Nissan Z takes 2nd place finish from Pole Position
The final round of the SUPER GT season was held at Fuji Speedway (4.563km/lap) in Oyama town, Shizuoka prefecture on November 4, with the Calsonic Impul Z (#12) of drivers Benoit Treluyer and Kazuki Hoshino taking 2nd place and a podium finish after their start from pole position. The NISMO team MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) driven by Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda finished 9th, bringing the team a runner-up finish in the Teams' title.
|Copyright © NISMO
Race day was warm with a high of 20 degrees Celsius as the 48,800 spectators gathered at Fuji Speedway. The formation lap started at 2:00pm, followed by the 66-lap (300km) main event.
The #12 Z, piloted by Benoit Treluyer, started from pole and instantly built a 0.9-second gap over its pursuers at the beginning of the race. Treluyer maintained a steady but strong pace until he had made up a 2.9-second gap. However, the #32 NSX made inroads from behind as the Calsonic car gradually started to suffer handling difficulties caused by tyre wear. The car then gave way to the #32 NSX on the straight on lap 19, and lost another position on lap 26. Treluyer returned to the pits for the mandatory driver change on lap 28 where he handed the car over to teammate Kazuki Hoshino. Hoshino began a fierce pursuit of the #17 NSX,
and after only one lap overtook the rival machine at the 1st corner. Hoshino held onto his 2nd place position to the finish, avoiding all persistent challenges from the #17 car for the full 40 laps of his stint.
The two NISMO cars were on a strategy to save their tyres in the beginning of the race and kept a low profile at the start. After the first 10 laps or so had elapsed, the cars gradually began to build up the pace as the field was then less bunched together. However, the XANAVI NISMO Z (#23), with Satoshi Motoyama at the wheel, hit the #3 Z on lap 15 and ran off track. With flat-spotted tyres, he had to make an immediate pit stop for fresh rubber. By the time the car returned to the on-track action, he was at the tail end of the field, running 16th. The car ran strongly throughout the rest of the race, Richard Lyons taking over for the second stint, finishing in 14th place.
The MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22), with drivers Michael Krumm and Tsugio Matsuda, still had a chance of winning the Teams' title - if the car won the final round here at Fuji. Michael Krumm started the race 15th, and ran in that position and 14th until he too decided to build some speed. At one point, the car reached a provisional position of 4th place before he passed over to Tsugio Matsuda. Matsuda came back on track in 9th, rising to 8th on lap 48, the position in which he would eventually finish. However, on the final lap, the car was penalized for hitting the #8 NSX from behind and given a 35-second time penalty. Officially, the car was recorded as a 9th-place finisher.
The YellowHat YMS Moba HO! TOMICA Z (#3), with Sebastian Philippe and Masataka Yanagida, was one of the fastest cars in the Sunday morning practice session, but made contact with the #23 Z at the start of the race - and then with the #39 SC430 later on. After two drive-through penalties, the car finished in 15th place. The WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z (#24), driven by Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara, was the highest-starting Z car in 6th, Oliveira climbing up to 2nd place at one point. The car finished in 5th.
Mr. Yoshitaka Iijima, manager of the NISMO team was quoted after the race;
"It was a very difficult season for us. We must apologize to our fans that have supported us throughout the season. But our drivers worked really hard to the end, and the team never let them down. Also, the loud cheers of 'Nissan' by our fans really encouraged us all throughout the season. We are very grateful from the bottom of our hearts. Next year, we will introduce the new GT=R to the series. We will spend our winter working hard to build this car and make it competitive against our rivals next season. We ask for your further support to our cars next year."
Driver Satoshi Motoyama added,
"To be honest, we only had three good races out of nine this season,We couldn't even finish the season happily, as the last race was not any better. I am so disappointed with this result, and I must find out over the winter all the reasons for our lacklustre performance so that it can be solved by spring. I am hoping next year will be much better. I thank all the fans for supporting us throughout the season."
|Copyright © NISMO
Rd. 9 FUJI GT 300km RACE [ 14:05 - 66Laps fine / dry ]
Sunday,4 November, 2007 - Fuji Speedway
||Time / Diff
||CALSONIC IMPUL Z
||ZENT CERUMO SC430
||WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z
||Joao Paulo De Oliveira
||Houzan TOM'S SC430
||MOTUL AUTECH Z
||XANAVI NISMO Z
||YellowHat YMS MobaHO! TOMICA Z