November 18, 2012


JAF Grand Prix Fuji Sprint Cup 2012 - Race Report

November 16th-18th, Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka)

Held over three days from November 16-18, Fuji Speedway played host to the JAF GP Sprint Cup, featuring a pair of special SUPER GT events. The first GT500 race was held in torrential rain on the 17th, with Michael Krumm taking a fourth-place finish. In the second race, held in fine weather on the 18th, teammate Satoshi Motoyama scored an identical result in the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, the pair of strong finishes demonstrating Nissan's prowess and a fourth place ranking overall.

In the rain-drenched 1st race, Joao Paolo de Oliveira in the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R rocketed into the lead from his 7th-place starting position, leaving everyone else in his wake as he reached the first corner in the top spot. However, a half-spin on lap 2 lost him some of the gap he had already built up. Later, de Oliveira's lightning-quick getaway was deemed to have been an jump start, and he was served a drive-through penalty. Meanwhile, having qualified ninth, the #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) ran in third place in the race's early stages. With the #12 car dropping back, the #1 machine advanced to the top spot after the leading #17 HSV-010 spun on lap 8. From that point the rain intensified, necessitating the Safety Car (SC) to be called out. The situation steadily worsened, and at the end of the eleventh lap red flags were shown, indicating the end of the race. Quintarelli, who had been running in the lead at the time, was awarded victory. In addition, the #23 GT-R of Krumm took fourth place, while de Oliveira in the #12 GT-R was classified sixth.

The second of the two GT500-class races took place on the 18th, where competitors were blessed with dry conditions. In contrast to its regular rolling starts, this event featured a standing start. The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda had qualified third and made a superb start off the line, advancing to 2nd place before the first corner. Although the #1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R of Masataka Yanagida had also opted for a quick start, he came into contact with other cars as he attempted to advance, damaging the car's right front fender. Despite securing and then maintaining fifth place, the damage was deemed dangerous and an Orange Ball flag was shown, forcing Yanagida into an unscheduled pit visit on lap 6. Although he returned to the track after repairs were completed, the time loss was severe and he finished the race in 14th place. Moreover, Tsugio Matsuda in the #12 machine was penalised in exactly the same way as his teammate de Oliveira had been the previous day, cited for a jump start, the drive-through penalty for which he served on lap 5. Matsuda went on to finish the race in eleventh place. Having qualified ninth, Bjorn Wirdheim in the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R successfully fought for position with higher-ranked cars, advancing temporarily as high as fourth. Although he sustained his attack right till the end, he finished the race in fifth place.

With Satoshi Motoyama at the wheel, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R started 5th. Despite not getting involved in any of the confusion at the start, he completed the early laps in ninth position. Motoyama steadily recovered later on, and after overtaking the #24 GT-R on lap 18 when he passed Wirdheim, had moved into fourth place, the position in which he finished the race.

In the GT300 class, the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R had Katsumasa Chiyo at the wheel for the 1st race, the rising star bringing the car home in fourth. In the 2nd sprint, Yuhi Sekiguchi made a sharp dash from the starting line, though contact with another car forced him into a spin at the first corner. He finished in 19th place.

Comment by Nissan Teams General Director Kunihiko Kakimoto
“As for the result of these races, since we were fourth overall, this is not so bad. Since the GT-R has taken the championship title two years in a row, when we look back upon the season, we naturally see it favourably. Looking at the points' spread by car, the GT-R comes out on top. However, among the four GT-R entries, this season's results were less than optimal. We plan to conduct an intensive development programme over the winter so that we can rid ourselves of any weaknesses and allow every GT-R to play an active part in our efforts next season. Please continue to lend us your support throughout the coming season as well.”

Comment by #23 GT-R driver Satoshi Motoyama
“As I didn't have any mechanical margin with the clutch at the start, I was unable to get a flying start, and that is regrettable. However, from that moment I focused on my goal and steadily improved, and I feel that overall it was a good run. The fourth-place result was something of a disappointment - but appropriately symbolises this season. This however, was not the position I was aiming to end up in. We'll be giving our full dedication to running at the front again next season. Thank you for your unfailing support throughout this year.”

Click those images to see a larger version.


[ GT500 Race 1 ] 10 Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R Ronnie Quintarelli 21'01.979
2 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 Koudai Tsukakoshi +0.764
3 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 Kazuya Oshima +2.726
4 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Michael Krumm +4.821
5 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 Naoki Yamamoto +6.046
6 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R Joao Paulo de Oliveira +7.672
7 18 weider HSV-010 Carlo Van Dam +9.649
8 8 ARTA HSV-010 Takashi Kobayashi +11.013
9 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R Hironobu Yasuda +12.391
10 32 EPSON HSV-010 Yuhki Nakayama +15.380

[ GT500 Race 2 ] 22 Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa 34'51.361
2 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 Kazuki Nakajima +2.632
3 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 Takuya Izawa +3.319
4 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Satoshi Motoyama +12.563
5 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R Bjorn Wirdheim +17.439
6 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 Daisuke Ito +20.093
7 18 weider HSV-010 Takashi Kogure +22.192
8 39 DENSO KOBELCO SC430 Juichi Wakisaka +26.676
9 8 ARTA HSV-010 Ralph Firman +29.299
10 35 KeePer Kraft SC430 Andrea Caldarelli +30.723
11 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R Tsugio Matsuda +33.505
14 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R Masataka Yanagida +55.484

[ GT300 Race 1 ] 22 Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 33 HANKOOK PORSCHE Tomonobu Fujii 42'04.613
2 16 MUGEN CR-Z GT Daisuke Nakajima +9.022
3 43 ARTA Garaiya Kosuke Matsuura +12.701
4 3 S Road NDDP GT-R Katsumasa Chiyo +13.048

[ GT300 Race 2 ] 22 Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 66 Triple a vantage GT3 Hiroki Yoshimoto 37'17.346
2 2 EVANGELION RT TEST TYPE-01 Apple Shiden Hiroki Katoh +1.273
3 88 MonePa LAMBORGHINI GT3 Manabu Orido +17.060
19 3 S Road NDDP GT-R Yuhi Sekiguchi +2Laps


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