Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Scores 1-2 Finish in Thailand
15th January 2018
• All-Malaysian #Magnificent7 team of Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid celebrate debut Asian Le Mans Series victory
• #Super8 of Thomas Laurent, Stéphane Richelmi and Harrison Newey second in 6 Hours of Buriram
• #Spirit6 of Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Gabriel Aubry fourth in LMP3 as both LMP2 and LMP3 title fights go down to the wire in Sepang
Buriram, Thailand – January 14, 2018: Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport celebrated a third consecutive victory in the Asian Le Mans Series, with the new all-Malaysian line-up of Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Afiq Ikhwan Yazid in the #Magnificent7 winning the 6 Hours of Buriram. Racing together for the first time, the trio finished ahead of the sister Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport #Super8 of Thomas Laurent, Stéphane Richelmi and Harrison Newey, as the team celebrated a 1-2 finish at the Chang International Circuit.
In the LMP3 category, the #Spirit6 of Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and 19-year-old Gabriel Aubry, making his debut with Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport this weekend, took home points for fourth.
With just one round remaining in the championship, the #Super8 leads the LMP2 classification with 70 points, 18 points ahead of the team’s closest rivals. In the LMP3 category, Cosmo and Byrne are just one point out of first place in the title chase.
Starting from pole position, Richelmi in the #Super8 held the lead at the start, with Jaafar in the #Magnificent7 quickly moving up to second from third on the grid. Jaafar stayed close to Richelmi in the race’s opening laps, as the pair of Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan cars began to build a gap to their rivals.
Following the first pit stop, Richelmi continued to lead the race, with Jaafar also remaining in the #Magnificient7. Unfortunately, as the #7 was exiting pit lane, it collected a safety cone which became lodged under the car. Jaafar made a second quick stop, but was soon back out on track in second position. Although he had lost some time, he remained in the car for a triple stint to try and make up the time lost.
In the leading #8 car, Newey took over driving duties for his double stint. But he soon ran into difficulty, when, five laps in, he began to encounter a gearbox issue. While he continued to push, his pace inevitably began to drop. Newey then passed the baton to Laurent, who, as the issue worsened, was forced to expertly manage the car during what became an increasingly demanding stint. Handing the car to Newey – along with a rapid-fire check list of instructions on how to manage the stricken car – the Briton took the wheel for the final 40 minutes of the race, skilfully bringing her home safely to a remarkable second-place finish.
In the #7 car, Jaafar handed driving duties to Yazid just after the race’s mid-point. With a little more than two hours remaining on the clock, Yazid moved ahead of the sister car to lead the race for the first time. For the closing stages of the race, it was compatriot and fellow LMP2 newcomer Tan at the wheel.
With the #8 car back in the lead, Tan in the #Magnificent7 moved past the sister car for a second time. He continued to lead the field for the remainder of the race, taking the chequered flag as his teammates ecstatically cheered him on.
In the #Spirit6 Ligier JSP3, Guy Cosmo started the race with a double stint, moving into a commanding LMP3 lead. Having had a strong start, he handed the reins over to teammate Patrick Byrne, who continued to battle hard for position.
Just past the half way mark, Byrne was forced to pit with a broken mirror on the #Spirit6, before resuming the team’s fight for the LMP3 win. With two hours remaining, young French driver Gabriel Aubry, making his Asian Le Mans Series debut this weekend, got behind the wheel. But shortly after Aubry began his stint, the car’s power steering failed and the Frenchman was forced to pit twice. The team quickly repaired the car, sending the #Spirit6 back out on track as the team looked to maximize its points haul for the overall LMP3 championship, ultimately finishing just off the podium.
The Asian Le Mans Series championship battle goes down to the wire at next month’s 4 Hours of Sepang where the #Super8 and the #Spirit6 will be fighting for the LMP2 and LMP3 championship titles respectively, while the #Magnificent7’s Malaysian drivers will be determined to repeat their success in Thailand in front of their home fans at the Sepang International Circuit.
David Cheng, Jackie Chan DC Racing:
“It was quite a good day for the team – first and second in LMP2. Obviously a bit of a shame for LMP3 as we had a commanding lead at the beginning of the race, but of course with some mechanical problems. Having said that, I think everyone in LMP3 has had some share of mechanical problems and I’d say we’ve come out with some good championship points.
“It was quite an interesting race. It was quite nervous for us at the beginning with our two cars being out front and having pulled out quite a big lead, but then watching them kind of jostle for position always makes it a bit more nervous, but the boys kept it clean and did a good job. The issues for car #8 were a little more severe so this time unfortunately we had to settle for second for them, but very happy for car #7, with two new drivers and Jazeman having only joined us from the last race. With this race being so close to Sepang it really helps them get up to speed and I think it will be interesting to see what all the boys can bring to the next race.”
Sam Hignett, JOTA Sport:
“I’m very impressed with all the drivers. The three Malaysians adapted to the team very well, they all got on together very well, were easy to work with, very quick and got a well-deserved race win. In the #8, the drivers did a fantastic job dealing with a little bit of adversity with the gearbox problem. Those guys did a very good job managing that situation throughout the race and getting the car home in second position. In LMP3, Patrick and Guy were impressive as always, and it was a great start for Gabi Aubry. It’s a shame they didn’t get the result they deserved, but I’m sure they will come back fighting in Sepang.”
Jazeman Jaafar, #7:
“We kept a strong pace at the start to keep up with Stéphane. Unfortunately after the first stop I picked up a cone which was stuck in my tyre, so we needed to come back. I lost thirty seconds which wasn’t ideal but we tried to chase back and I did a triple stint and then passed it to Afiq. We just focused on doing the best we could and on learning as much as we could.”
Afiq Yazid, #7:
“For me, this weekend was about learning. This is my first time racing in this car and it takes a little bit of time. I think this is one of the hardest cars I’ve driven so I’m happy with the result.”
Weiron Tan, #7:
“I felt really bad for our sister car that was having these problems in the race, but well done to them as they’ve done a superb job all weekend. We knew we had quite a big gap so all I had to do was keep it on track and finish the race. This weekend was all about learning, about team spirit and bonding and working together.”
Stéphane Richelmi, #8:
“It was nice to see the other car, really pushing us and Jazeman had a really good pace in the first stint. It was very close. He was putting pressure on me and I just kept pushing and then after they had a bit of a problem, we had quite a good gap and we could manage the pace.”
Harrison Newey, #8:
“I stepped into the car for a double stint. For the first five laps, the car was okay and then we just picked up a gearbox issue. We still had a chance to win the race, but the pace dropped. [During my final stint] I didn’t know if we were going to finish the race and I didn’t know if we were going to finish in front of the BBT car, but we did. We brought home second which is still a great result and I’m very happy with that. The whole Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport squad that came [here] straight from Daytona has done a really impressive job and a massive thank you to them.”
Thomas Laurent, #8:
“The problem was getting worse and worse and I was trying to manage the issue, but it was difficult. But we just had to finish this race to score some points and now we’ll see what happens in Sepang.”
Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport
6 Hours of Buriram – Results
1. #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport/ Jaafar, Tan, Yazid
2. #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport/ Richelmi, Newey, Laurent/ +1:22.773
3. #37 BBT/ Liu, Rizzo, Derani/ +1 lap
1. #18 KCMG/ Burdon, Prette, Wei
2. #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport/ Lin, Ye, Andrews /+2 laps
3. #1 WIN Motorsport/ Lok, Bradley, Descombes / +8 laps
4. #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport/ Cosmo, Byrne, Aubry / +19 laps
1. Stéphane Richelmi – 70
1. Harrison Newey – 70
1. Thomas Laurent – 70
2. Anthony Xu Lui – 52
2. Davide Rizzo – 52
2. Pipo Derani – 52
1. Josh Burdon – 53
1. Louis Prette – 53
1. Neric Wei – 53
2. Guy Cosmo – 52
2. Patrick Byrne – 52
Image Credits: Vision Sport Agency