Full Race Report: Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport win the 4 Hours of Sepang

Friday, February 9 2018
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
4 Hours of Sepang – Full Race Report:
Race winners for the 4 Hours of Sepang:
1 #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan
2 #37 BBT Ligier JS P2
3 #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2
1 #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JSP3
2 #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3
3 #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3
1 #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3
2 #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3 
GT Cup
1 #77 Team NZ Porsche 997 GT3
Hour 1:
The 4 Hours of Sepang got underway in very warm and blustery conditions. With an ambient temperature in the mid 30’s and a track temperature of over 50, it was set to be one of the toughest races for the team and drivers.
Starting from the second row, it was Thomas Laurent in the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan that takes the lead from Jazeman Jaafar in the sister #7 car in second going into the first corner. Behind them was reigning LMP3 Champion Nigel Moore in the #65 Viper Niza Racing Ligier JS P3 in 3rd outright!
Another car to have a great start was the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2. After starting at the rear of the grid, Konstantins Calko finishes the first lap in 8th. However it was too good, and after race control reviewed the start, Calko was deemed to have jumped the start and was given a drive through penalty.
As ARC Bratislava had made an engine change to the #4 Ligier JS P2 after problems in qualifying, they were also given a mandatory 2 minute stop and go pit lane penalty. This was going to make the race very tough for the team as they came out last and more than a lap behind the leaders.
Unfortunately, a poor start for LMP3 series leader and class pole sitter, the #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 saw then them drop to 10th at the star of the race.
Likewise, the GT Class leading #91 FIST Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 falls back, allowing the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS to take a commanding class lead.
Out in front of the pack it was very clear there was to be no team orders for the two Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport entries with the pair locked in a tight battle for first place.
In a very disappointing end to the season for the team leading the Bronze Cup (award to LMP2 entries running all bronze classed drivers), the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan slowed dramatically. With Dean Koutsoumidis behind the wheel and after just 30 minutes of the four-hour race, the car slows to a complete stop in turn 14.
With the car in an unsafe position, the race director bought the safety car out on track to ensure its safe removal.
The pit lane became very busy at this point, with many teams using this as an opportunity to pit and complete their stop.
Once the race resumes it was the two JCDC cars remain in front with #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2 having recovered from their poor start to be in 3rd position.
In the lead of the LMP3 class was the #1 Ligier JS P3 from WIN Motorsport that led the class at the end of the hour. In the GT class the #91 was also on the move and had taken second place from the team’s sister car, the #90 FIST Team AAI Ferrari 488 GT3. The #91 BMW then pits for new tyres and a driver change with Markus Palttala jumping in the car.
As the first hour came to a close, the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3 was given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane in their earlier pitstop.  
Hour 2:
In a very busy start to the second hour, the #7 passes the #8 to take the lead of the race. Behind them the #33 with Malaysian driver, and pole sitter,Nabil Jeffri was closing in on the leading Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport cars, hoping to make it a Malaysian 1-2 in the race.
The #18 KCMG Motorsport Ligier JS P3 was also on a charge with Louis Prette behind the wheel. He closed the gap to the #1 WIN Motorsport Ligier JS P3 and passed them to take the lead of the LMP3 Class.  
With Massimilian Wiser in the driver’s seat, the #66 Audi Sport Customer Racing Asia by TSRT Audi R8 LMS continued to pull out a solid lead in the GT class.
At the half way point of the second hour in the race both the #7 and #8 pit for fuel, tyres and a driver change.
The team managers for both cars are immediately called to race control, with the outcome of that visit being the #7 and #8 given a penalty of 10 seconds time penalty being added to their next pit stop for spinning their wheels in their earlier stops.
At the end of the hour, it was Nabil Jeffri in the lead of the race in the #33, with fellow Malaysian Afiq Ikhwan Yazid in the #7 just 5 seconds back.
The #18 KCMG entry had pulled out a comfortable lead over from #11 with #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3 behind them in 3rd place in the LMP3 Class.
Out in front of the GT class the Audi continued to hold a commanding lead over the #91 BMW M6 GT3 and #90 Ferrari 488 GT3. 
Hour 3:
Early in the third hour, the #11 Taiwan Beer GH Motorsport Ligier JS P3was also given a 10 second pit stop penalty for spinning wheels – to be added to their next stop.
Out in front, Harrison Newey began his stint in the #8 and takes the lead of the race from the #7 sister car.
In LMP3 the fight was intensifying ,with Shaun Thong in the #11 closing the gap to the #18 – at the 15-minute mark of the hour, Thong took the Class lead and continued to pull away from the #18.
The GT battle was also heating up with Jesse Krohn in the #91 chasing down the #66. He caught and passed the Audi with 20 minutes left in the hour. A spin shortly after from the #66 saw them drop further back.
With 15 minutes left in the 3rd hour of the race, the GT Championship was turned on its head. The #90 Ferrari spun at turn 13 and gets stuck in the gravel with was Bhurit Bhirombhakdi behind the wheel. The marshals were able to get him out of the gravel trap, but he dropped well back.
With the safety car is called again to allow the marshals to remove the car from the gravel trap, the pit lane was again a very busy place with teams pitting for fuel, tyres and driver changes.
While this is happening, there was more drama for the GT class with the #66 Audi slowing and coming to a complete stop on the main straight. Gilbert was able to get the car restarted, but not before dropping a lap behind the lead GT car, the #91 BMW. Unfortunately for the #66 it was then pulled into the garage where the team diagnosed a broken gearbox and were forced to retire from the race.
After the pits tops, and at the top of the hour, it was the #33 with Jake Parsons behind the wheel that took the lead after choosing not to pit under the safety car. The #8 that had a driver change, with Richelmi getting into the car, was 2nd, 3rd was now BBT, and in 4th place was Weiron Tan in the #7.
Hour 4:
In LMP3 the battle continued to be fierce as the hour started with the #11 leading the #18 by just the slightest of margins. KCMG then put Josh Burdon in the car and on the race restart after the safety car he passed the #11 and took the lead of the class.  
In the battle for the outright with, drama hits the #33 as it spins from the lead and drops back to 3rd place.
A stop and go penalty was then given to the #7 for a further pit lane infringement, forcing them to pit from 2nd place to serve their penalty.  They re-joined in 4th place, but when the #33 stops for a routine stop they move up to 3rd place, with BBT running in 2nd place.
As the final hour went on in LMP3 class, the #18 was pulling out an increasing lead from the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3, that was in turn extending their gap to the #11.
Drama once again hit the LMP3 class with less than 30 minutes to go. The pit stop time for the #18 was declared as being under investigation, with the result being that their stop did not meet the mandatory stop time and they were handed a stop and go penalty for the 1 sec their pit stop time was under.
At that point, the gap between Burdon in the #18 and their Championship rivals in the #6 was just 14 seconds. Before coming in, Burdon gave it everything, but it was not enough and he came out 10.7 seconds behind Gabriel Aubry in the #6 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport Ligier JS P3.
This gap was too great for the KCMG entry to close given the strong pace of Aubry, meaning the Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Sport took the race win and with it claimed the LMP3 Class Championship and the highly coveted invitation to compete in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class.
In GT with the #66 Audi out of contention, and the #90 well behind them, it was Jesse Krohn in the BMW that was comfortably leading the class with 30 minutes to go. Krohn held this lead throughout the final 30 minutes, not making any mistakes. The result was a 1-2 finish for the FIST Team AAI and the Championship win.  The #90 came home second, giving the team two invitations to complete in the LM GTE Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Drama then hit the LMP2 class in the closing stages of the race. The #7 stalled during its final pit stop and the team were not able to get it restarted. The team pushed the car back into the garage in a desperate attempt to get the car back out on track. While this was happening, BBT came in for their final stop and were able to get back out comfortably in front of the #7 and in 2nd place behind the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan. The Eurasia #33 was also able to pass the #7 while it was in the garage to take 3rd place.
The #7 Jackie Chan DC Racing X JOTA Sport Oreca 05 Nissan ust made it back on track in time to take the chequered flag, ultimately finishing the race in 5th place.
Out in front, it was yet another faultless run from the crew in the #8 Jackie Chan DC Racing x JOTA Oreca 05 Nissan with their drivers, Stephane Richelmi, Harrison Newey and Thomas Laurent coming home first. The drivers and their teams have performed well all season and proved deserved champions. Their remaining title challengers coming into the final race, the #37 BBT Ligier JS P2 entry of Pipo Derani, Anthony Xu Liu and Davide Rizzo came home 2nd, securing 2nd place in the Championship.
In 3rd was the #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier JS P2 entry of Nabil Jeffri, Marco Asmer and Jake Parsons. 4th was enough to secure the #4 ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P2 crew of Miro Konopka and Konstantins Calko 3rd place in the Championship.