Teampetronas

PETRONAS Syntium Team clinches their fifth Super Taikyu title

SUPER TAIKYU SERIES 2012
Rd.5 SUZUKA CIRCUIT
RACE
21 October

PETRONAS SYNTIUM TEAM CLINCHES 

FIFTH CONSECUTIVE SUPER TAIKYU TITLE 

WITH ONE ROUND TO GO

PETRONAS Syntium Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28 secured their second pole postion of the season.
#1 won Race 1, which was filled with incidents and eventually ended early with a red flag.
#28 started from P1 in Race 2 and held on to the lead to take the chequered flag.
#1 won the overall Super Taikyu 2012 championship, making it the team’s fifth consecutive title .

Sunday, 21 October 2012 – Entering Round 5 of the Super Taikyu Series 2012 in high spirits after their Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race success, the PETRONAS Syntium Team’s next target was to secure their fifth consecutive overall Super Taikyu championship. That target was accomplished really soon when the PETRONAS Syntium Team’s Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 sealed the championship by the end of the weekend at Suzuka Circuit with a first-place finish in Race 1 and second place in Race 2. The unique format of two one-hour sprint races meant adopting slightly different strategies than usual, but the PETRONAS Syntium Team managed to claim victory in both races, with the SLS AMG GT3 #1 winning Race 1 and sister car SLS AMG GT3 #28 winning Race 2, their first win of the season.



Powering to their second pole position of the year, the SLS AMG GT3 #28 combo of Tatsuya Kataoka, Jono Lester and Melvin Moh were determined to get a win for their car after coming close to it in previous rounds.  Driver line-up for the SLS AMG GT3 #1 was Nobuteru Taniguchi and Dominic Ang for Race 1 and Taniguchi with Fariqe Hairuman for Race 2. In the SLS AMG GT #28, Lester was paired with Kataoka for Race 1 and then with Moh for Race 2. 

A post-qualifying three-grid penalty was handed to Lester due to a controversial incident involving another car when he was straightening the SLS AMG GT3 #28 after spinning. That demoted the SLS AMG GT3 #28 to P4 for the starting grid of Race 1, though they retained their pole position for Race 2. That put the SLS AMG GT3 #1 in P1 for Race 1, where Taniguchi quickly pulled away from the start. Lester made it to P2 by the first corner, but was later given a drive-through penalty for a jump start. 

Taniguchi was still in the lead at the end of his 20-minute stint when he passed the car over to Ang. However, just as Ang exited the pits, a string of crashes that simultaneously occurred elsewhere on the track brought the yellow flag and the safety car out. Almost immediately, the race was red-flagged and later declared prematurely. Lester was dealt another penalty for passing under the yellow flag, pushing the SLS AMG GT3 #28 down to third place.

Putting that behind them, Lester and Moh were more motivated to take the chequered flag for Race 2. Starting in pole, Lester started well and managed to keep Taniguchi off, until the latter had to hand over the car to Fariqe. Having built a good enough gap from the rest of the field, Moh exited the pits in front of the Threebond Nissan Technical College GT-R GT3 #24 and Fariqe to keep the lead. There, he comfortably maintained it to cross the finish line first. 



Commenting on the race, Lester said, "The monkey’s off the back! I am elated to take my first victory for the PETRONAS Syntium Team. After a tough morning, we fought back valiantly and showed our true pace in car #28. It’s nice to be finally rewarded for the efforts of the drivers and their crew. I made a clean start this time and I was very conscious of all of the yellow flag zones (to avoid another penalty). I had a good battle with (Nobuteru) Taniguchi and had no real trouble staying in the lead; I just ran a consistent line. Our strategy was to give (Melvin) Moh the best car possible with fresh tyres when he took over for the final third of the race. This proved crucial to extending our lead on car #1 in the closing stages and we are glad we got our first win of the season for this car in Super Taikyu.”

Dato’ David Wong, team principal of PETRONAS Syntium Team, added, "Although this weekend’s races were short, there was a lot of drama. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and just focus on what’s ahead. It was a challenging morning for our SLS AMG GT3 #28 with the penalties but they put Race 1 behind them and drove their hearts out to get that race win they have been wanting. They achieved their goal and our team also inked another milestone with our fifth consecutive Super Taikyu title for our SLS AMG GT3 #1, with one more round to go next month. The PETRONAS Syntium Team is made of champions and they deserve every bit of it.”

Super Taikyu, the professional six-round Japanese endurance race series, will end at Autopolis on 10 – 11 November. 

QUOTES

NOBUTERU TANIGUCHI / No. 1 
In Race 1, I got a good start from pole position and I saw that (Jono) Lester made a jump start. I just focused on pushing hard to make a good gap for the next driver, (Dominic) Ang. Anyway my stint was very good as usual. Car #28 was fast in Race 2 and I was waiting for a chance to pass (Jono) Lester but there was no chance to and I had to hand the car over. The car was very good and I kept a good pace throughout my stint.

DOMINIC ANG / No. 1
I took over the wheel from (Nobuteru) Taniguchi for Race 1 and just exited the pits when the yellow flag and safety car were deployed. One or two corners later the red flag was out and my race ended there. If the race continued it would have been in our favour as we have already completed our driver change. It’s a pity I couldn’t drive more. Fariqe (Hairuman) drove with Taniguchi for Race 2 and although we came in second, our car #1 still clinched the overall title at the end of the weekend and we’re happy about it!

FARIQE HAIRUMAN / No. 1
It was a good outing but I struggled with the traffic as there were many slow cars on the track. I missed the feeling of bringing the car home to take the chequered flag. It’s been a while since I was the finishing driver to take the car home as my last few stints were in the middle. Great job to car #28 on their first race win!

JONO LESTER / No. 28
The monkey’s off the back! I am elated to take my first victory for the PETRONAS Syntium Team. After a tough morning, we fought back valiantly and showed our true pace in car #28. It’s nice to be finally rewarded for the efforts of the drivers and their crew. I made a clean start this time and I was very conscious of all of the yellow flag zones (to avoid another penalty). I had a good battle with (Nobuteru) Taniguchi and had no real trouble staying in the lead; I just ran a consistent line. Our strategy was to give (Melvin) Moh the best car possible with fresh tyres when he took over for the final third of the race. This proved crucial to extending our lead on car #1 in the closing stages and we are glad we got our first win for this car in Super Taikyu.

TATSUYA KATAOKA / No. 28
I was supposed to drive Race 1 but I had no chance to drive because of the red flag. Race 2 was left to the young drivers and they did a good job. Both (Melvin) Moh and (Jono) Lester were very fast this time, well done.
 
MELVIN MOH / No. 28
Race 1 was a pity as (Jono) Lester was given penalties, but our car #28 made it up in Race 2 with our first win of the season. (Jono) Lester did a good job holding (Nobuteru) Taniguchi off during his stint and when I took over, all I had to do was just keep the gap from car #1, which I managed to. This is the first race win for #28 this season, as well as my first race win in Super Taikyu. I felt relieved and happy when I took the chequered flag, finally we got the first win we were chasing. 

DATO’ DAVID WONG / TEAM PRINCIPAL
Although this weekend’s races were short, there was a lot of drama. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and just focus on what’s ahead. It was a challenging morning for our SLS AMG GT3 #28 with the penalties but they put Race 1 behind them and drove their hearts out to get that race win they have been wanting. They achieved their goal and our team also inked another milestone with our fifth consecutive Super Taikyu title for car #1, with one more round to go next month. The PETRONAS Syntium Team is made of champions and they deserve every bit of it. 

For more information, request for photos or any enquiries, kindly contact media@teampetronas.com or visit the official website at www.teampetronas.com.