May 4, 2014
Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka prefecture. (May 4, 2014) - The second round of the SUPER GT series was held at Fuji Speedway, on Sunday May 4th during Golden Week (a period of consecutive public holidays in Japan) and the #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira) began the 110 lap race from pole position, displaying consistent speed throughout the day to bring the car home in first place. An impeccable pole to win finish.
#12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R
#3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R
The race was blessed with perfect, clear weather under which more than 57,000 race fans came to watch at Fuji Speedway. The speed of the GT-R was on full display at the final race grid after the #12 GT-R recorded the top time in qualifying on the previous day, followed by the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida), the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) in third and, further, the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki) in sixth.
After the race began, a GT300 vehicle violently crashed at the first corner of the fourth lap which meant, from the early stages until the 10th lap, the field was running under the safety car (SC). Furthermore, a fire later broke out on the #46 car (which had been running in 2nd place) in the 20th lap. Motoyama steered his machine onto the shoulder of the second corner where officials rushed over to extinguish the fire. However, the #46 GT-R was unfortunately forced to retire at this point. While this was happening the SC came out once again and the lead of the Oliveira driven #12 GT-R, which had been pulling away from its rivals, was lost. Still, even after the restart Oliveira never lost a beat and continued to secure his lead. He continued to lead the race until the 42nd lap at which point he pitted and changed with Yasuda. There was some time lost at this point due to a sluggish tire change. Although Yasuda returned to the race in 4th, he managed to make a comeback and return the car to the top of the pack. Oliveira took charge of the final 30 laps and, without even a hint of being threatened by the cars in the rear, eventually built up an impressive 24 second lead to take the win.
The #23 GT-R which placed third in qualifying and was expected to reach the podium, if not more, moved up to second place after the #46 GT-R withdrew. The starting driver, Quintarelli, maintained the car's position until lap 35 when he pitted and handed the reigns over to Matsuda. After returning to the track, Matsuda took the place of the #12 GT-R which temporarily dropped to fourth and for a time was running as the top of the Nissan teams. Not stopping there, he went on to overtake the #18 NSX CONCEPT GT to take back the position of front runner. Although it seemed that if things continued to unfold this way the #23 GT-R would maintain the race lead, all of a sudden it rapidly decelerated. After slowly returning to the pits and undertaking some repairs to the steering system Matsuda once again to the race. However, having endured a substantial time loss, his position had fallen back to seventh. After that he changed once more with Quintarelli who drove the car to finish in 8th. The #24 GT-R, which had been running with an impressive pace right from the practice sessions, started on the grid in 6th place with Krumm as starting driver. The machine didn't show any moments of lagging behind the competition and finished it's first stint in 5th after which the GT500 rookie, Sasaki, pushed the car into 3rd place before handing the wheel back over to Krumm for the final run. The #24 GT-R looked capable of taking the podium and but in Krumm's words, “[although they] had room to push even further, there was a little concern about strange sounds coming from the car and [they] chose to finish without overdoing it.” In the end they maintained controlled pace and took the car passed the checkered flag in 4th.
In the GT300 class the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez) started the race in pole position. However, the team decided to shift the timing of their driver change during the early stage deployment of the SC and this was to have repercussions in the second half of the race. In the end Hoshino was forced to save fuel in his final stint. As a result they ended up finishing in fifth place. Team Principal, Masahiro Hasemi stated “it is essential to not push the car too hard in the qualifier and undertake a consistent run in the final race. Our strategy didn't work out and we were forced to lessen our pace when the fuel situation became tight. It's really unfortunate we weren't able to capitalize on a pole start.” As for the other GT-Rs, both the #67 STP TAISAN GAIA POWER GT-R (Naoki Yokomizo/ Shogo Mitsuyama) and #30 IWASAKI apr GT-R (Yuki Iwasaki / Masami Kageyama) succeeded in taking home points after finishing in class 9th and 10th respectively.
Comment from #12 driver, Hironobu Yasuda
“It's my first victory for a while so I'm really happy. Even though JP's first stint was perfect, I found myself worrying about time lost in the pits and the possibility of picking up marbles (pieces of rubber from tires that accumulate on the racing surface). If that wasn't enough I also made contact with a GT300 machinec Still, JP showed a surefooted run in the last stint and I realized we might just take this one.”
Comment from #12 driver, Joao Paolo de Oliveira
“It was a stressful race because our strategy was to extend our lead early on but every time the SC came out our lead disappeared. There was also the problem of picking up marbles on the track but in the end we were able to build up our lead so I'm glad. We are currently leading the championship so I really look forward to the next stage.”
Comment from Nissan executive director, Kunihiko Kakimoto
I'm really relieved that the #12 car was able to win. Though at the same time I'm kind of frustrated because the #23 and #46 cars had some troubles. Still, we were able to clearly demonstrate just how fast the GT-R is. Particularly important is the fact that the #12 managed to win the race with a 24 second margin and the #24 seems to be steadily increasing its pace. I hope the everyone continues to support us from now on.”
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda / J.P.De Oliveira||3:07'18.438|
|2||1||ZENT CERUMO RC F||Yuji Tachikawa / Kohei Hirate||24.568|
|3||6||ENEOS SUSTINA RC F||Kazuya Oshima / Yuji Kunimoto||41.365|
|4||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki||57.798|
|5||37||KeePer TOM'S RC F||Daisuke Ito / Andrea Caldarelli||1'00.328|
|6||39||DENSO KOBELCO SARD RC F||Hiroaki Ishiura / Oliver Jarvis||1'06.836|
|7||19||WedsSport ADVAN RC F||Juichi Wakisaka / Yuhi Sekiguchi||1Lap|
|8||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli||1Lap|
|9||36||PETRONAS TOM'S RC F||James Rossiter / Ryo Hirakawa||1Lap|
|10||18||Weider Modulo NSX CONCEPT-GT||Naoki Yamamoto / Jean Karl Vernay||15Laps|
|46||S Road MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida||92Laps|
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||4||GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU Z4||Nobuteru Taniguchi / Tatsuya Kataoka||3:08'20.267|
|2||11||GAINER DIXCEL SLS||Katsuyuki Hiranaka / Bjorn Wirdheim||+1.061|
|3||0||MUGEN CR-Z GT||Yuhki Nakayama / Tomoki Nojiri||+5.530|
|5||3||B-MAX NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez||+14.701|
|9||67||STP TAISAN GAIA POWER GT-R||Naoki Yokomizo / Shogo Mitsuyama||+1Lap|
|10||30||IWASAKI apr GT-R||Yuki Iwasaki / Masami Kageyama||+1Lap|
|16||360||OKINAWA IMP-RUN UP GT-R||Atsushi Tanaka / Hiroki Yoshida
|19||5||MACH SYAKEN with
|Tetsuji Tamanaka / Junichiro Yamashita
|48||Snap-on DIJON Racing GT-R||Hiroshi Takamori / Masaki Tanaka