Autobacs Super GT ‘Round 6 2012′ Fuji
30 Sep, 2012
The FUJI GT 300km RACE, round 6 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, took place at the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Pref on Sept. 9th. In the GT500 class race the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paulo de Oliveira) emerged victorous, while the No. 33 HANKOOK PORSCHE driven by Masami Kageyama and Tomonobu Fujii in the GT300 class
At 2:00 in the afternoon the sun shone down of the grid like on a mid-summer day with the air temperature at 29˚ C. and the track surface temperature was 45˚. Then the green light signaled the start of what would be a blazing 66-lap race.
With the start of the formation lap the lead machines leave the grid one after another, but one machine, the No. 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Bjorn Wirdheim) in grid position 11, is unable start and has to be pushed back to the pit road by the officials.
The trouble was soon solved but it would be an unfortunate pit start for the No. 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R. With the long-awaited start of the race it is the pole-sitting No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda that makes the hole shot with no trouble, followed in their grid order by the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) and the No. 35 KeePer Kraft SC430 (Andrea Caldarelli). Behind them, the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Naoki Yamamoto) gets an especially good start from 12th position on the grid that propels it up to 5th position by end of the first lap.
Out in front, the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R is already a second ahead of the field by the end of the first lap and continues to pull away little by little from the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R in 2nd position and the No. 35 KeePer Kraft SC430 in 3rd. Behind them, the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 (Andre Couto) is on a fast pace that enables it to pass the No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 (Daisuke Ito) on the first turn of lap seven, but on the last turn of that same lap the No. 35 KeePer Kraft SC430 running in 3rd position has an unfortunate collision with a GT300 machine and spins out. To avoid this accident, the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 running in 4th position is forced to run off the track and drops back in the pack, allowing the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 and No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 to move up onto 3rd and 4th positions respectively.
The No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 keeps the momentum going and closes in on the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R in 2nd position, getting past it on the Coca Cola Corner of lap 13. Losing speed as a result of this offensive, the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R is passed by the No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 as well while exiting the 100R turn to drop back to 4th position.
Though the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 and No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 Lexus machines have now moved up into 2nd and 3rd positions, they aren’t getting any closer to the leading No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R as it continues to stretch its lead, working skillfully through the back marker. By the 20th lap, No. 12 has built a lead of 6.3 seconds. But, the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 and the No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 continue to give chase relentlessly. By the 27th lap the gap between the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R and the pursuing No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 has shrunk to 3.9 seconds. Meanwhile, the No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 that also had closed to a gap of just 3.9 seconds behind the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 is suddenly struck with drive train trouble coming out of the Dunlop turn of lap 28 and begins to slow down. Although it is able to make it back to the pit for repairs, this trouble has dropped the No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 back and out of the competition for the lead.
Having recovered to 3rd position with No. 6 out of the picture, the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R returns to the pit on the next lap (29) for its routine pit stop and driver change from Quintarelli to Yanagida. On lap 30 the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SC430 make their pit stops and on lap 31 the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 makes its. The No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 running in 2nd position makes its pit stop on lap 32. The leading No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R is the last of the GT500 cars to make its pit stop, having been able to extended its first stint until the 34th lap and change drivers to Joao Paulo de Oliveira without giving up the lap lead.
At this point there are 30 laps left in the race and the top five are the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R, No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R, No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430, No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R. But, on lap 36 Satoshi Motoyama in the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R is given a 10-second stop penalty because teammate Michael Krumm supposedly passed a car in a Yellow Flag zone on the lap he came into the pit. This drops them back to 12th position.
By the 38th lap the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R has expanded its lead over the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R to 10 seconds and continues to run unchallenged. In the battle for 2nd as well, Yanagida in the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R increases his lead over the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 to a safe margin that will hold till the end. Eventually, the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R runs a perfect race to win unchallenged from pole position.
By finishing 2nd in this race the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R team (Yanagida/Quintarelli) added 15 points to their season total, which moved them ahead of the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 team (Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate) that finished 8th in this race to the lead in the drivers ranking by eight points. A fine 3rd-place finish by the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN SC430 gave Yokohama tires a second straight podium finish following that by the No. 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R at Suzuka. Filling out the top six came the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430, No. 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 and the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SC430.
On the 36th lap, with all of the cars having finished their routine pit stops, the gap between the MUGEN CR-Z GT (Daisuke Nakajima) in 2nd place and the apr HASEPRO PRIUS GT (Saga) was about ten seconds. It took Saga just eight laps to erase that gap and pass the MUGEN CR-Z GT on lap 44. Then Saga proceeded to eat away steadily at the four-second gap between him and the leading HANKOOK PORSCHE (Tomonobu Fujii), bringing him on to the leader’s tail by lap 49. By making skillful use of the Porsche’s speed on the straights, however, Fujii in the HANKOOK PORSCHE was not going to give up the lead easily. Finally, on lap 53 with eight laps remaining in the race, Saga wedged the nose of his Prius into the in side of the Porsche in the Advan Corner (hairpin). This resulted in a slight bumping of the two cars that sent Saga’s Prius into a spin. As for Fujii’s Porsche, it managed to hold the track without spinning. Saga was quick to recover from the spin, but the MUGEN CR-Z GT passed him in the meantime, dropping Saga to 3rd position.
This took the pressure off of Fujii in the lead Porsche and enabled him to run on unchallenged to the HANKOOK PORSCHE team’s second win of the season, following its victory at round three at Sepang. This win catapulted the Kageyama/Fujii pair to the top of the drivers ranking and on their way toward the championship title with two races remaining in the series.
The battle for 2nd place in the race came down to an unexpected and fierce duel between the two hybrid cars. At the wheel of the GT rookie MUGEN CR-Z GT that joined the series from round four was Nakajima, while Saga gave hot pursuit in the apr HASEPRO PRIUS GT. Saga erased what had been a 5-second gap between the two cars within the space of five laps and them managed to catch the CR-Z on the first turn. With the two cars running side by side, Saga held on and managed to get past Nakajima in the CZ-R and drive the apr HASEPRO PRIUS GT on to the first 2nd-place finish ever for a hybrid car in GT competition.
Two rounds now remain in the title race. With this win at Fuji, the Kageyama/Fujii pair now lead the ranking by 12 points over the Kazuho Chiyo/Daiki Sasaki pair (No. 3 S Road NDDP GT-R) in second. Still in contention for the title despite a disappointing no-pointer this time is the Yoshimoto/Kazuki Hoshino pair (No. 66 triple a vantage GT3). Also with a shot at the title despite a difficult race this time are the Tetsuya Tanaka/Katsuyuki Hiranaka pair and the Kyosuke Mineo/Naoki Yokomizo pair (No. 911 ENDLESS TAISAN 911). Defending champions Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka (No. 0 GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW) tried to finish strong in this race with a no-tire-change strategy but could only finish 8th. This leaves them a 22 points behind the Kageyam/Fujii pair in the ranking that will require them to go for the win in the next round at Autopolis to keep their slim title chances alive.