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Rd4 International Series MALAYSIA

Nissan Z wins heated race in Malaysia

Copyright © NISMO 
Round 4 of the SUPER GT series was held on Sunday, June 24th at Sepang International Circuit, located near the capital Kuala Lumpur (5.542km/lap). In a sensational result, it was the WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z (#24) of KONDO Racing, with drivers Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara that took the team's first victory, in spite of starting 14th on the grid. Benoit Treluyer and Kazuki Hoshino in the Calsonic Impul Z (#12) was the other strong contestant, starting 4th and ending up on the 3rd step of the podium. A total of 34,150 spectators witnessed the literally heated battle this weekend.

The weather was fine on race day, and at 4:00pm, the temperature stood at 34 degrees C. The cars started off in this brutal heat for the 54-lap battle that would take them to the finish line. The first victim was none other than the pole-sitting #18 NSX, unable to complete the formation lap, the car not even making it to the start line. This incident gave the #12 Z a real boost as it was now effectively in 3rd place. Starting driver Treluyer made quick work of catching the #1 SC340 ahead. Shortly thereafter, the leading #8 NSX lost pace and the pair overtook to inherit 1st and 2nd places. Then on lap 13, Treluyer made his move,
Copyright © NISMO 
going ahead at the first corner to take the lead of the race. When the #12 Z pitted on lap 17, it was two other Z cars that had made the leap to the top of the order. Now the #3 and #24 Z cars occupied the top spots and were fighting for the lead. On lap 19, Oliveira in the #24 Z went into the top spot and then lifted the pace. The gap to his pursuers was some 40 seconds when he pitted for the driver change on lap 33. Partner Seiji Ara maintained the pace and by lap 36 the #24 car was back in the lead. The #24 Z car had no problems keeping its pace right to the end, and held the gap to its pursuers as it took the checkered flag after a deadly battle. KONDO Racing first entered SUPER GT with Nissan Z in 2006. After 13 race starts, the team has taken a memorable first victory.

Masataka Yanagida took over from Sebastien Philippe in the YellowHat YMS Moba HO! TOMICA Z (#3). Returning to the track in 8th after Philippe had handed over in 3rd, he quickly had the car back in position. The #3 machine seemed to have no problems and was expected to finish as such, but the #12 Z was quickly closing in with its two pit stop strategy. The battle between them was exciting for the fans, but it ate up the stamina of the drivers. The #3 car gave up 3rd position on lap 54 as Yanagida started losing consciousness. He couldn't keep his pace and had to slow down on the final lap, finishing 7th.
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The #12 Z took 3rd and savored their first podium ceremony this season. Both the winner and the 3rd-placed cars had not suffered from any weight handicap (success ballast) for this round. It was the swiftness of the Nissan Z exercising its competitiveness that took home a successful result this weekend.

The car that suffered the heaviest burden was the XANAVI NISMO Z (#23), with drivers Satoshi Motoyama and Richard Lyons. Carrying 60kg of success ballast, the car started the race 8th. Lyons had to return to the pits early on with unexpectedly damaged tires. The car then struggled further when Motoyama took over. Running a two-stop strategy, Lyons took the car again for the final stint, but was never able to bring it up the order and they finished the race in 14th. Meanwhile, the MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) with Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda started from 10th. With Krumm driving as fast as he could, picking off rivals as he went, the car ran as high as 3rd. After Matsuda took over however, the #22 Z developed a problem with the tires not matching track conditions. A tire blew on lap 44 and Matsuda quickly returned to the pits. This caused the car to lose a number of positions and it finished in 10th place.


Quote from Masahiko Kondo, Team Director, KONDO Racing
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"After such an embarrassing result at Fuji, this victory is very rewarding. The Nissan Z has always been a strong car in the races, and Yokohama Tires has given us the best tires for these conditions. The drivers and all the team staff worked hard together and everybody's benefited from this victory. I am really grateful for the effort everyone's put in."

Copyright © NISMO 
Quote from Seiji Ara, Driver of the #24 Z
"Personally, this is my second win in GTs. I never expected such an ending when we didn't even make it to Super Lap, but I was confident that we would do well as long as we made no mistakes. JP (nickname for Oliveira) did great, and it is overwhelming because this victory came as a result of the whole team fighting as one. It was very emotional hearing Mr. Kondo scream over the radio."

Copyright © NISMO 
Quote from Yoshitaka Iijima, Team Director of NISMO
"It really was a difficult race. The two NISMO cars were not up to meeting expectations this weekend, and I am very disappointed about that. In the end, the tires we chose did not suit the conditions. But we can always learn from mistakes and do our best for the rest of the season and always be part of the championship. At least I am happy that it was the same car as ours, a Nissan Z that won the race, and another Z car that took 3rd place. We will go home and prepare for the next round at Sugo. I hope our fans are looking for vengeance as much as we are."

RACE RESULT

Rd. 4 SUPER GT International Series MALAYSIA [ 16:00 - 54 Laps fine / dry ]
Sunday,24 June, 2007 - Sepang

Pos No Car name Driver (1st / 2nd) Time / Diff
1 24 WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z Joao Paulo De Oliveira
Seiji Ara
1:49'13"210
2 100 RAYBRIG NSX Dominik Schwager
Shinya Hosokawa
-11"251
3 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Benoit Treluyer
Kazuki Hoshino
-18"433
4 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa
Toranosuke Takagi
-27"381
5 25 ECLIPSE ADVAN SC430 Takeshi Tsuchiya
Manabu Orido
-27"894
6 8 ARTA NSX Daisuke Ito
Ralph Firman
-32"725
7 3 YellowHat YMS MobaHO! TOMICA Z Sebastien Philippe
Masataka Yanagida
-33"215
8 1 Houzan TOM’S SC430 Juichi Wakisaka
Andre Lotterer
-39"967
9 6 Forum Eng. SC430 Tatsuya Kataoka
Bjorn Wirdheim
-45"613
10 22 MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm
Tsugio Matsuda
-1'20"120
15 23 XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama
Richard Lyons
-1Lap