The qualifying for the FUJI GT 500km RACE, Round 2 of the 2018 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Fuji Speedway (one lap 4,563 m) in Shizuoka Prefecture on May 3. In the GT500 class, the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500 (Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura) won pole position with the driving of Tachikawa, which extended his own record for most pole positions in the GT500 class to 23. In the GT300 class, the No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3（Shinichi Takagi/Sean Walkinshaw） won the class pole driven by Takagi. These two cars will start from front position on their respective class starting grids in the race on May 4.
Being Japan’s “Golden Week” holidays, the Fuji Speedway was crowded by a large number of fans from early in the morning. But from morning the circuit was fair covered in fog that forced the planned morning practice session to be cancelled due to poor visibility. For this reason, the official practice session was held for 30 minutes beginning at 12:50 in the afternoon. Before noon, the fog had also cleared and the track condition was dry under cloudy skies. In this session, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) recorded the fastest lap. The best time in the GT300 class was run by the No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 (Shinichi Takagi). After this, the starting time of the official qualifying was also rescheduled, and instead of the usual two qualifying sessions (Q1 and Q2), a single 20-minute session was held for each class to get their shot at a top spot on the starting grid. In the GT500 class qualifying session that started at 15:15, the teams divided the session into two 10-minute halves for their timed lap attempts. In the final timed lap of the first half, the No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500 (Heikki Kovalainen) recorded the fastest time of 1’28.573 and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) was second fastest.
Around the 10th minute after the start of the qualifying, the cars returned to the pit to change drivers and make some slight setting adjustments before returning to the track to make their final timed lap attempts. Beating the fastest time from the first 10-minute period on his last timed lap and claim pole position was the holder of the records for most wins and most poles at Fuji Speedway and the man they call the “Fuji Master,” Yuji Tachikawa in the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500. His time of 1’27.904 was the only one to break the 1’28 barrier. Following Tachikawa came Kazuya Oshima in the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 and Quintarelli in the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, both had improved on their first-half times but not enough to break the 1’28 barrier before the 20-min. session ended. This gave the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500 (Tachikawa/ Hiroaki Ishiura) team their first pole position since last year’s Round 2 here at Fuji. For Tachikawa this extended his own record for most pole positions in the GT500 class to 23.
Taking 2nd position in the qualifying was the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (Oshima/ Felix Rosenqvist), while 3rd position went to the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Quintarelli), Meanwhile, the fastest among the Honda NSX-GT cars was the No. 16 MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Hideki Mutoh/Daisuke Nakajima) in 6th position.
In the GT300 class, Shinichi Takagi in the No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 recorded a time of 1’36.573 on his last timed lap attempt to claim pole position. For Takagi, this was his 13th pole position, tying him for the record of most GT300 class poles. In 2nd and 3rd positions came the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT Takuto Iguchi) and the No. 65 LEON CVSTOS AMG (Naoya Gamou).
Pole Position Winner Comments
No. 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500
“I am relieved to have won my 23rd pole position. With the morning’s official practice cancelled we had to go into the official qualifying with only a short amount of running time (in the rescheduled official practice). That qualifying was also rescheduled to an irregular session in which we had time for two sets of timed lap attempts on two sets of tires. In the first set the feeling of the car left something to be desired, but for the second set the team did a good job of making adjustments. I am really grateful to them for that.”
No. 55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3
“The reason that it is easy for us to get pole position here at Fuji is that it’s a track that fits the BMW M6 GT3 well. So, I thought that if we don’t get pole position here, it would make the rest of the season tougher for us. Due to the bad weather, the official practice was shortened to 30 minutes, but the team was still able to set up the car well in that time, for which I am grateful.”
Source. Super GT