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The qualifying for the “SUGO GT 300km RACE” Round 4 of the 2017 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at Sportsland SUGO (one lap: 3.704 km) in Miyagi Prefecture on July 22. In the GT500 class qualifying, the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT driven by Tomoki Nojiri and Takashi Kobayashi won pole position (1st qualifier). In the GT300 class, the 2016 champion team and winners of Round 3, the No. 25 VivaC 86 MC driven by Takamitsu Matsui and Kenta Yamashita, won the class pole.

Round 4 is being held after a roughly two-month interval since Round 3 at Autopolis (Oita Pref.). The morning practice session was run under extremely hot conditions with the air temperature already over 30 degrees Celsius when the session started at 9:05 in the morning, but by about 1:00 in the afternoon heavy clouds rapidly began to cover the circuit and rain drops began to fall. But, it never developed into full-fledged rain. And by the time the GT300 class qualifying Q1 session began at 2:10 in the afternoon, it had stopped completely. The track remained completely dry by the time the GT500 class Q1 session started at 2: 36. Only eight GT500 class cars could qualify for Q2 in this session, but, calculating the timing of the checker lap, the teams didn’t being taking to the track to begin their qualifying attempts until about eight minutes remained in the session. From that point, the time trials would be played out.

As the teams began improving rapidly on their lap times, it was the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Takashi Kobayashi) that ensured its place in Q2 by running a fastest time of 1’11.579 sec. The second fastest time was recorded by the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN LC500 (Yuhi Sekiguchi) and the third fastest lap was that of the No. 16 MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Daisuke Nakajima), which meant that cars running on Yokohama tires had taken the 2nd and 3rd fastest times. Also, with the fourth fastest time going to the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Takashi Kogure) and the fifth fastest to the No. 100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa), Honda NSX-GT cars had taken four of the top five times.

After the GT300 class Q2 session, the 12-minute Q2 session for the GT500 class began at 3:30. As with Q1 it wasn’t until there was just over seven minutes remained in the session that the cars began to go out onto the track to begin their trials. As the teams continued to improve on their lap times, the only one to break into the 1’10 sec. range with a time of 1’10.915 was Tomoki Nojiri in the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT. After that, no other cars could break the 1’11 barrier, which meant that Nojiri had taken his first personal GT500 pole position. For the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT team it was their first pole since the opening round at Okayama. Qualifying in 2nd place was the No. 100 RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto) and third place went to the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi), giving the Honda NSX-GT a sweep of the top three positions. Qualifying 4th was the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN LC500 (Yuji Kunimoto).

In the GT300 class qualifying, the scorer of the fastest time in Q1 was the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Hideki Yamauchi) with a time of 1’18.836 that took it into Q2. In the Q2 session it was the No. 25 VivaC 86 MC that had qualified 3rd fastest in Q1 that emerged to win its second consecutive pole position (driven by Kenta Yamashita in Q1 and Takamitsu Matsui in Q2) with a time of 1’18.657. For Matsui it was his fourth PP. Qualifying 2nd in class was the GT300 Mother Chassis car No. 18 UPGARAGE BANDOH 86 (Yuki Nakayama). The strong No. 60 SYNTIUM LMcorsa RC F GT3 (Daiki Yoshimoto) that had finished fastest in the morning practice qualified in 3rd place.

Pole Position Winner Comments

GT500 Class

Tomoki Nojiri
“I’m relieved to have gotten pole position. We had been in good condition from the official tests and our sponsors had been looking forward to a good performance from us, but I had been feeing a bit of unexpected pressure as a result. In the end, although this is still just the qualifying, it is the job of the drivers to turn those expectations into solid results. I was confident that I had the concentration necessary to put in one very fast lap, but must admit honestly that I am still relieved that I was actually able to get pole position.”

GT300 Class

No.25 VivaC 86 MC
Takamitsu Matsui
“I am very happy to have gotten pole position. The car had been set up perfectly for Q2, and tat was thanks to the advice given by (Kenta) Yamashita after running in Q1. Watching him driving on the monitor, it looked as if he had been struggling somewhat with an under-steering tendency, but thanks to the advice he gave after his session, our mechanic Takeshi (Tsuchiya) had been able to adjust the settings well so I was able to get pole position. I am very grateful to the two of them and to the whole team for the great job they have done.”

Source. Super GT


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