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Rd5 SUGO GT 300KM RACE

Nissan Z finishes in 4th place

Copyright © NISMO 
A crowd of 29,000 spectators gathered to witness the action on race day, only to see rain starting to fall as the cars lined up for the start of the event. After the teams changed tires on the dummy grid, the formation lap started off behind the Safety Car. It led the pack for a total of 6 laps before letting the race cars take over. The field then shot away for the remaining 75 laps.

The #3 Z saw Sebastien Philippe starting the race from 6th place. After avoiding the confusion at the beginning, he took the fight to Satoshi Motoyama in the XANAVI NISMO Z (#23) until overtaking him on lap 15. He then maintained a steady pace before returning to the pits on lap 40. At this point his driver partner Masataka Yanagida took the wheel and headed out in pursuit of the cars ahead. After the majority had made their mandatory pit stops by lap 47, the #3 machine was running 5th. As the #1 SC430 was given a drive-through penalty, the yellow NISSAN moved up to 4th.
Copyright © NISMO 
Yanagida then managed to avoid the challenge of the now chasing #1 SC430. As the checkered flag fell, Yanagida had his car a mere 0.5 seconds behind the third-placed #32 NSX. He would thus take a well-deserved 4th place in the wet-dry event.

The XANAVI NISMO Z (#23) meanwhile started from 10th place, with the team assuming the rain at the start would continue. They therefore had veteran driver Satoshi Motoyama start out with heavier grooved tires than the other NISSAN runners. Unfortunately, the team guessed wrongly and as the track started to dry, the car's tires steadily lost grip. On lap 31, it made an early pit stop, changing to slicks and switching over to Richard Lyons in the expectation of improving its position. However, an unfortunate mishap occurred on lap 48 when the car suddenly came to a halt on track. Unable to restart, it was forced to retire.
Copyright © NISMO 
Lyons said that the car's engine "stopped suddenly without any warning." He added: "When I stopped the car on the grass along the side of the track, I saw something like white smoke rising. The car wouldn't start after that."

The MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) started from 9th with Michael Krumm behind the wheel. With no mistakes made, he returned to the pits on lap 38 as planned, handing the car over to his driver partner Tsugio Matsuda in 8th place. The car was fitted with slicks and headed out in pursuit of its rivals. However, with the tires staying cold on the wet track surface, it lost control at the exit of the pit lane. The car spun, hitting the sponge barriers. With the impact, the electronic system went out instantly and the car lost its means to restart.

The Calsonic Impul Z (#12) with Kazuki Hoshino and Jeremie Dufour started from 14th and finished 7th. The winner of the previous round, the WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z (#24) with drivers Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara started from 15th, finishing the race in 10th place.



Yoshitaka Iijima, director of NISMO commented
"We must apologize to our fans for letting them down. It was a very disappointing result. We didn't have a good position at the start; therefore we sent the #23 Z out with heavy rain tires. Unfortunately, this didn't work. After an early pit stop, Richard kept a good pace but we had to stop after the engine failed. In the #22 Z, Michael Krumm pulled the car up to a better position after starting 9th. Unfortunately however, Matsuda ran off track and couldn't restart the car. Looking forward, we are testing at Motegi this week, and the next round, the Suzuka 1000km race is coming soon. We look forward to doing well at Suzuka. We always need our fans' support, and we are always grateful."
Copyright © NISMO 
Masataka Yanagida
"Sebastien handed me the car in a good position and the team changed the tires at the right moment. That made it very easy for me to race today. However, I also feel we were really close to getting on the podium and that's a great disappointment. Our car is getting stronger, and the set-up is improving greatly. We must stay focused until Suzuka next month. As always, I am very grateful to all our fans who cheer for us."
Copyright © NISMO 


RACE RESULT

Rd. 5 SUGO GT 300km [ 13:58 - 81Laps rain / wet ]
Sunday,29 July, 2007 - SPORTSLAND SUGO

Pos No Car name Driver (1st / 2nd) Time / Diff
1 8 ARTA NSX Daisuke Ito
Ralph Firman
2:01'17"063
2 18 TAKATA DOME NSX Ryo Michigami
Takashi Kogure
-0"282
3 32 EPSON NSX Loic Duval
Fabio Carbone
-23"302
4 3 YellowHat YMS MobaHO! TOMICA Z Sebastien Philippe
Masataka Yanagida
-23"816
5 1 Houzan TOM'S SC430 Juichi Wakisaka
Andre Lotterer
-40"398
6 39 DENSO SARD SC430 Andre Couto
Katsuyuki Hiranaka
-1'20"106
7 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Kazuki Hoshino
Jeremie Dufour
-1Lap
8 25 ECLIPSE ADVAN SC430 Takeshi Tsuchiya
Manabu Orido
-1Lap
9 35 BANDAI 00 DUNLOP SC430 Naoki Hattori
Ronnie Quintarelli
-1Lap
10 24 WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z Joao Paulo De Oliveira
Seiji Ara
-3Laps
R 23 XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama
Richard Lyons
-34Laps
R 22 MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm
Tsugio Matsuda
-43Laps