September 9, 2013
Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka-pref. (September 8, 2013) - Round 6 of SUPER GT was held at Fuji Speedway on Sunday, September 8. Having qualified 14th, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) finished 6th. The result leaves them tied for the top spot in the series points' rankings.
#12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R
#1 REITO MOLA GT-R
Despite drizzle early in the morning, well over 30,000 motorsport fans visited Fuji Speedway on race day. By the time of the pit walk before lunch and the grid walk just prior to the race, the clouds parted and blue sky shone through in places. The race would get underway in dry conditions.
At precisely 14:00 the cars started their formation lap, ahead of the customary rolling start to the 300km event. In the Nissan camp, the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Yuhi Sekiguchi) led from seventh on the grid, followed by the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Michael Krumm) and the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli). Having won in Round 3 at Sepang, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) was weighed down with 82kgs of success ballast, and duly started from 14th on the grid.
Early on in the race, the Safety Car was called out after a car burst a tire and debris had to be cleared from the track. This occurrence had a major influence - both favorable and less so - on many of the teams. When the Safety Car left the track on lap 24, the majority of teams opted to make their pit stops and driver switches. At this point, Matsuda was running in 13th in the #12 GT-R and came in to hand over to teammate Oliveira, who quickly brought the car back out on track. As other cars also pitted, Oliveira was able to take advantage and by lap 27, found himself in 10th place. After the Safety Car period and the pitstop, rain fell on the Speedway, but the car stayed the course and by lap 43, had risen to sixth place, the position it would maintain to the flag.
The result means the car is joint leader in the Driver's standings, sharing the spot with the #18 HSV-010 GT that won the last time out, and faces the remaining two rounds of the season in a fiercely close battle for the title.
For this race, the grandstand was filled with a wall of Nissan fans in the cheer seats, urging on the efforts of the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R and the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R. In the #1 machine, Motoyama took the start, aiming diligently at a higher position from his starting point of seventh. At the first corner on lap 10, he got past two cars at once. Then, upon the car's return to the track after its stop during the Safety Car period, teammate Sekiguchi recorded the fastest lap, sending the fans in the stands into a frenzied state. However, his efforts proved to be in vain as there was deemed to have been a rules violation, and he received a drive-through penalty. Despite the heavy loss of position, Sekiguchi maintained his pace with a fierce recovery, passing one car after another in the race's later stages. Crossing the line after 66 laps, he had risen to seventh. Meanwhile, the #24 GT-R maintained a strategy that saw Yasuda run as many laps as possible, and because of this, the car ran at the top of the timesheets throughout the middle of the race. Then, though the advantage may have seemed to be with the #24 GT-R when rain fell heavily, the track surface soon dried again. On lap 42 Yasuda made his stop, handing over to Krumm who brought the car home in 10th place.
The #23 NISMO GT-R looked set for a dismal race, saddled as it was with the most ‘weight-handi’ (success ballast) in the GT500 class with 84kgs onboard. From ninth on the grid, Quintarelli took the start and was running 12th when he handed over to Yanagida on lap 23. The car ran as high as eighth during the middle of the race, eventually finishing ninth.
In the GT300 class, there were five Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 machines entered, top among them the #3 S Road NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/Daiki Sasaki). Sasaki started the race from second on the grid, using the front row position to take over the top spot with deft braking at the first corner. He maintained this position until the pit stop where the car fell back, but in the second half of the race his teammate Hoshino kept up the momentum, overtaking cars ahead and finishing in fifth place.
TEAM IMPUL Team Director Kazuyoshi Hoshino's comment:
“Even in a situation where the car was not at its best, the team did a great job to support the drivers. This was the case in Sepang and at Suzuka as well. Regardless of the situation, the team worked as a unit to pick up as many points as was possible. My stomach was killing me during the race, but that's racing! I plan to put in a huge effort for the next two rounds.”
#12 GT-R driver Tsugio Matsuda's comment:
“I was at a bit of a disadvantage since the car was heavy, but JP (Oliveira) drove superbly in his stint. The team made the right decision with the pit stop, timing it to perfection. Although we're sharing the lead in the points' battle, we still need to improve the set-up on the car. For the remaining two rounds, I'll be putting in my best possible effort.”
#12 GT-R driver João Paulo de Oliveira's comment:
“Because of the Safety Car coming out, we made an early pit stop, so I had about 40 laps to run and thought that taking care of the tires would be crucial. However, I received word from Tsugio that the conditions today were optimal and that tire wear wasn't going to be an issue so I decided to push myself to the limit. Considering where we started after qualifying, finishing sixth is a great result.”
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||38||ZENT CERUMO SC430||Yuji Tachikawa
|2||17||KEIHIN HSV-010||Koudai Tsukakoshi
|3||37||KeePer TOM'S SC430||Daisuke Ito
|4||6||ENEOS SUSTINA SC430||Kazuya Oshima
|5||18||Weider Modulo HSV-010||Naoki Yamamoto
|6||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda
|7||1||REITO MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama
|8||8||ARTA HSV-010||Ralph Firman
|9||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Masataka Yanagida
|10||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||4||GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW||Nobuteru Taniguchi
|2||31||Panasonic apr PRIUS GT||Morio Nitta
|3||86||CRYSTAL CROCO LAMBORGHINI GT3||Kouji Yamanishi
|5||3||S Road NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino
|11||5||MACH GoGoGo SYAKEN GT-R||Tetsuji Tamanaka
|12||30||IWASAKI OGT Racing GT-R||Yuki Iwasaki
|23||360||RUN UP GROUP GT-R||Takuya Shirasaka
|48||DIJON Racing IS GT-R||Hiroshi Takamori