Australians fair well in Asian Le Mans down under
Monday 13 January, 2020
Photos: Bob Taylor
The Asian Le Mans Series has held its long awaited visit to Australia with 25 teams from around the world doing battle at The Bend Motorsport Park.
The second round for the 2019/2020 season saw Russian outfit G-Drive Racing with Algarve take out top honours as Roman Rusinov, American James French and Léonard Hoogenboom from Netherlands take charge of the race behind the wheel of the Ligier JS P217.
Crossing the finish line just 44 seconds behind the Russian car was the highest ranked Australian talent with Nick Foster and Aidan Read steering the Eurasia Motorsport run Ligier JS P217 to a well-deserved second place alongside Spaniard Roberto Merhi.
Remarkably, the second placed trio ended the weekend with the fastest lap of the race, their 13th lap time of two minutes and 38.673 seconds pipping the third placed Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara P2172 by just sixth hundredths of a second.
There was more of a gap when it came to the outright race as the British team, made up of Brits Ben Barnicoat, Jack Manchester and Harry Tincknell rounded out the podium a further minute and a half behind the runners-up.
The all British team comfortably sealed a top three finish ahead of the field’s only all Australian team with John Corbett, Nathan Kumar and Mitchell Neilson ending the race in the Inter Europol Endurance run Ligier JS P217 three laps behind the front three.
The next best Australian to feature in the international event was Garnet Patterson who placed in seventh outright alongside Greek and Australian Prototype Series competitor Andreas Laskaratos, Slovakian Miro Konopka and Chinse international Kang Ling.
Radical Australia Cup veteran Peter Paddon joined fellow Australian Garth Walden and American Austin McCusker to steer the Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 to 16th outright, while Ricky Capo’s Graff team ended the race in 20th.
It was a challenging day for Virgin Australia Supercars Championship star Shane van Gisbergen who along with fellow New Zealanders Nick Cassidy and Daniel Gaunt could only settle for 19th.
The next round of the Asian Le Mans Series takes place at Sepang International Circuit on 15 February.