What a fantastic weekend we had in Fuji! In a very tough race, we took our first victory of the Asian Le Mans season with United Autosports and it feels great! I had to take a lot of risks in this race and while that’s usually something you try to avoid in endurance racing, it paid off big time.
A dry start
From the very first laps of the weekend, it was clear we had the speed in the car. I’d never been to Fuji but luckily, we hit the ground running and I could do qualifying. I set the third time in the LMP3 class, which meant we had a fine starting position for the race. My teammate Matt Bell drove the first stint and had a great rhythm, when the rain started to fall at the end of his run.
Second place in the first half
We waited for quite some time before we switched to wets because we wanted to be absolutely sure the rain would stay. When teammate Christian England took over the wheel for his stint, we were in second place. Christian also drove a very good stint and when it was my turn to take the wheel, the track started to dry.
On a drying track I was able to close the gap to the leaders but when you have only one dry line, overtaking means taking a huge risk. Luckily for us, the safety car came out and I was able to have a go at passing the leaders at the restart. It worked but immediately after I was pushed wide on a wet kerb by a GT, which cost me four seconds. I had to do it all over again.
That winning feeling
I could hear the team cheering me on in my ear when I chased after the leaders and with less than half an hour to go, I had another opportunity. It was now or never and this time I stayed in front and kept the lead until the flag fell. It’s feels amazing to be winning again and this victory means we’re now second in the championship.
The next race is in Thailand on the 12th of January at the Buriram track. But for now, we go into the holidays with a win under our belt, which is a great way of ending 2018. We have plenty to look forward to in 2019!