Super GT Championship racer Sean Walkinshaw and team-mate Shinichi Takagi charged to a top four finish in the penultimate race of the season at Autopolis in Japan on Sunday.
The result increased their lead in the GT300 driver standings to 12 points.
Going into the final round everything is getting very serious, and it’s all still pretty close at the top of the championshipSean Walkinshaw
Facing a tough challenge in round seven at the 4.6-kilometre track after a red-flagged interrupted qualifying run limited the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri duo to a lowly 22nd on the grid, Chipping Norton racer Walkinshaw impressed in the second stint of the race after a terrific opening from Takagi.
Taking eight points away from Autopolis with fourth position, the GT300 championship leaders now go into next month’s final round of the Super GT season at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan with the title in sight – although Walkinshaw is refusing to be complacent with lots of hard work still ahead.
Walkinshaw said: “Obviously, the result was fantastic considering how bad qualifying was. The team did an incredible job with strategy to over-cut tons of cars and Shinichi did an awesome job in his stint.
“We couldn’t be happier as we still managed to finish ahead of all of our championship rivals, which was our only aim going into the race.”
With just three weeks to wait until the Super GT Championship finale at Motegi, Walkinshaw is now determined to leave no stone unturned along with the Autobacs Racing Team Aguri crew to be in a position to mount the strongest possible challenge in the last race of the season.
Walkinshaw added: “Going into the final round everything is getting very serious, and it’s all still pretty close at the top of the championship, so we’ll have to perform very well at a track which doesn’t completely suit our car. But I’m confident, between the work of the ARTA guys and our Bridgestone tyres, we can still get a good result.”