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Nissan Z takes 3rd place finish

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Suzuka Circuit (5.807km/lap) was the scene of Round 6 of SUPER GT, the "International Pokka 1000km" race. Starting 13th, the XANAVI NISMO Z (#23) of Satoshi Motoyama, Richard Lyons and Hironobu Yasuda finished the 6-hour plus event after putting up with a spate of incidents to successfully snatch a 3rd-place finish and the podium.

In sunny and hot conditions with the mercury at over 30 degrees Celsius, more than 35,000 spectators gathered at Suzuka Circuit for the eponymous event. At 1:00pm, the pole-sitting YellowHat YMS Moba HO! TOMICA Z (#3), with drivers Sebastian Philippe and Masataka Yanagida, led the formation of cars as they crossed the line signaling the start of the race. Starting driver Philippe maintained his position at the front until lap 7, but with soft tires on the car, was forced to give way to one of his pursuers. On lap 20, the car returned to the pits, changing tires and switching drivers to Yanagida. Once back out on track, the machine ran between 4th and 6th position. Later in the afternoon the car dropped to 10th due to a sudden rain shower,
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eventually recovering to 6th. The team expected to keep this position to the end, but an off-track excursion in the dark while battling with the #23 car saw the bright yellow machine finish in 8th.

Meanwhile?@Motoyama was the starter from 13th place in the #23 Z. The car made light contact with the #35 SC430 on the opening lap, and as the other machine was unable to restart, the #23 Z was pushed back to the rear of the GT500 class. With their tires not matching track conditions, the car suffered as it worked hard to recover its loss. On lap 16 the machine came in to the pits, switching over to Richard Lyons. Lyons then lifted the pace, reaching 10th position by lap 27. The early pit stop worked well here, and on lap 36 - when all his rivals had finished their first pit stops, the car was running in the top position.

The other lead cars were scheduled for 4 pit visits while the Z cars needed 5 stops. Motoyama took over for the middle section of the race, keeping things steady and making sure he wasn’t left far behind. Later on, when a sudden rain shower hit the field and the other teams were too occupied to change tires, the #23 Z was lucky enough to pit. The team handled the situation brilliantly, and the car reached 3rd place on lap 138 when the rain was in full force. Lyons took care of the driving in the last stint, maintaining the position to the flag.

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Benoit Treluyer returned from injury to the Calsonic Impul Z (#12) squad. Alongside him were Kazuki Hoshino and Jeremie Dufour. The car started in 10th with Treluyer at the wheel. Showing no signs of difficulty from the injury, he pulled the car up to 4th place by lap 17. The car returned to the pits on the following lap, switching over to Dufour. During refueling a fire erupted, and it was some time before the car was ready to leave the pits. The car did manage to return to the on-track action, but on lap 63 Hoshino ran off track, crashing out of 14th place. With the rear of the car severely damaged, it returned to the pits and was retired.

The MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) of Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda started the race in 14th. Their strategy was to gradually improve their position; but right after the first driver change, the car hit the #23 Z and went off track. Caught deep in a gravel bed, the machine lost a lot of positions, sinking well down the order for a time. However, the rain helped them get back near the front again, the car netting 6th place at the finish.

The WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z (#24) of Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara started 15th, finishing 10th after marking a best position of 7th during the race.

Quote from Yoshitaka Iijima, Director, NISMO
"In terms of the championship, this was a race we simply couldn’t afford to miss out on. Therefore, I am very satisfied to have our cars finish in 3rd and 6th positions after starting 13th and 14th. I am very grateful to our fans that gathered here today and cheered for us in the blazing heat and then under thunderous rain. Our closest rival the #8 NSX also finished in a good position and took home points. The next race in Motegi will surely be difficult, but we are not giving up. Our goal is to win the Championship and that’s what we’re aiming for."
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Quote from #23 Z Driver, Satoshi Motoyama
"It was a tough race with so many things happening, but I knew we had a chance and we waited for it. Perhaps that worked well. We had the best set-up this morning and the engine was great. The team worked well with the early pit stop and that thunderous rain. I was very comfortable watching Richard driving because I knew he was fast in the race."
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Rd. 6 36th International Pokka 1000km [ 13:05 - 173Laps fine - rain / dry - wet ]
Sunday,19 August, 2007 - Suzuka Circuit

Pos No Car name Driver Time / Diff
1 1 Houzan TOM'S SC430 Juichi Wakisaka
Andre Lotterer
Oliver Jarvis
2 8 ARTA NSX Daisuke Ito
Ralph Firman
Yuji Ide
3 23 XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama
Richard Lyons
Hironobu Yasuda
4 100 RAYBRIG NSX Dominik Schwager
Shinya Hosokawa
5 17 REAL NSX KatsutomoKaneishi
Toshihiro Kaneish
Takuya Izawa
6 22 MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm
Tsugio Matsuda
7 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa
Toranosuke Takagi
8 3 YellowHat YMS MobaHO! TOMICA Z Sebastien Philippe
Masataka Yanagida
9 6 Forum Eng. SC430 Tatsuya Kataoka
Biorm Wirdheim
10 24 WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z Joao Paulo De Oliveira
Seiji Ara
R 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Benoit Treluyer
Kazuki Hoshino
Jeremie Dufour