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Jonathan Venter Now Tied for Drivers’ Championship Lead

  • Jul 21, 2015

Jonathan Venter Now Tied for Drivers’ Championship Lead 

Jonathan Venter is now joint leader in the GT Asia drivers’ championship after a hard fought second place podium in race two at Fuji Speedway. The young Australian completed a dominant qualifying session to take pole position (1:53.642s) for the second race, where he drove a flawless opening stint on the Japanese circuit before handing over to Craft-Bamboo Racing teammate, Darryl O’Young, who took the #99 VLT Aston Martin across the line in P2. With a P9 finish in the points for race one, the international GT driver was able to close the small remaining gap in the drivers’ championship and is now joint first as the season reaches its midpoint.  


Teammate, Darryl O’Young, set a time of 1:54.247 in Q1 which would see the #99 car start from P12 for race one.

Venter has a string of quick qualifying sessions behind him this season and Fuji was no exception. The Craft-Bamboo Racing driver started the second qualifying session and immediately began to push, setting a 1:53.642 which could not be bettered by any of the competition before the end of the session. This secured Venter pole position for the start of race two and gave the #99 VLT car a good chance at taking a top result.

Qualifying Quotes

Jonathan Venter, #99 Driver

“Qualifying was really hard with the mixed weather conditions so it was very important to get the right strategy in terms of tyres. The team did a really good job of finding the right strategy to allow me to get pole in the end.”

Race One

O’Young began the race one stint from P12 and made a smooth start, avoiding any first lap incidents to settle into a fast paced rhythm. Unfortunately, lap three brought with it a faulty sensor which caused the ABS and traction control systems to fail, making the car incredibly difficult to control in the wet. O’Young fought hard to get the car to the compulsory pit window where they attempted to fix the sensor and made the driver change to Venter.

Craft-Bamboo Racing made the decision to stay on slick tyres but shortly after Venter’s stint began, the team realized the error of their ways as the weather deteriorated. The team’s effort to fix the faulty sensor were also in vain and Venter was left to battle an unruly Aston Martin for the remainder of the hour long race.     This is where Venter shone, hustling the car around the Fuji circuit with a sublime delicacy.

Coming under attack from the Nismo GT-R towards the closing stage of the race, Venter used all the moves in his defensive repertoire to keep the Nissan at bay. He focused his attention and managed to pull away with his smooth driving style and consistent lap times.

Venter kept his position for the final laps of the race and avoided any costly mistakes to bring the #99 car home in P9.

Race One Quotes

Jonathan Venter, #99 Driver

“Race one was really difficult, it went from dry to wet throughout the session. We also suffered from a sensor failure, so when Darryl handed over to me on the slick tyres and it started to rain it was a big handful trying to muscle the V12 around Fuji Speedway. Happy to hang onto to P9 and score some valuable points.”

Race Two

Jonathan Venter started race two from the front of the grid and he made a fantastic getaway, maintaining his first place position ahead of the Bentley of Adderly Fong. It was Venter’s mission to escape the clutches of the Bentley and the young driver’s ability saw him open up a 2.5 second gap by only the third lap.

It was now a battle between Venter and Fong, with the Bentley slowly closing in on the rear of the Aston Martin. Venter held off his advances for as long as possible but eventually relinquished the position, knowing that a consistent points haul was what they needed most. Venter was not deterred by the Bentley’s pace and remained hot on Fong’s tail until the compulsory pit window opened.

The Bentley dove into pit lane and Venter followed close behind, changing over to, O’Young, who remained on the same tyres. The Craft-Bamboo Racing crew performed a lighting stop and O’Young exited the pits ahead of the Bentley. O’Young fought hard to remain in P1 but it just wasn’t possible. The #99 VLT car crossed the line in P2 and gave Venter enough points to become joint leader in the drivers’ championship.

Race One Quotes

Jonathan Venter, #99 Driver

“Race two was good as I was starting on pole and for the first time of the weekend it was a dry track. I got a good start and pulled a bit of a gap, Adderly started to close in but the Bentleys were really quick and we ended up having a good battle for the lead. I handed over to Darryl in P2 and we managed to jump the Bentleys but their pace was too strong, so we had to settle for P2. Good points in the end and tied for the championship now. Heading into the Sepang 3 Hour with loads of confidence.”

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