track action started yesterday with ambient temperatures ranging from between 40 degrees plus during circuit/car set up earlier in the week to just 20 degrees and torrential rainfall during open testing on Friday. With this mornings Qualifying session being competed back on a dry and hot circuit, the whole four race of Sunday is expected to be run in similar, if not hotter again conditions.

Despite yesterdays rainfall, the #77 AMR remained the 'greenest' on and around the parched circuit backdrop.

For the #77 D'Station Racing AMR crew of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Ross Gunn, the Bend has been a progressive sequence of getting both themselves and the car dialled into what is a extremely complex and technical circuit in both of driving requirements and the racing longevity of the car with fuel and tyres already an issue should either be compremised out on track almost inevitably killing off any chances of a podium finish - just because of the distances involved back to pit lane.

The Ferrari 488 GT3 entries have again been the pick of the GT bunch in the available four track sessions since Friday - similar to what they were in round one in Shanghai before they all quickly faulted in the early stages of the race never to trouble the front runners again. Unfortunately on the flip side of that, the #77 AMR Vantage GT3 has never been able to elevate themselves too far up the timing screen in the same sessions - we don't know if that is intentional or if the twists and turns of the midfield circuit really don't suit the dynamics of the AMR Vantage GT3?

Either way, and with Gunn again taking on the Qualifying duties for the team, his fastest lap time of 2:59.285 was his fastest time of the weekend - the teams first sub three minute lap but troublingly nearly three seconds slower in P7 in class than the pole setting #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari and Davide Rigeon. A later message from Gunn confirmed a failure on an undefined front end component as as issue and may give reason to the sound of front end tyre squeal off the TV audio during Gunns Qualifying run.

But the race isn't going to be about the likes of Gunn, Rigeon and Ledogar - rather who's three driver line up can average the fastest and be at the front of the queue come the chequered flag after four hours of sweltering car craft!

Sundays start of the 4 hours of The Bend begins at 13:00hrs local (that GMT +10.5hrs) - that's a very early start for most of us who are Europe based but at least the event is again streamed live via the series Website and Youtube channel.

Hopefully Gunn will be able to knock the boys up a little something in the kitchen so that they can get the job done on Sunday (OK, it may just a ready meal but it is the thought that counts!!)

In other news with the team - this weekend had also seen the remanning members of the team back in Japan receive their series accolades for finishing second in the 2019 Pirelli Super Taikyu Series STX Class for drivers Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Tsubasa Kondo aboard their AMR Vantage GT3 that they race in this weekend.

Photo credits - D'Station Racing / ALMS

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