Kiwi endurance driver Jono Lester is disappointed not to have capitalised on a strong qualifying performance for the PETRONAS Syntium Team at Suzuka, finishing fourth in his race at the penultimate round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series.
After scoring the team’s second pole position of the season alongside Tatsuya Kataoka, Lester lined up in third on the grid for the opening race.
A frantic start saw the top four cars immediately locked in battle, rarely separated by more than a few inches as crowds were witness to one of the most enthralling tussles in the history of Super Taikyu, until the interjection of a lengthy safety car period part-way into the 40-minute race.
With lapped traffic separating Lester from the leaders, the 23-year old, Takapuna based driver lost out at the restart in a drag-race to the first corner with the #81 GTNET Nissan GT-R of Takayuki Aoki.
From there, with a handful of laps remaining, a challenge for the final podium spot was unsuccessful and a despondent Lester settled for fourth place.
“I’m incredibly disappointed to not be able to translate our pace into a strong result today,” Lester said.
“There was some questionable driving out there and playing by the rules ended up working against me. In such a tight championship battle we need every point, so our job just got a little bit harder for the final round at Autopolis.”
Damage limitation on Sunday came in the form of a brilliant win from Kataoka, followed up by another for Fariqe Hairuman to set up an exciting final round with just 6.5 points separating Car #28 from points leader, sister SLS AMG GT3 #1.
“The boys performed flawlessly on Sunday and kept our hopes alive. Autopolis is going to be a nail biter!”
The final round of the 2013 Super Taikyu Series takes place at Autopolis on November 09-10.
Lester returns to New Zealand overnight to prepare for the first of three endurance races that make up the V8 SuperTourers Endurance Series. He will again be paired with John McIntyre against a stellar field of Australasian motorsport stars.
The following weekend both Lester and McIntyre will join Fastway Racing for the Christchurch round of the 2013 SIERDC at Ruapuna, a 3-hour race driving a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup alongside Simon Ellingham.
Lester is supported throughout the 2013 season by key partners including Vortex Racewear, Lero Global, 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, @jonolester on Twitter and @jono_lester on Instagram. Join the conversation using the hashtag #flyingkiwi on social media platforms.
Follow the action from your smartphone by downloading the free Jono Lester app, simply by visiting http://jonolester.appguppy.com from your iPhone or Android device.
Photo by PETRONAS Syntium Team.