This is the first time that Jager, Ludwig and Wolf are driving at Sepang, but they managed to adapt quickly to the track and also the tropical temperatures of Malaysia and secure pole position.
MALAYSIA MERDEKA ENDURANCE RACE 2013
This weekend is a special one for the PETRONAS Syntium Team as it competes in two races in two different countries. Two pairs of identical Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 cars #1 and #28 are racing – one set in the 12-hour Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) at Sepang International Circuit and the other set at Okayama for the fifth round of the Super Taikyu Series.
After an afternoon of hot laps with a tinge of rain midway, the iconic PETRONAS Syntium Team gullwing cars locked out the front row of the grid for the MMER 2013. The average lap time of 2:03.184 from Thomas Jager, Luca Ludwig and Lucas Wolf put the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28 in pole position, ahead of their sister car #1 in P2, driven by Bernd Schneider, Jono Lester and Dominic Ang.
The first qualifying session started in the afternoon in dry conditions, but rainfall came just before the start of the second session. It ceased as the session progressed but briefly poured again. This is the first time that Jager, Ludwig and Wolf are driving at Sepang, but they managed to adapt quickly to the track and also the tropical temperatures of Malaysia.
The race will start at 12 midnight (local time in Malaysia) this Sunday, 1 September, and end at noon.
BERND SCHNEIDER / SLS AMG GT3 #1
It is pretty disappointing because the Aston Martin #007 was seven tenths of a second quicker than I was. We finally found a setup that worked for us and we are optimistic for the race. The team did a good job and we are optimistic about the race. In 2011 we secured pole position but finished third, whereas the one who qualified second then won the race, so it’s a good sign! We will go for maximum attack definitely and gun for the win.
JONO LESTER / SLS AMG GT3 #1
Some showers hit the circuit as we approached my qualifying session. This made for a late strategy change and we waited late into the session for a new tyre run. Perhaps this was a little too late as more rain hit the circuit on my tyre peak and I had to abort. Still a great overall performance for the PETRONAS Syntium Team, though I expected more from my own qualifying. We weren’t as quick as car #28 and there’s a little bit of personal disappointment but it’s a long race and let’s see how it unfolds.
DOMINIC ANG / SLS AMG GT3 #1
The track this year seems faster as we are all clocking quicker times compared to last year. I managed to do two runs each on each of the two sets of new tyres. I managed to improve my time on the second set but looking at the data, there was some point where I should have braked later, losing some time at certain points of the track. Nonetheless, it was a good time and we are on the front grid so we will be going all out.
THOMAS JAGER / SLS AMG GT3 #28
We are very happy to secure pole position here. All three drivers for our car #28 are here for the first time and it’s a great result for the team and for us as drivers. Huge thanks to the staff who did great preparation over the last three days to make this result possible; we are really looking forward to the race!
LUCAS WOLF / SLS AMG GT3 #28
I’m really happy that I can go so fast with the car on the first time here on the track. It is also my first time in the car this weekend, so it’s really nice to be that fast. I think the other drivers, like those in the Ferraris, are quite good, but I’m confident for the race tomorrow because my team-mates are really quick.
LUCA LUDWIG / SLS AMG GT3 #28
It was not easy as I had a wet track at some parts of the circuit and it was quite slippery. Hence, I was a bit more careful at the start. But all in all, I finished half a second ahead of the others in my session and topped it. It was a quick lap and I’m excited for the race.
DATO’ DAVID WONG / TEAM PRINCIPAL
This week is a fast-paced one for us as we take on two races in two countries. It’s a big weekend in more ways than one but we are confident of victory and we will definitely try our best. It is great to be on the front row for MMER and I have strong faith in my crew. 12 hours from midnight is challenging as we race into the darkness, but this is not new to us and we will put our experience to good use.