October 6, 2013
Autopolis, Oita-pref. (October 6, 2013) - Round 7 of SUPER GT took place at Autopolis in Hita city, Oita prefecture on Sunday, October 6 where the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Yuhi Sekiguchi), having qualified in fourth place, took the same spot in the race. In the GT300 class, Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 machines locked out the front row of the grid, though both cars endured misfortune in the race and it was the #30 IWASAKI OGT Racing GT-R machine that finished top among the GT-Rs, in sixth.
GT500 - #1 REITO MOLA GT-R
GT300 - #3 S Road NDDP GT-R
Severe weather on Saturday meant that official qualifying had to be postponed until Sunday morning, making car set-up difficult due to a lack of running. Despite this setback, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) set a time just 0.03 seconds from pole to take second on the starting grid, with the #1 REITO MOLA GT-R right behind it in fourth place. Meanwhile, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R set the fifth-quickest time, and much was expected from the trio of GT-Rs occupying spots in the top five places.
The race got underway in cloudy conditions, with light drizzle falling. Even with the track surface steadily becoming wetter, all cars opted to start the race on slicks. Behind the wheel of the #23 GT-R for the opening stint was Ronnie Quintarelli. Allowing a couple of cars to get ahead in the melee at the start, their chance at recovery was taken with an early pit stop on lap 29, where the car was handed over to Yanagida. The lightning-quick pit work of the NISMO was expected to claw back some of the earlier time loss, but a mistake during a lingering wheel change was pointed out after Yanagida left the pit and a drive-through penalty was imposed. Yanagida then caught up with the #1 GT-R and was going to pass, but ‘marbles’ picked up off the racing line thwarted his attempt. He was then instructed to serve the drive-through and entered the pit. The car went on to finish the race in eighth place. NISMO Team Director Yutaka Suzuki later commented: “Operator error was a big blow to our chances today, however, the performance of the car was not bad. Also, the battle for the title is not over yet and we'll be fighting hard at Motegi”. In addition, driver Yanagida reported: “The car ran well during the second half of the race, and was catching the #36 SC430 when it was unable to get past the #1 car, and I thought there might be a chance to get by. Although the penalty was regrettable, I'd like to put in an even stronger fight in the final round.”
The #1 GT-R, with Motoyama at the controls, started the race from 4th place. On lap 3 he moved into third, after which he clung onto the rear of Quintarelli's #23 GT-R, then running in second. Even though he wasn't able to get past, he made his pit stop on lap 30, handing over to Sekiguchi who maintained the position. Immediately after climbing aboard, Sekiguchi overtook the #18 HSV-010, moving into second place. Although he then pushed to get ahead of the leaders, steadily deteriorating tire grip meant he fell to fourth by the flag. The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R qualified fifth and starting driver Tsugio Matsuda got the machine as high as 2nd before handing over to teammate Joao Paolo de Oliveira. Oliveira returned to the track, but spun on his third lap, plunging the car into a gravel bed from which he could not escape. Although he was later able to return to the pit, damage to the car's undertray and suspension meant he was unable to continue. Setting off from eleventh on the grid, the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Michael Krumm) saw Yasuda move up to eighth in the first half, before Krumm took over. During Krumm's stint, trouble and accidents that befell other machines saw the car move up to sixth by the flag.
The #3 S Road NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/Daiki Sasaki) qualified on pole in GT300, with the identical #48 DIJON Racing IS GT-R (Hiroshi Takamori/Katsumasa Chiyo) lining up in second place. All attention was on the pair of Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3s occupying the front row of the grid. Although the #3 GT-R carried out its driver switch to Sasaki from 2nd place, an electrical problem later on sidelined the car. Despite dropping down the order slightly during the race's first half, the plan was for a recovery in the latter stages. However, contact with other cars caused a penalty and the car fell out of contention. It completed the race in 17th place.
Nissan Teams General Director Mr. Kunihiko Kakimoto's comment:
“I apologize that we didn't get the results our supporters were expecting (considering our results in qualifying). We suffered driver error and mechanical mistakes. For these mistakes to have all happened at Autopolis must be a blessing. Though it may not be readily visible to the naked eye, there is pressure as the series' title is still at stake to the end, despite the painful mistakes today. Today's results mean the #23 GT-R is 11 points behind the leaders and the #12 car had a 12-point gap. We will nonetheless fight to the bitter end in the final round.”
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||36||PETRONAS TOM'S SC430||Kazuki Nakajima
|2||38||ZENT CERUMO SC430||Yuji Tachikawa
|3||17||KEIHIN HSV-010||Koudai Tsukakoshi
|4||1||REITO MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama
|5||18||Weider Modulo HSV-010||Naoki Yamamoto
|6||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda
|7||39||DENSO KOBELCO SC430||Juichi Wakisaka
|8||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Masataka Yanagida
|9||37||KeePer TOM'S SC430||Daisuke Ito
|10||32||Epson HSV-010||Ryo Michigami
|12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda
Joao Paulo De Oliveira
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||4||GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW||Nobuteru Taniguchi
|2||50||Exe Aston Martin||Masaki Kano
|3||52||OKINAWA-IMP SLS||Hironori Takeuchi
|6||30||IWASAKI OGT Racing GT-R||Yuki Iwasaki
|17||48||DIJON Racing IS GT-R||Hiroshi Takamori
|22||5||MACH GoGoGo SYAKEN GT-R||Tetsuji Tamanaka
|23||360||RUN UP GROUP GT-R||Takuya Shirasaka
|3||S Road NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino