The 2017-18 Asian Le Mans Series resumes with the 4 Hours of Fuji (1-3 December), under the shadow of Japan’s iconic white-top, Mount Fuji.
For Algarve Pro Racing Team and drivers Ate Dirk de Jong and Dean Koutsoumidis, the 4 Hours of Fuji is about consolidating their second position in the coveted AsianLMS Gentleman’s Trophy.
Last month’s Zhuhai curtain-raiser yielded a top five result for the Portuguese team and a similar outcome at Fuji International Speedway would be well-received by all concerned, including De Jong.
“The first round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Zhuhai was very successful,” said De Jong. “Racing for 2h27m isn’t something I expected to do straight away and, while it wasn’t too physically demanding, it was mentally exhausting. It required full concentration for the entire stint, but the last three laps were all within half a second of my quickest time, so I was pretty consistent throughout.
“My first LMP2 race met my expectations. I know I would have been faster if I had done one stint, but more seat time in the car is what’s needed to take those last little steps. My recent test in Estoril on very worn tyres was good practice, because it will probably be much colder than I’m used to and grip will be relatively low at Fuji. I ran there last year in an LMP3 car and it was my weakest performance because there was no grip. However, I had much less confidence and experience then and I’ll be simply targeting a solid race finish this time around.”
First practice is scheduled for 14.50 JST (GMT+9) on Friday 1 December, with FP2 and qualifying at 9.00 and 14.35 respectively the following day (Saturday 2 December), and the Asian Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Fuji itself at 12.20 on Sunday (3 December).