It was a solid eighth placed finish for Aylezo Competizione drivers, Zen Low and Fairuz Fauzy, at GT Asia Series’ first 3-hour endurance race Saturday, 5th September 2015. The duo took the car home safely after enduring a long week of race prep after a rebuild, brake issues, and unpredictable weather. The race, Round 7 of the season, was held at Sepang International Circuit and is an extended race period from its usual 40-60 minute race, giving teams a chance to score double points over the one race weekend.
Technical Partner to OD Racing, the Aylezo crew had less than three weeks to rebulid the Lamborghini Gallardo FLII, which was badly damaged during the Kuala Lumpur City Grand Prix race in August. “A few weeks ago the car was pretty damaged but the crew did a fantastic job of putting it back together. Both Fairuz and I are happy with the car and how it drove all weekend” said Zen, Aylezo owner and driver.
The crew put the car back together in time for the race weekend but as luck would have it on the first practice session they found out that the ABS system was faulty.
“Thursday was a long day. We managed to suss out the issue after the second session, so we missed our window to properly shakedown the car after rebuilding it. So, we used up most of our practice on Friday for this, but the car performed well and we were immediately ready for our stint” said Cheah Lai Sun, Aylezo Team Manager.
Qualfying was held on the morning of raceday, Saturday. The endurance race called for a combined time of both drivers to determine grid position for the race. Fairuz went out with the professional drivers to set a solid 2:05.2, while Zen was unable to set his best time after being hampered by traffic during his stint. The combined best time placed the team in eleventh, a blessing for an endurance style race, where consistent pace and durability is of utmost importance.
“I did not have a good start, in fact it was probably one of my worst starts. At the start, I think I dropped two spots after the first lap and halfway through I regained one position to 12th and stayed there till the driver’s change. I was pretty much on my own till I handed the car to Fairuz” said Zen of his first stint.
Fairuz took over and was out a few laps before it started to rain. “Went out with a new set of tyres and pushed the first two laps and got the time down to 2:07.6. Then at the next lap I felt something wasn’t right with the car, after the race we found out that it was due to a faulty sensor, which cost me seconds per lap.
“A few laps later, it rained. I stayed out with the slicks as it was not too heavy and the track temp was so hot that it dried out almost instantly. When it started to rain heavier, the team called me in for a tyre change. I went out with a few laps to go before the pit-window and the rain gradually stopped and the track started to dry out, so when they asked about the conditions, we decided to change back to slicks for Zen. He managed to stay out of trouble despite the track being damp for the first part of his stint” said Fairuz.
Zen took over and found it quite difficult to drive in the initial stage, but kept his head down and paced himself well over the duration. “After Fairuz’s double stop, we were down in 14th, but our strategy was that as the track dried, we would be able to gain time and position as other teams had to come in to change tyres. So I just kept at it despite being a bit nervous but it worked.
“The first four to five laps was almost undriveable, it was like driving on ice and I had my traction control on maximum and I had to short shift most of the time. After that I began to pick up the pace and we did gain about six positions”.
Zen then handed the car to Fairuz for the last stint in P8 but the team dropped one position at the driver change. “When Zen handed the car to me again after his stint, we decided to stay on Zen’s set of tyres while other teams changed sets, because we knew that the scrubbed set would fare better in the damp conditions. I was one of the quickest in that first part of my stint, then midway through my stint I could feel some issues with the engine and I just managed to control my pace. We were glad that it was an endurance race” smiled Fairuz.
“Overall, I think we reached our objective to finish the race and collect points in the vital double points weekend. I am a little bit frustrated as at one point I was one of the fastest when I stayed out while on slicks in the wet, my time was 2:21 on slicks in the wet compared to 2:24 on wets. Anyway, the weather was just too tricky, there were parts of the track that was dry while others remained damp or wet, so we did the best that we could under the circumstances.
“I want to thank the team and especially the crew for a great job this weekend. Thank you also to our sponsor, OD, for the great support and for bringing with them about 200 supporters to cheer us on” ended Fairuz.
Zen agreed, “overall it was a pretty good weekend, from having a fully rebuilt car after the extensive damage we had in KLGPC. Almost everything went according to plan and it was only at the last stage of the race, Fairuz felt a loss in power from the car. We are still not sure what happened there but the boys will have a look at it after the race.
“From P11 to P8 is pretty good and at the end of the day what’s important is that the boys did a great job allowing us to race again. We are looking forward to Shanghai in the next couple of weeks.
“We would like to thank our sponsor OD Markets for the huge group of supporters that they brought to the circuit to cheer us on. Having them around with us was great, it really helped to motivate us to do better” ended Zen with a bit smile.
Aylezo will head to Shanghai with OD Racing for Rounds 8 & 9 from 25th to 27th September 2015.