Kiwi Jono Lester will have to wait for his first Super Taikyu Endurance Series race after the season opener at Sportsland Sugo was abandoned due to heavy snow today.
23-year old Lester, who is based on Auckland’s North Shore, had begun the weekend by topping practice and qualifying in third position in the #28 PETRONAS Syntium Team Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, alongside former Super GT Champion Tatsuya Kataoka and experienced Malaysian driver Fariqe Hairuman.
The GTNET ADVAN and Kondo Racing Nissan GT-Rs shared the front row, with the #1 PETRONAS Syntium Team car alongside Lester in 4th.
Lester felt a front row start and perhaps even pole position were possible if not for being hampered by slow traffic on his qualifying lap.
“Our track positioning was 99% on the money, but that missing 1% saw me catch a slower car on the all-important last corner, which is very fast and high speed and requires maximum commitment,” Lester explained.
Despite this, he was confident in the prospect of challenging for victory in the scheduled 3-hour race.
“The Nissans have certainly come to the party, but over our three driver line up and based on the 28 cars pace on both new and old rubber, I genuinely think we still have an edge on our competition.”
The presence of heavy snow at the Sugo circuit on Sunday morning only worsened as the morning progressed. With the morning warm up cancelled and the race delayed and shortened, it was hoped that by mid-late afternoon a start would be possible.
Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.
“We can only look ahead to round two now knowing that we have a good car, and continue our momentum there.”
PETRONAS Syntium Team Principal Dato David Wong:
“This season is an exciting and competitive one for us. Both our cars #1 and #28 have equal chances to win the Super Taikyu series and we will do all we can to try and secure our sixth consecutive title. Jono showed great potential in his rookie season with the team last year, especially towards the end of the season and we are glad to have him back. I believe he will work well with Kataoka and Fariqe to bring out the best of car #28.”
Round Two of the Super Taikyu Endurance Series is scheduled for the new Inje Autopia circuit in South Korea on May 25-26.
Lester is supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Purechoice New Zealand, R Redpath Limited, Opti-Flex, Fastway Couriers, Robbie Bird Wines, CRC MotorNews.co.nz, Mako Networks, iSign it, Sony New Zealand, Sony Xplod, ThrillPledge and Webdesign.
More details about Jono and his season can be found at www.jonolester.com, or by following ‘Jono Lester’ on Facebook or @jonolester on Twitter. Search the hashtag #flyingkiwi for related social media content online.
Follow the action from your smartphone by downloading the new Jono Lester app, simply by visiting http://jonolester.appguppy.com from your iPhone or Android device.
Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.