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Miki Koyama continues podium streak in Lamborghini ST Asia

Miki Koyama continued her unbroken streak of podium finishes in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, with two more PRO class podiums at the second round of the season at The Bend circuit, Australia, and now sits second in the championship standings.

Miki Koyama, Iron Lynx, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, The Bend
Photo credits: Thedore Racing

Miki Koyama continued her unbroken streak of podium finishes in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia, with two more PRO class podiums at the second round of the season at The Bend circuit, Australia.

On her debut season in the Lamborghini one-make series, Koyama and her teammate Charles Leong in fact collected two third-place finishes, following two runner-up finishes at the season opener in Sepang, Malaysia, two weeks ago.

Having joined SJM Iron Lynx Theodore Racing, the 2022 Formula Regional Japan champion - and current Super GT driver in a double-program - immediately proved that she could contend for outright podiums and, with another strong performance at The Bend, her pace suggests that a first victory might be just around the corner.

Both drivers are in fact newcomers to the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2, mainly coming off single seater experience - but the adaptation to the new format of racing has been impressive and Koyama and Leong are now taking the challenge to experienced international GT racers.

Macao's Charles Leong qualified second for the first race of the weekend, and thus took the start for the first stint on Saturday. After a stellar getaway, Leong almost took the lead into turn one, but was then hit from behind when a multi-car crash started just behind him. He still managed to survive the collision - albeit in third, behind Wells and Huang as the safety car was deployed.

The race went back underway with 40 minutes to go: Wells had a perfect restart while Huang came under pressure from Leong straight away, also followed by Couto who tried to find a gap. Wells pulled away, opening a 5 second margin to the three-car group following him after just a couple of racing laps. Couto found a way past for third - and then grabbed second, while Charles Leong also finally made a move stick on Huang; unfortunately a small mistake demoted him again to fourth as Jaafar sneaked past. Leong eventually settled in fourth, opening a healthy margin to the car behind.

The pit window opened halfway through the race; the #32 SJM Iron Lynx Theodore Racing Huracan went a few laps longer as Leong battled Jafaar; both stopped with 21 minutes to go and, with a clean stop, Miki Koyama jumped ahead of the #8 Huracan.

The race leader pitted at the very end of the pit window and retained the lead. Now up to third, Koyama was quickly catching Johnny Cecotto although the Venezuelan was soon up to pace and kept the gap stable to just over a second.

The two kept chipping away at the leader as well and, with 5 mins to go, the gap was down to 10 seconds, almost half what it had been just after the pit stops. Koyama gained a few more tenths to Cecotto and in the final laps, she was right in the back of the #11 Lamborghini. Navigating lapping traffic with determination, Miki was faster and set her personal best at the very end - but couldn’t eventually find a way past Cecotto, as the two crossed the finish line three tenths of a second apart. Miki Koyama therefore collected a valuable third place, banking good points for the championship in a really strong first race of the weekend.

The Japanese driver was then in charge of the start in the second race on Sunday, which she started from the third row in fifth place. Koyama had a good start but she was boxed in at turn 1 and had to slot back into fifth, while Giltrap and Cecotto fought for the top spot, until a dive for third from Lee resulted in Cecotto being pushed wide, with both Carde and Lee going past.

Right in the mix, Koyama waited for her chance to make up positions but kept it clean and followed Lee closely. As Giltrap pulled away, Carde was under pressure from the recovering Cecotto; Koyama was also attacking Lee when the safety car was deployed to retrieve the stricken #77 car of He with 37 minutes to go.

Positions remained unchanged at the restart; Miki now had Tony d’Alberto right behind, but she kept a safe buffer and again pushed forward. She would eventually move up to third when the pit window opened. The Iron Lynx driver stayed out and tried to gain crucial seconds in clear air: she in fact immediately set the fastest lap of the race and gained over the two leaders, who had also to navigate through traffic.

The overall lead change took place with 23 minutes to go when Giltrap pitted and handed over to Osborne. Koyama further extended her stint and eventually pitted from second overall right at the end of the pit window. Charles Leong cleared the #11 Huracan with now Huang behind the wheel on his out lap and with a great move he was up to fourth overall, third in class.

Leong made up ground on the ProAm car of Lee, but he eventually settled around 7 seconds behind. Koyama’s fastest lap of the race held on until two minutes left on the clock, when race leader Osborne topped Miki’s time. In the closing minutes, Leong managed the pace and crossed the finish line fourth overall, third in the Pro class, rounding out the weekend with another podium for the Theodore Racing duo. 

Four races in, Koyama and Leong now sit second in the championship standings, with a first win now in sight.

“We definitely have the pace for an outright win, and I look forward to continuing to make the gains we have already shown with Charles and SJM Iron Lynx Theodore Racing", Koyama said. "We are all looking forward to showing what we can do in Korea next month.”

The third double-header of the 12-races schedule is now set to take place on July 19-21 at South Korea’s Inje International Speedium.



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