June 1, 2014


SUPER GT 2014 Round 3 Race Report

June 1 Autopolis (Hita, Oita Prefecture) - The Autopolis Round which until now has been held in October, was shifted to June due to a calendar change and the 300km final race was held on June 1st (Sun). The #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli) started in pole position and, without relinquishing the lead even once, completed a perfect lights-to-flag victory. 2nd place was taken by the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida), which had also qualified in 2nd and 3rd went to the #12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paolo de Oliveira) making this the first time since 1995 that the GT-R has succeeded in monopolizing the podium.

Both the day of the qualifier and that of the final race were blessed with fine weather and a combined total of 38,200 fans gathered to watch at Autopolis. Although during the previous day's qualifier many new model GT500 vehicles showed speeds that shaved up to 4 seconds off the course record, it was the speed of the 2 GT-R's in the front row that took the spotlight. The Quintarelli driven #23 GT-R cut a clean start right from the race's beginning and immediately began working on pulling away from the competition at a furious pace. Motoyama, charged with the first stint in the #46 GT-R, was separated from the #23 by about four seconds for a time but gradually closed the gap and by lap 27 was hot on its heals and waiting for an opportunity to pass. The #23 picked up its pace but stumbled with a vehicle in front and lightly made contact with the #46 GT-R. Fortunately, neither vehicle sustained significant damage and they continued to rack up laps with the #23 remaining in the lead until pitting on lap 37 to hand the wheel over to Matsuda. On the other hand, after the #46 GT-R went into the pits on lap 30 to change over to Yanagida the 1-2 run of the GT-R's remained unchanged until, when the race began to approach it's final stages, a serious crash occurred at the first corner. The safety car (SC) was dispatched and the race disrupted. This meant that the margin that the two GT-Rs had so valiantly built up was a write off. However, after the green flag was waved to resume the last 9 laps of the race, the Matsuda spurred #23 GT-R's monstrous pace pulled away from the competition and passed the checkered flag on lap 65 in top position. Following this, Yanagida, in the #46, finished in 2nd place with a five second difference.

Although the #12 GT-R driven by Oliveira temporarily dropped from 4th to 5th in the first half the race, he went on to recover, climbed back up to 3rd and stayed there until he passed the baton to Yasuda. Yasuda had been maintaining 3rd place right through the SC run but, due to technical issues, was challenged fiercely from behind by the Lexus RC F. He tenaciously held onto his position through a valiant drive. He came home 3rd and climbed the 3rd step of the podium. The #12 GT-R took 3rd place in the opening round, victory in the second round at Fuji and now, through this 3rd place finish has extended its series point lead even further. The #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki) qualified in 8th and with Krumm at the helm was running in 10th when the machine was handed over to Sasaki. However, before long smoke began to rise from the engine bay and Sasaki was forced to stop at the first corner and evacuate. The #24 finished the race with no points.

In the GT300 class the 3rd place qualifying #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez) started the race with Lucas in charge of the first stint. He was overtaken by a rival who had been waiting in the wings for a chance to slip through and ended up passing the car over to Hoshino in 4th place. Although Hoshino gallantly chased the vehicles in front he was ultimately unable to manage a comeback and passed the checkered flag in 4th. The #3 GT-R has now had 3 top placing finishes in a row since the opening round.

Comment from Executive Team Director Kunihiko Kakimoto
“I'm really relieved. Not only has NISMO finally managed to take a victory, but the NISSAN GT-R has managed a 1-2-3 finish. Still, because the SC car came out and erased our margin I was really tense right up until the last second. I think that one of the factors behind the GT-R's strength this year is the fact that we have a new four-cylinder, direct injection turbo engine. As you can see from the tenacity of Yasuda's run in the final minutes, in the medium-slow corners the car has the capacity to pull away even from competition that is biting at its heels. From now on for every race of the season I want to put at least one, if not two, GT-Rs on the podium. Thank you for all the support.”

Comment from #23 GT-R driver Matsuda Tsugio
“Having moved to NISMO this year and had frustrating experiences in the first two rounds, there have been countless meetings with the team. However, things flowed perfectly from yesterday's qualifier, the team did a fantastic job of bringing the car in line with our (Matsuda and Quintarelli's) requests and the fact that this matched the tires perfectly was everything. Looking back, I didn't expect to be able to accomplish such a complete victory and when the SC came out I nervously thought, “they're not going to make this easy are they?” So I felt really relieved after the restart. I don't normally cry when I win, but this time I choked up a little when I passed the checkered flag.”

Comment from #23 GT-R driver Ronnie Quintarelli
“To all the Nissan NISMO fans, we're sorry to have kept you waiting. We had a number of chances to win last year but finally this year in round three we have been able to show you a proper race. The state of tires and our machine was better than I had hoped and I was able to push in the first half while saving the tires. When the #46 was overtaking me, the car in front failed to move and unfortunately we made contact but luckily it didn't cause any serious damage. We've hit on a good package (vehicle set up) and I think if we make adjustments based on this at SUGO we can aim for a good result.”

Click images above to see larger versions.


[ GT 500 class ] - 65 laps
Pos No. Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli 1:58'46.067
2 46 S Road MOLA GT-R Satoshi Motoyama / Masataka Yanagida 5.788
3 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R Hironobu Yasuda / J.P.L.De Oliveira 23.285
4 37 KeePer TOM'S RC F Daisuke Ito / Andrea Caldarelli 23.649
5 36 PETRONAS TOM'S RC F James Rossiter / Ryo Hirakawa 24.036
6 100 RAYBRIG NSX CONCEPT-GT Takashi Kogure / Hideki Mutoh 44.576
7 18 Weider Modulo NSX CONCEPT-GT Naoki Yamamoto / Jean Karl Vernay 1Lap
8 19 WedsSport ADVAN RC F Juichi Wakisaka / Yuhi Sekiguchi 1Lap
9 6 ENEOS SUSTINA RC F Kazuya Oshima / Yuji Kunimoto 1Lap
10 32 Epson NSX CONCEPT-GT Daisuke Nakajima / Bertrand Baguette 1Lap
13 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R Michael Krumm / Daiki Sasaki 19Laps
[ GT 300 class ] - 60 laps
Pos No. Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 55 ARTA CR-Z GT Shinichi Takagi / Takashi Kobayashi 2:00'20.424
2 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Kota Sasaki / Takuto Iguchi 2.257
3 11 GAINER DIXCEL SLS Katsuyuki Hiranaka / Bjorn Wirdheim 1Lap
4 3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R Kazuki Hoshino / Lucas Ordóñez 1Lap
9 67 STP TAISAN GAIA POWER GT-R Naoki Yokomizo / Shogo Mitsuyama 1Lap
20 5 MACH SYAKEN with TRANSFORMERS 30th Tetsuji Tamanaka / Naoya Yamano 3Laps
21 360 OKINAWA IMP-RUN UP GT-R Atsushi Tanaka / Ryuju Fuijta 3Laps
22 48 Snap-on DIJON Racing GT-R Hiroshi Takamori / Masaki Tanaka 5Laps
23 30 IWASAKI apr GT-R Yuki Iwasaki / Masami Kageyama 18Laps

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