TF Sport scores dominant victory in Japan with hard fought podium for D'Station Racing

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A lights-to-flag victory for the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE crew of Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sørensen was the perfect comeback from the heartbreak of Monza and has extended their championship lead to 20 points in the clear. The #777 D’station Racing trio of Satoshi Hoshino, Charlie Fagg and Tomonobu Fujii shone through, going from last on the grid, to stepping onto the GTE podium at their home race.

It was a perfect start to the weekend for TF Sport, as #33’s Bronze driver Ben Keating, notched up the team’s third pole position of the season. Satoshi Hoshino also proved his pace in qualifying, by initially placing P4, however a post-session penalty put the #777 Vantage to the back of the grid and left the crew with a challenge ahead.

A classic start by Keating saw the Texan stick to the sharp end of the order throughout his double-stint, this included a great move down the inside of championship rival, Paul Dalla Lana, in the #98 NorthWest AMR entry to regain P2.

Fujii-san of D’station Racing stormed from the last place of the WEC grid, to the lead of GTE Am in his opening stint and the TF Sport-run Vantage duo headed into the second hour of the race, as 1-2 in class.

Hoshino-san drove an incredibly impressive stint and the local Bronze driver really held his own around his Pro-graded competitors.

Thanks to a slick stop from the TF Sport crew, Chaves took the reins of the #33 Vantage and rejoined the track as the class leader. From here, the Portuguese driver got his head down and pulled an impressive 33-second lead from the rest of the pack.

It was Aston versus Ferrari from P1 to P4 in the closing stages, and whilst Marco Sørensen held a comfortable lead, it was Charlie Fagg who drove a tough, long stint to keep the #54 AF Corse Ferrari at bay and succeeded in bringing the #777 GTE across the line to score his first WEC podium result.

#33’s second victory of the season, marked the 33rd win for Aston Martin in the World Endurance Championship.

“From the moment we rolled out this weekend, we looked to be on the pace, which was a nice way to start with both cars, especially as we were concerned about the Balance of Performance coming into the weekend. That made it easier to concentrate on the important bits of the weekend! Qualifying was fantastic for Ben and great for Hoshino-san until his penalty, which was a real shame! Fujii-san did a really good job at the start and that was the best I have ever seen Hoshino-san drive, ever! 

It was a tough challenge for young Charlie, but he did fantastically and I’m really happy for D’station Racing on their home turf. Ben was awesome, as always, and all three drivers raced cleanly, with no penalties. Once they got the lead back, they did what they needed to maintain it and extend our Championship lead!” said team boss Tom Ferrier.

The 2022 WEC season finale, the 8 Hours of Bahrain, takes place at Bahrain International Circuit on November 12, where TF Sport’s only goal will be to wrap up the Championship title and D’station Racing will be looking to step onto the podium once again.

Source material - TF Sport
Photo credit - Andrew Lofthouse
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