The qualifying for the “SUGO GT 300km RACE,” Round 6 ofthe 2015 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at Sportsland SUGO (onelap: 3.704 km) in Miyagi Prefecture on September 19. In theGT500 class qualifying, the No. 46 S Road MOLA GT-R driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Masataka Yanagida won pole position with acourse record time of 1’11.607. In the GT300 class, the No. 55ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi won the class pole, also with a course record. These two machines will start from first position on their respective class grid sfor the race on September 20.
The SUPER GT qualifying is run in a competitive two- session”knock-out” format (Q1 and Q2), with the cars failing
t0 qualify among the designated top group in Q1 being knocked out of the final qualifying in Q2. In the GT500 qualifying, the top eight cars of the 15 entries in Q1 proceed to Q2.
In contrast to the intermittent rain the day before,qualifying day brought fresh early autumn weather with blue skies at Sportsland SUGO to make it a perfect day for face fans to enjoy the action on the track. The qualifying began at 1:30 in the afternoon for this important round, as the series enters its final stages.
In the GT500 class Q1 session, the No. 24 D’station ADVANGT-R (Daiki Sasaki) showed the same kind of outstanding performance that brought it victory in round four at Fuji Speedway, breaking the former SUGO course record (1’13.667) bya big margin with a stunning time of 1’11.913 to put it inprovisional pole position.
In Q2, where the GT500 class pole position would be decided, Takuya Izawa in the No. 100 RAYBRIG NSX CONCEPT-GT tha thad finished in 2nd place in Q1 turned in a time of 1’11.819 to beat the fastest time from Q1 to establish a new course record and top the time board. But, even faster than this would be Satoshi Motoyama in the No.46 S Road MOLA GT-R, the driver who has won the GT500 class title three times and is currently tied for the record for most GT500 class wins with 16. Showing once again that his speed is as daunting as ever despite his veteran status, Motoyama drove hard in his last time attack, slipping his rear wheels in
short intervals through the high-speed curvesto come through with a time of 1’11.607. With this course-record time, Motoyama won himself and his team their first pole position of the 2015 season. Also showing their speed here at SUGO were two NSX CONCEPT-GT teams that finished the qualifying in 2nd and 3rd places respectively, the No. 100 RAYBRIG NSXCONCEPT-GT and the No. 64 Epson NSX CONCEPT-GT.
In the GT300 class, the CR-Z and Prius hybrid cars impressed with their speed. In Q1, the No. 31 TOYOTA apr PRIUSGT (Koki Saga) set a course record time of 1’19.076 to finish fastest. But in Q2, Shinichi Takagi in the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GTthat had finished 3rd in Q1 came through with the fastest time of the session at 1’19.107.
This gave the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GTits second class PP of the season following one at Fuji in round four.
Pole Position winner comments
No. 46 S Road MOLA GT-R [GT500]
Satoshi Motoyama: “After winning round three in Thailand, the resulting handicap weights we had to carry after that made things difficult for us. I feel that this result today is due to the fact that the weight handicap [ballast] and a number of other factors worked to our advantage here at the Sportsland SUGO track. As for the qualifying this time, I think that both [Masataka] Yanagida in Q1 and myself in Q2 were able to drive well. If we can win the race this time, it will have a lot of benefits for us going forward, so I want to win here and then go into the last two rounds with that advantage.”
No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GT [GT300]
Shinichi Takagi: “For this qualifying we found a good tire choice, and with the rise in the temperatures, we had a good flow going for us. For me personally, winning my 10th pole position makes me very happy. I want to thank the team for setting up the car so well for us. I don’t know if we will be able to win tomorrow’s race, but I hope we can keep near the front [and win points again] so that we can go into the final race of the season as one of the title contenders.”
Source. Super GT
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