It was a sweet victory for PETRONAS Syntium Team (PST) at Round 5 of the 2011 Super Taikyu Series today, ahead of the sixth and final round of the season tomorrow. A win for Race 1 and a second-place finish in Race 2 at the oval-style 2.4km Motegi Super Speed Way gave the PST BMW Z4M Coupe No. 1 the overall win, marking PST’s fourth consecutive Super Taikyu championship title after winning it in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It was the first time racing at Twin Ring Motegi for Malaysian rookie drivers Dominic Ang and Ooi Fei Hoong, while it was Nobuteru Taniguchi’s first race on an oval track for this year.
The intensive double-round weekend started with the Motegi Super Taikyu Oval Battle (two races of 50 laps each) where the PST BMW Z4M Coupe No. 28 qualified in pole position for both races and were aiming to achieve pole-to-flag race victories. Japanese drivers Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka started both races in the PST BMW Z4M Coupes No. 1 and No. 28 respectively.
Taniguchi clocked the fastest lap for Race 1, but it was his fellow driver Masataka Yanagida who overtook veteran Malaysian driver Fariqe Hairuman in their sister car No. 28 after the driver change to take the race lead. Fariqe was prepared to fight back for the win but the car unfortunately suffered a mechanical failure and the PST BMW Z4M Coupe No. 28 had to retire from the race early.
In Race 2, Taniguchi managed to overtake Kataoka before passing the wheel to Ang. However, the driver change coincided with the safety car period and caused Ang to be stuck at the pit exit for extended time. PST BMW Z4M Coupe No. 1 eventually finished second with sister car No. 28 in third, brought home by Ooi.
The 2011 Super Taikyu finale tomorrow is a 300km endurance race on the 4.8km Motegi road course.
NOBUTERU TANIGUCHI / No. 1
To win the race we had to overtake our sister car No. 28 so our strategy was to take the lead during the pit stop. This worked in Race 1 and I thank (Masataka) Yanagida for his good performance. In the second race I thought I could have a good battle with (Tatsuya) Kataoka but their car did not have a good pace and I passed him quite easily. Then we were caught off guard during the safety car period and lost the lead to our rival team. We have already won the title but I still want to achieve my purpose tomorrow for a perfect win!
MASATAKA YANAGIDA / No. 1
I executed a good pit stop and followed up with a good pace on my outlap, allowing me to gain a big lead on our sister car No. 28 in Race 1. After that I maintained the lead with a steady pace. I enjoyed my race and am happy to win the oval race. I didn’t drive in the second race, but I’m glad it was a good result for our car and we are officially the ST-1 class champion! I really want to say thank you to everybody for their support. DOMINIC ANG / No. 1 (Masataka) Yanagida managed to overtake Fariqe (Hairuman) in our sister car to give us the win in Race 1. Their car then experienced a mechanical failure and they were forced to retire early from the race. For Race 2 it felt really good to finish the race as the last driver. Our driver change coincided with the safety car period and I was unfortunately stuck at the pit exit for a long time. Towards the end I had a good fight with car No. 9 and managed to hold him out for a few laps but eventually lost first place to him.
TATSUYA KATAOKA / No. 28
Starting from pole position, I was controlling the first race and I had the confidence we would win this time. Unfortunately we lost the chance for victory due to machine trouble, what a pity for our car! In Race 2 we could not keep as good a pace as in Race 1 so we just did our best to stay out of trouble. We were denied a good performance but nonetheless I will still go all out and do my best tomorrow for the last race of this season. Congratulations to our sister car No. 1 for taking the title!
FARIQE HAIRUMAN / No. 28
We had two chances for a race win today as we started in pole position for both races, but our sister car No. 1 was faster than us today. A big pat on the back for them for sealing the championship title today, but I will not give up fighting them for a race win in tomorrow’s last race of the season.
OOI FEI HOONG / No. 28
I’m feeling quite disappointed as I was not as quick as I should have been during Race 2 when I took over the wheel. It did feel good taking the car home and taking the chequered flag in third place though.
DAVID WONG / TEAM PRINCIPAL
Excellent result from the boys today at PETRONAS Syntium Team! We were gunning to seal the championship title this weekend and we did it after Round 5, with one more round to go tomorrow. I applaud them for their consistent performance throughout the year and I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who is part of the PETRONAS Syntium Team family. The victory is a team effort!