Jono Lester Motegi PodiumJono Lester has finished in second position overall at the second round of the Super Taikyu Endurance Series, held at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan over the weekend.

Lester, in his second event for the champion PETRONAS Syntium Team, looked an early chance for victory in the #28 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 at the hands of Super GT champion Masataka Yanagida.

Yanagida capitalised on a fast start to pull a 12-second gap on the sister PETRONAS car at the first round of pit stops.

Dropping to second place during the second stint with Melvin Moh at the wheel, Lester and his team opted to risk it all to challenge for victory, by leaving a well-used set of Yokohama tyres on the car to save precious seconds in the pit lane and overtake the lead car.

When Moh was pushed off the track by lapped traffic on his pit-in lap, any hopes of capitalising on this gamble were erased and 22-year old Lester battled deteriorating brakes and tyres to hold on to second place at the finish.

In third place was the Horizon Energy Drink BMW Z4 GT3.

“I drove my butt off out there today!” an exhausted Lester commented soon after the race.

“The car was a real handful on the old tyres, especially in the last half hour. It was a challenge just to stay on the track, let alone post decent lap times!”

Despite this, Lester believes the team made the right call with their strategy;

“We had a plan to leapfrog Car #1 and battle the 90-minute final stint on old tyres. It had the makings to put us in the box seat for an exciting battle with our team mates for the win, however Melvin [Moh] getting caught up in lapped traffic ruined our hopes of challenging today.”

Dato’ David Wong, team principal of PETRONAS Syntium Team said: “I am happy to see that Jono is adapting very well to Japanese GT endurance racing and showing fast learning of race tracks he has never been too. We believe he has a lot of potential and we are very pleased with his progress thus far.”

Lester’s second successive second place finish has only left him more motivated to go one better at round three at Sugo Sportsland on May 18-20.

Lester is supported in the 2012 Super Taikyu Endurance Series by PETRONAS Syntium, Opti-Flex, R Redpath Limited, Trinity Media Group, Mako Networks, Vortex Racewear and ThrillCapital.