Nissan Z shows outstanding performance
with 3rd place podium in Round 2 of SUPER GT
Round 2 of SUPER GT was held on Sunday, April 8th at Okayama International Circuit (3.703 km / lap). The NISMO MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22), with drivers Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda, started 6th and finished the race on the podium in 3rd place. This marked the second consecutive podium finish for the Fairlady Z, after taking 2nd at Suzuka three weeks ago. The weather was fair on race day with a high temperature of 18C. A total of 35,000 spectators witnessed the excitement at the track.
|Copyright © NISMO
The race started with a total of 42 GT cars headed for the goal set after 82 laps (300km) ahead. Piloting the #22 Z, Michael Krumm started the race from 6th place on the grid, and although he was pushed at the first corner of the opening lap, he managed to stay in 5th position. On the next lap, he passed the #32 NSX and climbed to 4th. Then, as the car in front received a penalty, he was now in 2nd place.
The leader was the #8 NSX, and the car swiftly continued to set the pace. In pursuit, the #22 Z continued to push hard. However, running on softer compound tires, the car could not maintain the intensity of the chase. Krumm returned to the pits on lap 33, changing over to Tsugio Matsuda. The NSXs only had to change their rear tires, saving them a lot of time in the pits. When all cars had completed their routine stops, Matsuda found himself in 4th place. He continued his fierce pursuit, eventually catching the #32 NSX on lap 50, and the #100 NSX on lap 57. With more than a 10-second gap between the #8 NSX at this point, Matsuda already had the #8 NSX in his sights. His pursuit was abruptly interrupted however when he found himself behind backmarker GT500 cars. Although the gap between the leader was about 8 seconds, overtaking the backmarkers cost him valuable time. In one corner, he tried to pass on the inside of the car in front, though found the door slammed shut, forcing Matsuda to brake and run off track briefly. Taking the opportunity to improve his position, another competitor slipped by and the #22 Z took the checkered flag in 3rd place.
Satoshi Motoyama started the race for the #23 Z from 10th, and it was not difficult for him to rise through the ranks, the multiple champion running 6th at the end of the first lap. He then continued to keep a good pace in 5th, but a sudden engine failure forced him to slow down on lap 20 and eventually stop. The car was forced to retire. The Calsonic Impul Z (#12) with the Benoit Treluyer and Kazuki Hoshino was a 2006 model, and Hoshino was in the car at the beginning of the race. He fought hard amidst a vicious battle with rivals in front and behind, improving his position from 12th to 9th. Driver partner Treluyer took over after Hoshino, further improving the pair’s position to finish 8th. The YellowHat YMS Moba HO! TOMICA Z (#3) with Sebastian Philippe and Masataka Yanagida finished 13th and the WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z (#24) with Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara was 15th.
Michael Krumm, driver of the #22 Z, said after the race:
"When I was hit at the first corner (of the first lap) I thought it was over. But I'm glad to have kept the position. This was lucky.
But we used up the tires too quickly, and I had to switch to Tsugio (Matsuda) too soon. He then had to drive a long stint, but I am so impressed with his aggressive pursuit. He almost got to the top. It got me very excited. It is rewarding to be in 3rd place."
Tsugio Matsuda added:
"The car was really good and I thought we could do it. When I was running 2nd, for sure I was trying to get to the top. But a backmarker gave me a hard time. Not only did he cause me to waste time, he tried to block me. I almost hit him, but I just couldn't risk taking penalties, so I had to go off track. It was bad, but I had no other choice. At least we finished by winning some points. I am looking forward to Fuji."
Yoshitaka Iijima, director of NISMO had this closing comment:
"I am so relieved to see the #22 finish in 3rd. The drivers had told me the car was good, and I had actually expected to do very well. I am glad to see the car turn out the way we expected. Matsuda gave a particularly great performance. I am sure our fans were excited to see his fierce pursuit. It was his good choice to avoid making contact as well. Motoyama in the #23 made an outstanding start as we have finally found the right set up for the car. It was thus very unfortunate he had to retire due to a problem with the car. We will make sure to solve all our problems with all the drivers and teams, and are ready by Fuji, the next round. Last but not least, we’d like to thank our fans for their great support. Both the team and the drivers were greatly encouraged."
Rd. 2 OKAYAMA GT 300km RACE [ 14:03~82Laps Cloudy / dry ]
Sunday,8 April, 2007 - Okayama International Circuit
||Driver (1st / 2nd)
||Time / Diff
||MOTUL AUTECH Z
||Houzan TOM'S SC430
||ECLIPSE ADVAN SC430
||TAKATA DOME NSX
||CALSONIC IMPUL Z
||BANDAI DUNLOP SC430
||YellowHat YMS MobaHO!
||WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z
||Joao Paulo De Oliveira
||XANAVI NISMO Z