The podium finish is on top of the second place result Sacha and his team-mate Yuhi Sekiguchi achieved in the opening race of the season three weeks ago for Team Au Tom’s.
The team went into free practice to work on the set-up of the Toyota, which had 30 kilograms of weight ballast added after the result in the opening round. Sacha and Sekiguchi’s fastest time was good enough for 10th place.
Sacha went into the first qualifying to try to get the car into the top eight shoot-out. He managed to get the fourth fastest time, while his team-mate made sure that they would start from the third row of the grid in sixth.
It was Sacha’s first time driving in Q1 in the GT500 category and he knew that there was pressure to do a good job.
“There was pressure on me as it was my first time in Q1 this season. We were struggling with the car set-up in free practice so I didn’t have high confidence going into qualifying, but in the end it was a positive session for us.”
Sacha also started the race behind the wheel of the Toyota GR Supra. He quickly moved up into fifth place in the opening two laps and was constantly in battles to make up even more positions. By lap 10 of 66 he was fourth and just over 10 seconds away from the lead car, with the second highest amount of weight ballast in the category.
Around lap 24 Sacha was able to overtake his GT300 team-mate from last year on the outside coming out of the first turn and stayed in that position before passing the car over to Sekiguchi.
Sacha was happy with how his stint went, especially as he is still learning the GT500 category of Super GT.
“I had some nice overtakes and improvements, but I was mainly happy with how I managed the traffic. Everything is still a bit new to me, mainly the traffic, which I think I managed well today.”
By the end of the race his team-mate managed to get into second place, matching the result they achieved on the opening weekend of the season three weeks ago. They were the highest placed Toyota, but also now lead the GT500 championship by two points.
“It was a very good weekend, ending as the first Toyota is very positive. Now we need to focus on our next race, it’s going to be a little bit tougher with the extra ballast added to the car.”
Sacha will next be in the Toyota in two weeks time as Super GT returns to Suzuka International Circuit.