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Norfolk racer Alex Brundle is big in Japan after scrapping to podium spot

06:30 23 October 2014

Alex Brundle. 2014

Alex Brundle. 2014

Archant

Alex Brundle’s return to the World Endurance Championship resulted in a hard-fought LMP2 podium position in the 6 Hours of Fuji race.

“I struggled badly with tyre degradation and was forced to save a little fuel throughout my stints to make our strategy work, but our overall pace was strong, and to set the second-quickest time in qualifying and convert it into a top-three result was fantastic,” said the King’s Lynn racer after competing in Japan for the first time.

“It was nice to actually race in Japan after sitting out last year’s event due to the bad weather. As always, the enthusiasm of the Japanese fans was second to none.”

Paired with Gustavo Yacaman and Keiko Ihara, the Japanese female racer who started her career off racing for the Attleborough-based Mach 1 team in 2000, Brundle had to get used to the open-topped Morgan, having spent much of the year behind the wheel of the closed coupe Ligier JS P2.

Qualifying yielded second place, but this was removed due to a technical infringement and saw the trio start from the rear of the grid, with Yacaman starting the event before quickly moving into fourth in the LMP2 category.

Brundle continued the good work, despite having to go into fuel and tyre saving mode, before exchanging with Ihara, with Yacaman taking the final stint and surviving a collision to come home third.

“To be honest it was odd to be back in the Morgan,” admitted Brundle. “However, despite its lack of recent development compared to the Ligier, it performed strongly throughout the weekend and finishing on the podium is testament to the hard work OAK Racing has put in.”

Matt Howson, from Norwich, very nearly pulled of a fantastic victory as the local racer co-drove the second placed KCMG Oreca/Nissan with Richard Bradley and Alex Imperatori.

The Hong Kong-based team benefited from a puncture to the quicker Ligier JS P2 car, led by Olivier Pla, but in the final hour the French driver stole victory away from the team.

“It was disappointing to be so close to the win,” said Howson. “We had a bit of bad luck with the full course yellow, but a second place keeps us well in the championship battle. Alex and Richard drove perfectly and we have identified several areas where we can improve significantly so we’re confident we’ll be stronger in Shanghai.”

Will Goff made a winning return to the Porsche Carrera Cup at Brands Hatch, taking the Pro-Am 2 category victory in the opening event.

“That was absolutely brilliant, a lot of fun,” said the Dereham racer.

In race two Goff finished in third place but did claim fastest lap as Stowmarket’s Josh Webster clinched the title with second place.

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