Jono LesterJono Lester was poised for his first Super Taikyu victory at Sportsland Sugo over the weekend, before a failed suspension component forced a lengthy unscheduled pit stop for repairs to the #28 PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

The third round of the 2012 Super Taikyu Endurance Series saw Lester lead the field in Official Practice, converting this to his first pole position alongside team mates Tatsuya Kataoka (Japan) and Melvin Moh (Malaysia).

The race began in similar fashion, with Lester driving a clean, trouble-free stint to amass a 51-second lead in the first hour of the three hour race.

Lester was forced to pit soon after for repairs when a suspension component gave way on the back section of the 3.7km circuit.

The car rejoined the circuit with Moh at the wheel in 37th position overall.

Both Moh and Kataoka fought valiantly to bring the car back into contention, eventually finishing in third position in the GT3 class.

“Today was a day that promised a lot, and delivered very little,” Lester said.

“Our weekend up until the car problem was faultless – both on the part of my team mates, myself, and the PETRONAS Syntium Team.

“I picked up this place [Sugo] very quickly and really felt confident during my stint, despite early pressure from many GT3 class cars. However, the boys did well to elevate us back into a reasonable finishing position, and I must commend them on their efforts.”

Dato’ David Wong, team principal of PETRONAS Syntium Team said: “In only his third race of Japan, Jono has proven to be a star of the future. He’s new to Sugo, like he is with all the tracks in Japan, but he read the circuit quickly and out-qualified everyone. He then went on to lead the race for 36 laps against established top drivers, until the car ran into trouble. Fantastic drive from him – I look forward to more from Jono.”

Lester now returns to New Zealand for the mid-season break, before the next round of championship at the Suzuka circuit, which collectively hosts both Super Taikyu and the World Touring Car Championship.

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.

Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.