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The official qualifying for the FUJI GT 300km RACE, Round 5 of the AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at Fuji Speedway (one lap: 4,563 m) in Shizuoka Prefecture on August 6. The winner of the GT500 class pole position (fastest qualifier) was the No.12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Hironobu Yasuda and Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira. In the GT300 class, the No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi won its third consecutive class pole at Fuji Speedway. These two teams win the right to start from 1st position on the staring grid in their respective class for the race on August 8.CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R

SUPER GT qualifying is run on a two session (Q1 and Q2) knock-out format. It is severe competition in which the cars that fail to finish in the designated top places in Q1 are “knocked out” of the qualifying at that point and lose the chance to compete in Q2 for the top grid positions. In the GT500 class only the top eight of the 15 cars competing in Q1 move on to compete in Q2.

This day, the sun shone down on Fuji Speedway, bring true mid-summer heat. The air temperature just before the 2:25 pm start of the qualifying was 33 degrees Celsius and the track surface temperature had risen to 48 C.

Due to a delay in the preceding GT300 class Q1 qualifying session, the GT500 class Q1 started six minutes later than scheduled at 14:51. In this Q1 session, the GT500 class rookie Katsumasa Chiyo in the No. 46 S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R recorded the fastest time of the session, as he had at the last Fuji round, with a time of 1’28.398. However, with such a hot track surface temperature this time, it was difficult to better the course record of 1’27.366 he set here at Fuji in round two. Finishing the session in 2nd position was the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda), making this the seam top two as in round two.

The GT500 class Q2 started at 15:35. At this point the track surface temperature was still a hot 47 C. In these conditions, the focus shifted from attempts to set record times to winning pole position by just finishing faster than the rivals. With this the situation, one could feel the intensity of Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira in the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R seeking reconciliation for the crushing experience of losing the win at round two due to machine trouble in the last four laps of the race. Driving with fierce determination and fully concentrated on the condition of the tires and machine, De Oliveira ran his first flying lap in a time of 1’28.886 that moved him to the top of the time board. On his next lap he brought that down to 1’28.458 to stay in first position. Meanwhile, Satoshi Motoyama in the No. 46 S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R ran a time of 1’28.934 but was unable to catch De Oliveira. At this point there was still about one minute remaining in the Q2 session, but the hot air temperature and track surface temperature made a third time attack all but impossible. With this, the No. 12 CALSONICIMPUL GT-R had won consecutive pole positions at Fuji. Qualifying third fastest despite a heavy load of 84 kg of handicap weights was the No. 1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli), showing the strength that has won the team two consecutive championship titles. Qualifying 4th came the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX CONCEPT-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi/Takashi Kogure).

For De Oliveira this was his sixth GT500 class PP, and for the Nissan GT-R it was the second PP of this season.

In the GT300 class, the No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 driven by Takashi Kobayashi scored the top time in Q1 and veteran teammate Shinichi Takagi came in with the fastest time in Q2 to take the GT300 class pole position. For Takagi it was his eleventh GT300 class PP, and for car No. 55 it was and third consecutive PP at Fuji.

Pole Position Winner Comments

GT500 Class
Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira
“We ran into bad luck in the last two rounds, but we were still able to get series points at the last round at SUGO. Looking toward the title race, this extra point (awarded for pole position) was a good thing to get. Until now, we have usually done well in the early stages of the season and then had to compete the second half with a heavy load of handicap weights, but this time our machine is still light. I want to see us take advantage of this situation and earn ourselves some big points in tomorrow’s race.”

GT300 Class
No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3
Shinichi Takagi
“I am very happy to have won pole position. Last time (in round two), we won the pole here and so we knew that our machine was well suited to the Fuji track. Put in the race (in round two) we took too much time refueling and finished 2nd as a result. So, tomorrow I want to get a margin of lead of about 15 seconds in my stint in the first half, so I can turn the car over to [Takashi] Kobayashi with that much of an advantage for the second half and let him run on that way to the finish. We are aiming for nothing less than the win tomorrow. We want to get the win in order to show Bridgestone and Autobacs how indebted we are to them.”

Source. Super GT


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