Mixed fortunes for Walkinshaw

Sean Walkinshaw had mixed fortunes in Japan
Sean Walkinshaw had mixed fortunes in Japan

Blancpain GT Series Asia debutant Sean Walkinshaw delivered a strong account on his maiden outing in the category at Fuji Speedway in Japan over the weekend.

Teaming with Finnish racer Jesse Krohn at FIST Team AAI, sharing the No.91 BMW M6 GT3, the duo ended Saturday’s contest 14th overall and ninth in class. But hopes of a step forward in Sunday’s outing were ended on lap five after sustaining radiator damage while dicing in the pack.

The car didn’t have great pace due to the BOP [Balance of Performance], it made the BMW slower on the straights and that was a big problem

Sean Walkinshaw

The Chipping Norton driver said: “The weekend was a bit character building. Unfortunately the car didn’t have great pace due to the BOP [Balance of Performance], it made the BMW slower on the straights and that was a big problem.

“It was fantastic to work with the team, though, a really professional great bunch of guys.”

Krohn took the opening stint of race one, lining-up 17th overall on the grid. Krohn sliced his way through into the overall top eight before slipping to tenth place.

Krohn moved up into fifth overall before handing the car over to Walkinshaw at the end of lap 17, who remained in touch with the top 12.

Into the closing stages Walkinshaw ran in 14th spot but was pipped by regular Super GT team-mate Shinichi Takagi, in the sister Team AAI car, to finish 14th overall.

Walkinshaw had to retire in Sunday’s race.

He made contact to the front-left of the BMW at the penultimate corner on lap four and that resulted in a broken radiator pipe.

He continued into the next lap before pitting to retire at the end of the fifth tour with a rapidly overheating car.

Walkinshaw added: “We did manage to find some more speed with the car between the races, so we hoped to make progress in race two.

“Only a few laps in though at the second to last corner some light contact broke a radiator pipe and the engine overheated, so we had to box.”