June 10, 2012
June 10th, Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia)
Located on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, Sepang International Circuit (1 lap: 5.542km) played host to Round 3 of the 2012 SUPER GT series, a 300km event that saw the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) score a fifth-place finish after qualifying in a strong fourth, while in the GT300 class, the #3 S-Road NDDP GT-R (Yuhi Sekiguchi/Katsumasa Chiyo) took fourth place, earning valuable championship points.
|GT500 - #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||GT300 - #3 S Road NDDP GT-R|
The race became one of patience as each team fought the heat, both the ambient and track surface temperatures (33 degrees and over 45 Celsius respectively), amidst intense heat not seen in recent years. Because of the extreme conditions, it wasn't only the drivers that were affected, but also the cars and their tyres.
In the race, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R had J.P. de Oliveira at the wheel for the start, and he quickly moved up, netting third place on lap 5. Still running in third, he made his pit stop on lap 24, handing over to teammate Tsugio Matsuda, who returned to the race in the same position. However, since Matsuda's was a long stint, maintaining the tyres' grip levels became increasingly difficult, and it proved impossible to keep a couple of the team's rivals at bay. Despite two cars getting past, Matsuda put in a gritty drive right to the very end and crossed the finish line in fifth place.
Having scored third in official qualifying, the plan for the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyam/Michael Krumm) was for Motoyama to keep up a high pace in the opening stint, eating away at the gap to the cars in front. However, the car's handling balance was not good, and it wasn't possible to increase pace. Motoyama therefore had to busy himself with the attentions of cars approaching from behind. With this in mind, the team decided to call the car in for the driver switch a little earlier than usual, but the timing with the lower-ranked machines proved less than optimal. With Krumm now in the car, the team continued to push, and despite the handling problems continuing, were rewarded with an eighth-place finish.
Starting eleventh, the #1 S Road REITO GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) had Quintarelli behind the wheel for the opening stint. The Italian driver conducted his early laps with some restraint whilst maintaining his position from rivals all around him. Teammate Yanagida took over on lap 25, and adopted a chase strategy for the race's second half. Through superior pit work and rapid in and out laps, the team was able to significantly reduce the gap to the cars in front. With an even higher pace, Yanagida had risen to 7th position by lap 33. Though he kept up his pace and threatened the rear of the #36 SC430, then in 6th position, a brake problem on lap 45 pitched the car into a spin, causing the machine to spear off track. The extent of the damage was too great for him to rejoin, and he was forced to retire on the spot.
The #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Bjorn Wirdheim) qualified in sixth place, and having cleared the opening lap, suddenly experienced a burst tyre at the first corner. Though driver Bjorn Wirdheim managed to make it back to the pit, the body panels and potentially the drive system had sustained damage, and the car was forced to retire.
Meanwhile, after having started from a qualifying position of sixth, the GT300-class #3 GT-R had Katsumasa Chiyo making his debut as starting driver. The youngster managed to hold off the pressure from his faster rivals and hand the car to teammate Sekiguchi while in 8th position. Sekiguchi, responsible for the second half, aggressively pursued the cars at the head of the field. Though managing to climb to 3rd position for a time, in the end he reached the chequered flag in 4th. In the car's 3rd race since its debut, it was the first time it finished among the top group.
NDDP Racing Director Masahiro Hasemi's comments:
“It was hot, so it was a very difficult race, but both drivers really did very well. In the first stint, Chiyo fully met his responsibilities, while Sekiguchi also showed us his speed in the latter half. Though Sekiguchi exerted himself a little too much in the heat, finally losing 3rd place to the Aston Martin, it was very close. We have finally shown some decent results. I think the potential of the GT-R GT3 is exceedingly high, and that it is becoming a machine capable of doing battle in top-level competition. We will continue chasing after even better results in the future.”
|Pos||No||Machine||Drivers||Time / Behind|
|1||18||Weider HSV-010||Takashi Kogure / Carlo Van Dam||1:47'52.531|
|2||38||ZENT CERUMO SC430||Yuji Tachikawa / Kohei Hirate||+3.016|
|3||6||ENEOS SUSTINA SC430||Daisuke Ito / Kazuya Oshima||+9.642|
|4||39||DENSO KOBELCO SC430||Juichi Wakisaka / Hiroaki Ishiura||+20.570|
|5||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda / J-P.de Oliveira||+37.488|
|6||100||RAYBRIG HSV-010||Takuya Izawa / Naoki Yamamoto||+45.998|
|7||17||KEIHIN HSV-010||Toshihiro Kaneishi / Koudai Tsukakoshi||+46.886|
|8||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama / Michael Krumm||+1'05.203|
|9||19||WedsSport ADVAN SC430||Seiji Ara / Andre Couto||+1'17.056|
|10||35||KeePer Kraft SC430||Yuji Kunimoto / Andrea Caldarelli||+56.903+30|
|14||1||S Road REITO MOLA GT-R||Masataka Yanagida / Ronnie Quintarelli||+9Laps|
|R||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda / Bjorn Wirdheim||+51Laps|
|Pos||No||Machine||Drivers||Time / Behind|
|1||33||HANKOOK PORSCHE||Masami Kageyama / Tomonobu Fujii||1:47'57.011|
|2||911||ENDLESS TAISAN 911||Kyosuke Mineo / Naoki Yokomizo||+24.267|
|3||66||triple a vantage GT3||Hiroki Yoshimoto / Kazuki Hoshino||+26.543|
|4||3||S Road NDDP GT-R||Yuhi Sekiguchi / Katsumasa Chiyo||+26.916|