The PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28 was fastest on the grid, taking pole position for both races, as Tatsuya Kataoka and Jono Lester clocked the fastest times of their respective Driver A and Driver B sessions.
SUPER TAIKYU SERIES 2012
Rd.5 SUZUKA CIRCUIT
Returning to Japan after a successful 12-hour Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, the PETRONAS Syntium Team resumes the chase for its fifth Super Taikyu title at Suzuka Circuit for Round 5 of the Super Taikyu Series, which is a support race to the World Touring Car Championship this weekend. The PETRONAS Syntium Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 will be helmed by the usual trio of Nobuteru Taniguchi, Dominic Ang and Fariqe Hairuman, while sister car #28 will be piloted by Tatsuya Kataoka, Jono Lester and Melvin Moh.
This weekend will see a different format of two one-hour races with only two drivers per car for each race. The fastest combined qualifying time of Driver A and Driver B will determine the grid position for the first race, while the next fastest combined time will determine the grid position for the second race.
The SLS #28 was fastest on the grid today, taking pole position for both races, as Kataoka and Lester clocked the fastest times of their respective Driver A and Driver B sessions. However, a post-qualifying penalty was dealt to Lester for a controversial incident when another car went off track while Lester was straightening his car after spinning. Relegated three places on the grid for the first race, the SLS #28 will start in fourth while #1 will start in P1. For the second race, both cars will be starting on the front row with the SLS #28 in P1 and #1 in P2.
NOBUTERU TANIGUCHI / No. 1
The car is in good shape from yesterday. At this track, the pit exit is quite far from the first corner so I managed to avoid backmarkers to get a good lap. I wasn’t too happy with my hot laps in qualifying as I couldn’t get a clear lap. This time our sister car #28 is fast and also, the race format is special, being only an hour long. I need good luck tomorrow to get the victory.
DOMINIC ANG / No. 1
My sector timings were good but because of traffic, I couldn’t get a clear lap to put those good sectors into a lap. I made a mistake on my last lap while I was trying to improve my second fastest lap and I spun. This is the first sprint race in Super Taikyu and we’re looking for a good race.
FARIQE HAIRUMAN / No. 1
My session was shortened; I came back to the pits when the red flag came out. The team had to check the car after Dominic’s incident so I couldn’t continue. I hope I can do better in tomorrow’s run.
TATSUYA KATAOKA / No. 28
I only did four laps in practice on Friday – two laps on new tyres and two laps on old tyres. They changed the setup from then so today I was like driving with new car conditions. Nonetheless I still had confidence to get a good time for qualifying and finally I did. I finished fastest for the Driver A qualifying, 0.008 seconds ahead of (Nobuteru) Taniguchi. Jono (Lester) has shown good improvement this weekend and together we achieved pole position.
JONO LESTER / No. 28
I felt comfortable with Suzuka Circuit very quickly and I’m pleased with my pace all weekend. I had a personal target for qualifying which I didn’t quite reach; qualifying was a little messy by my own standards. Still, I had enough pace for pole position.
MELVIN MOH / No. 28
I am pretty happy with my pace throughout the weekend. I kept improving every session and I did a good time in qualifying. Hopefully we can finish the job tomorrow and achieve the target we set.
DATO’ DAVID WONG / TEAM PRINCIPAL
It is always nice to see some healthy competition between our two cars so that they can push and motivate each other to higher standards. The sprint race format for this round will make things very interesting so we’re in for a good show tomorrow.