July 28, 2013


SUPER GT 2013 Round 4 Race Report

Sportsland SUGO, Miyagi-pref. (July 28, 2013) - Six weeks after Round 3 of SUPER GT, held at Sepang, the series returned to Japan and its annual visit to Murata town in Miyagi prefecture and the 300km event at Sportsland SUGO. The #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) battled hard to finish on the third step of the podium.

Frequent warnings for heavy rain this weekend had been issued for the Tohoku region, and a major downpour was expected during the race. However, dense fog that had enveloped the circuit since the beginning of the weekend gave way to brighter climes and a dry track surface for the free parctice session on race day morning. By the time of the race start at 2pm, the ambient temperature stood at 30 degrees Celsius under fair skies. In qualifying, the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Yuhi Sekiguchi) took the GT500-class pole, and had Sekiguchi at the controls for the start. He ran lap after lap while obstructing his rivals who pursued from behind, concentrating on getting the car to Motoyama for the second half without making any mistakes. He pitted on lap 40, handing the car over to Motoyama, but the #39 Lexus SC430 that had been running in 2nd place was able to refuel more quickly, and the rival machine was able to pull out a lead of a few seconds. Motoyama felt the chance of a re-reversal, but got stymied by the #38 Lexus SC430, which exited its pit between the two cars. Motoyama immediately put in a massive effort to quickly reduce the gap. The two engaged in a fierce battle until the first corner on lap 47 when Motoyama tried to get ahead and Tachikawa in the #38 SC430 refused to yield, and the Nissan driver lost the place when he slid off track. The incident caused significant tire damage and Motoyama was forced to return to the pit.

Meanwhile, having qualified eleventh, the #23 GT-R saw Quintarelli take the wheel at the start. Battles with the #24 GT-R in the early stages accelerated tire wear, and at the High Point corner on lap 19, the #24 machine got past to take eighth place. The #23 machine made its stop and driver switch on lap 30. After Yanagida climbed aboard and returned to the track, things became confused as the top group had changes due to contact etc. and rain. The #23 GT-R ran its laps irrespective of the situation unfolding around it, and rose to sixth place. With top teams spinning off, the #23 machine was able to advance further. After 81 laps had been completed, the #23 GT-R crossed the finish line in third place. In addition, the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Michael Krumm) started ninth with Yasuda behind the wheel. The Japanese driver actively protected his position with a strong pace before handing the car over to Krumm on lap 30 ahead of a long stint for the veteran driver, who ran prudently to finish fifth. "Although we had planned on coming in for fresh tires after the rain started to fall, the rubber performed well on the wet track surface and it was nice to bring it home fifth," commented Krumm after the race.

Winners of the previous round at Sepang, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) qualified 14th, with Matsuda taking the wheel for the start. However, just five laps in, Matsuda started to feel something abnormal with the drive system and headed for the pit. However, on the way to the pit lane from the final corner, things quickly got a lot worse. Unable to get to its pit gargae, the car retired on the spot.

As for the quartet of Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 entries in the GT300 class, the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/Daiki Sasaki) qualified fifth and finished ninth. The three other cars all made it to the finish.

NISMO Team Director Yutaka Suzuki's comment:
“This is a circuit where anything can happen, and we simply didn't expect the result we've come away with. Of course we're all very happy with the outcome. This result has put us on a positive path after having some disappointment earlier in the season. Since a variety of things have been prepared at the recent Suzuka test and for the upcoming one at Fuji, we've found something good and are looking forward to improving our performance, which we hope to demonstrate at the Suzuka 1,000kms. Thank you for your support.”

#23 GT-R driver Masataka Yanagida's comment:
“I had thought that because I was able to take pole after much effort I would take the start, and it went well. I was able to maintain a quick pace whilst thinking about the life of the tires and as soon as they started oversteering under braking, I pitted, barely earlier than expected. After the #18 got past, I tried to avoid letting him build up too much of a gap, though the speedy pitwork from the team allowed us to quickly get back on top, though there were still many challenges. Despite it being hard earned, I'm very happy with this win today. I want to fight for the title properly with this car.”

#23 GT-R driver Ronnie Quintarelli's comment:
“Consiering all the team work and effort, I'm feeling a little frustrated with a best result of 3rd place. The car was great from the start, but I damaged the tires in my battle with the #24 machine. We decided to save the tires from that point and I stopped after the minimum number of laps to hand over to Ma (Yanagida) who ran at a good pace. With the amount of drama that took place, 3rd seems a paltry result. However, this result buoys everyone on the team for the second half of the season, increasing our confidence level to what it was at the start of the year.”

Click images above to see larger versions.


[ GT500 Race Results ] 81 Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 8 ARTA HSV-010 Ralph Firman
Kosuke Matsuura
2 37 KeePer TOM'S SC430 Daisuke Ito
Andrea Caldarelli
3 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Masataka Yanagida
Ronnie Quintarelli
4 39 DENSO KOBELCO SC430 Juichi Wakisaka
Hiroaki Ishiura
1 Lap
5 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R Hironobu Yasuda
Michael Krumm
1 Lap
6 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 Kazuya Oshima
Yuji Kunimoto
1 Lap
7 1 REITO MOLA GT-R Satoshi Motoyama
Yuhi Sekiguchi
2 Laps
8 32 Epson HSV-010 Ryo Michigami
Daisuke Nakajima
2 Laps
9 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC43 Seiji Ara
Andre Couto
2 Laps
10 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 Kazuki Nakajima
James Rossiter
2 Laps
12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R Tsugio Matsuda
Joao Paulo De Oliveira
77 Laps
[ GT300 Race Results ] 77Laps
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 55 ARTA CR-Z GT Shinichi Takagi
Takashi Kobayashi
2 16 MUGEN CR-Z GT Hideki Mutoh
Yuhki Nakayama
Naoki Yokomizo
9 3 S Road NDDP GT-R Kazuki Hoshino
Daiki Sasaki
1 Lap
11 48 DIJON Racing IS GT-R Hiroshi Takamori
Katsumasa Chiyo
1 Lap
20 30 IWASAKI OGT Racing GT-R Yuki Iwasaki
Igor Sushko
4 Laps
23 360 RUN UP GROUP GT-R Takuya Shirasaka
Atsushi Tanaka
6 Laps


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