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|03-24-2010, 09:15 PM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2007
HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R stages come-from-behind victory!
NISSAN GT-R victorious in SUPER GT opening round
-- SUPER GT Round 1 Race Report --
March 21st, Suzuka Circuit (Mie prefecture)
The opening round of SUPER GT, the "SUZUKA GT 300km RACE" took place at Suzuka Circuit on Sunday, March 21st. Qualifying 10th, the HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R (#24 Joao Paolo de Oliveira / Hironobu Yasuda) rose to the top in the middle of the race, and extended that lead in the latter half without any risk. Following victory last year at Okayama International Circuit, this marks the second consecutive year with opening round wins for the team.
After a long off-season wait, some 31,000 race fans were on hand for the opening round of the SUPER GT season. With occasional rain falling from the dark clouds overhead, accidents such as spins and contact occurred right from the beginning when the rain was heaviest. After crashing in the previous day's official qualifying session, driver Oliveira avoided all the carnage in the HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R to rise to 4th place by lap 2 in a car had taken all night to repair. Shortly after, a major accident at the first corner on lap 10 brought out the Safety Car for five laps. With the race restarted, more rain falling ensured the difficult conditions continued.
However, the #6 SC430, the #1 SC430 and the #24 GT-R engaged in a fierce battle in the unforgiving conditions, with the #24 GT-R rising to third. When the bulk of cars made their pit stops to switch drivers, the #24 GT-R rose to the premier position, extending that lead until lap 34 when Yasuda took the wheel. In addition, following the orders of team director Masahiko Kondo to not change tyres, the car returned to the track still in first place. From there, Yasuda set stable lap times for the remaining 18 tours, never allowing anyone to get close until he crossed the finish line in the top spot after 52 laps.
The MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#23 Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer) was the strongest of the GT-Rs, starting the race from third on the grid. On the opening lap, while Treluyer was running fourth, the wet track surface saw him spin off at the first corner. Although he immediately got back on track, his position dropped gradually. Running in eighth after the Safety Car period, he made an earlier than scheduled pit stop on lap 19, handing the car over to teammate Motoyama. From that point Motoyama ran in tenth, rising to ninth in the later stages, rising to eighth by the flag. Valuable championship points were accrued.
Qualifying 6th, the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (#12 Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) spun immediately after the start at Turn 1 in the rainy conditions, falling to ninth. Then after completing lap 10, the car suddenly slowed. Starting driver Quintarelli had to pull the car to the side of the track. Despite trying to restart the car, his efforts were in vain and he retired.
- #24 GT-R driver Joao Paolo de Oliveira's comment:
"After crashing and breaking the car yesterday, I was really eager to somehow make a recovery. In addition, because we chose to run on hard compound tyres, it was difficult to generate heat in the early stages, which really restricted us. Being able to come away from here with such a good result is thus all the more pleasing. I'd like to extend a special thanks to the mechanics for working all night long to fix the car."
- #24 GT-R driver Hironobu Yasuda's comment:
"Because the tyres worked so well in this morning's free practice session, team director Kondo ascertained that we would be able to run without changing tyres in the race. It worked perfectly. In the first half, it was difficult to move up in position, but I have to tip my hat to J.P. (de Oliveira) for maintaining the tyres throughout his stint. As for my laps in the car, of course the tyres, the chassis and engine all worked well. To win the opening round makes me incredibly happy."
[Race Results] 52Laps Pos No Machine Driver Time / Gap
1 24 HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R Joao Paulo De Oliveira / Hironobu Yasuda 1:53'23.333
2 6 ENEOS SC430 Daisuke Ito / Bjorn Wirdheim +9.322
3 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 Takuya Izawa / Naoki Yamamoto +15.397
4 1 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 Juichi Wakisaka / Andre Lotterer +17.954
5 39 DUNLOP SARD SC430 Andre Couto / Kohei Hirate +19.326
6 35 MJ KRAFT SC430 Hiroaki Ishiura / Kazuya Oshima +20.363
7 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 Toshihiro Kaneishi / Koudai Tsukakoshi +46.508
8 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R Satoshi Motoyama / Benoit Treluyer +1'32"333
9 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa / Richard Lyons +1 Lap
10 32 EPSON HSV-010 Ryo Michigami / Yuhki Nakayanma +1 Lap
Last edited by midship; 03-24-2010 at 09:21 PM..
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