Jonathan Venter Claims Hard Fought Podium in Japan
Jonathan Venter Claims Hard Fought Podium in Japan
Jonathan Venter has claimed his second podium in as many rounds, with a hard fought P3 in race two to make it a Craft-Bamboo Racing double podium in Japan. Race one proved just how dangerous Venter is from any start position, as the nineteen year-old rising star put together a spectacular performance on the tight and twisty Okayama circuit. His teammate Darryl O’Young started from P13 in the #99 VLT liveried car, before handing over to Venter where he carved through the field and took an incredible nine places to secure P4 and take a big chunk of valuable championship points. Venter was extremely consistent with his results at Okayama and delivered on every level by showing speed and maturity behind the wheel of his Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3. The Aston Martin Evolution academy star’s hard work and big points haul has helped him reach third overall in the drivers’ championship and has contributed greatly to Craft-Bamboo Racing taking the lead in the overall team championship standings.
Venter took on the Okayama circuit in the second qualifying session of the day and he was up against a tough field of competitors. His sights were set on pole position and he was looking good after he set an impressive 1:29.909 around the Japanese circuit, but Adderly Fong put in a quick lap just before the end of the session to snatch away P1. Venter’s time proved quick enough for P2 and this secured the team a front row start for race two in Okayama, setting the #99 VLT Aston Martin up for a strong podium challenge.
O’Young drove the first stint in race one and set out to move up the field and avoid any incidents with other competitors so he could hand the car over to Venter in a good position. O’Young completed his stint successfully and without incident before entering the pit lane for their compulsory pit stop and driver change. After a well-executed pit stop, it was Venter’s turn to hit the track and carve up the field in the hopes of still being able to capture a podium position.
Venter got straight to work, putting his head down and focusing on the cars ahead. He powered through the closing stages of the race and had moved into P4, a staggering gain of nine places. Venter was still pushing though and was doing his all to catch up with the third placed BBT Ferrari but when the flag fell, it just wasn’t enough. Venter had produced a brilliant drive to take multiple positions and helped the #99 make a strong points haul to add to their current tally.
1. Tonio Liuzzi/Hiroshi Hamaguchi (FFF Racing McLaren 650S GT3) - 32-laps
2. Carlo Van Dam/Piti Bhirom Bhakdi (Singha Ferrari 458)
3. Davide Rizzo/Anthony Liu (BBT Team Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
4. Darryl O’Young/Jonathan Venter (Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston)
5. Andy Soucek/Jeffrey Lee (Absolute Bentley Continental GT3)
In race two, it was Venter’s turn to start the race and he would do so from the front row of the grid. He executed a strong start and put in some strong opening laps to keep pace with the front running Bentley. The young Australian continued to push to open up a gap of five seconds from the third placed Ferrari, but an unfortunate safety car was called out onto the circuit closing up the field once more and erasing any gap that Venter had built up to the rest of the field throughout the race. The safety car had an adverse effect on the #99’s race strategy and forced the team to adapt quickly to keep the car in podium contention. After the safety car came in, Venter upped his performance in a final push to create as much of a gap as possible before diving into the pits to switch over to teammate Darryl O’Young.
O’Young continued Venter’s strong challenge and battled for the lead straight out of the pits. Unfortunately, tyre degradation was starting to affect the #99’s performance after Venter’s attack earlier in the race. O’Young fought as hard as possible and finished the race in P3, just behind Craft-Bamboo Racing’s #88 sister car to make it a double podium for race two. Venter has now moved up to 3rd place overall in the drivers’ championship together with O’Young, whom both have 42 points going into the next round at Fuji. Craft-Bamboo Racing have now also moved into first position in the teams’ championship standings after the two strong finishes for the #99 VLT Aston Martin.
“It was overall a tough weekend from Thursday up until the last race today in Japan. The other cars and competitors were very fast this weekend, so we had to do our best and keep pushing. It is a really nice track, it is hard to get right but the team did an amazing job and I felt as though I made good improvements and gained confidence for the following rounds. We are constantly improving the car and I’m looking forward to the future races as we continue our fight for the GT Asia championship title. A big thanks to the team for the big effort this weekend as everyone worked hard for these results.”
1. Adderly Fong/Keita Sawa (Absolute Bentley Continental GT3)
2. Frank Yu/Richard Lyons (Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin GT3)
3. Jonathan Venter/Darryl O’Young (Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston)
4. Richard Wee/Matt Griffin (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458)
5. Anthony Liu/Davide Rizzo (BBT Team Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
1. Craft-Bamboo Racing - 80 pts
2. Bentley Team Absolute - 78 pts
3. FFF Racing Team by ACM - 58 pts
4. BBT - 57 pts
5. Clearwater Racing – 43 pts