Team Japan took a commanding victory in a rain-affected second GT Cup race at Vallelunga this morning, while Poland secured provisional pole for this afternoon's medal showdown.
Young Japanese ace Ukyo Sasahara started from pole ahead of Jim Pla (France) after the two set identical times in yesterday's qualifying. But, with torrential rain hitting the Italian venue shortly before the start, proceedings would begin behind the safety car.
Once the race went green Pla was in combative mood and had soon overhauled Sasahara to snatch the lead. As he did so the heavens opened once more - this time in even more dramatic fashion – which caused several spins in the pack.
The race was soon stopped and a lengthy delay followed as the rain continued unabated. Once conditions were safe for racing the action resumed with 30 minutes on the clock and the driver changes completed.
Jean-Luc Beaubelique now occupied the Team France car, but it was not long before Hiroshi Hamaguchi had moved his Japanese-liveried machine into the lead. He was untroubled thereafter, pulling away from the pack to win by almost seven seconds.
Portugal finished second after an excellent drive by Miguel Ramos during the second half of the race. He passed several cars to secure runner-up spot and make up for a difficult opening contest.
The top-three was completed by the impressive Chinese Taipei crew, with Hands Lin showing superbly during the second stint. Indeed, he briefly passed Hamaguchi after the restart as the two chased down Beaubelique.
Poland was fourth and looks set to start this afternoon's medal showdown from pole after taking third spot yesterday. They will be joined on the front row by Germany, who finished ninth today after taking victory in the opening run.
Japan will start from third spot – and are arguably favourites for gold – alongside Belgium. The United Kingdom will start from fifth with Denmark alongside in sixth spot. This positions remain subject to final confirmation.
This afternoon's concluding race gets underway at 15.15 and lasts for one hour. The top-three finishers will pick up gold, silver and bronze medals in what will be the final on-track action at the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games.
> Race 2 Results