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Hong Kong’s Jonathan Wong (saika159-) Defeats the Japanese Competitors to Take Race 2!
The "FIA Gran Turismo Championship 2018 Nations Cup" Asia/Oceania Regional Finals

Race 2 of the Asia/Oceania Regional Finals took place on the Dragon Trail’s Gardens II course in Gr.3 cars.

Japan’s Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) driving a Beetle Gr.3 took pole position once again and expectations were high that he would run away with the race as he had done previously. Position 2 on the grid was occupied by Hong Kong’s Jonathan Wong (saika159-) in a WRX Gr.3, who had his sights set on turning the tide on the Japanese competition. The second row was occupied by the familiar faces of Japan’s Tomoaki Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) racing an AMG GT3 and Shogo Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) driving a 911 RSR.

From the very start, the cars shuffled positions when Japan’s “Mister Perfect,” Akagi_1942mi, ran off the track. By taking all four of his tires off of the track, he was assessed a 0.4 second time penalty. The crowd went crazy as no one ever expected that Akagi_1942mi was capable of making a driver error.

Having chosen Soft-compound tires to begin the race, yamado_racing38 took the early lead. At the same time, saika159- passed Akagi_1942mi.

In the middle of the pack, Australia's Cody Nikola Latkovski (Nik_Makozi) racing a 4C Gr.3 was assessed a five-second penalty after causing a multiple vehicle collision at Turn 10 of Lap 2.

After opening his lead with Soft-compound tires, yamado_racing pitted on Lap 4, changing to Medium-compound tires.

saika159-, who had chosen Mediums to start the race, changed to Hard-compound rubber, rejoining the race in 3rd position after pitting. After his setback at the beginning of the race, Akagi_1942mi changed to Soft-compound tires and began to pick up the pace.

Having not pitted yet, gilles_honda_v12 was now running in first place, that is, until, Lap 6. when he pitted to change tires.

On Lap 7, with all the cars having completed their first pit stop, yamado_racing38 found himself in the lead, with Akagi_1942mi in 2nd position and saika159- in 3rd.

On next lap, yamado_racing38 came in for his final pit stop, changing from Medium-compound tires for Hard-compound rubber and rejoining the race in 3rd place.

On Lap 9, saika159- also headed for his final pit stop, changing from Hard compound to Soft.

Akagi_1942mi fought his way back from his early-race mishap and found himself in 3rd place on Lap 10.

With three laps left, the running order was: yamado_racing38, saika159- and Akagi_1942mi.

After falling from the top spot, yamado_racing38 struggled with tire wear as Akagi_1942mi started to apply pressure from behind.

The veteran was being hounded by his younger countryman. On the final lap, yamado_racing38's tires had finally reached their limit, but he was still able to hold off Akagi_1942mi's charge to take 2nd place.

But it was saika159- who had the drive of the day, saving the Soft-compound tires for the last leg of the race. His strategy paid off, as he took the lead on Lap 12 and held onto it take the checkered flag.

Taking full advantage of his rival’s critical miss at the beginning of the race, saika159- triumphed against his Japanese opponents to bring the victory to Hong Kong.

Comments from the winner: Hong Kong, Jonathan Wong (saika159-)

I picked my favorite car, the WRX Gr.3, and had my strategy planned out. I was able to show off some great driving, and win. There aren’t many races that make me this happy. As I had expected, the Japanese driver Yamanaka, who had taken soft tires, passed me on the first corner, but I did my best to keep up with him.
Then Kokubun took a penalty after a rare mistake near the start, so I was able to change the race to my favor without too much effort.

"My strategy was to save the soft tires for the final stint. Once your fuel load is lighter you can really use the soft tires effectively to increase the pace. To do that though, you have to do the best you can on the hard tires for the second stint. When I changed to the soft tires, Yamanaka and Kokubun were on hard tires and couldn’t up the pace so I easily got ahead of them.

"I see people who say 'the WRX isn’t fast' or 'you can’t win,' so I’m ecstatic to have won against the world's top drivers using the WRX. In this race, the WRX definitely wasn’t slow; it’s a real competitor and I like to think that I have proved to the world that it’s an amazing car that can win races.

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