The Official Qualifying for the FUJI GT 500mile RACE, Round 5 of the 2019 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held on August 3 at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture (one lap 4,563m). In the GT500, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) completely dominated in both Q1 and Q2 to win its third pole position of the season. In the GT300 class, the No. 52 SAITAMA TOYOPET GB MARK X MC (Shigekazu Wakisaka/Hiroki Yoshida) managed to win its first class pole position. In tomorrow’s final on August 4 that starts at 1:30 in the afternoon, the teams will compete the long 500-mile (approx. 805 km) race.
With the rainy season now officially ended, the real summer had set in at Fuji Speedway at the base of Mt. Fuji. By the time the qualifying started in the air temperature had already risen to over 31-degrees Celsius. The SUPER GT official qualifying is conducted in a two-session (Q1, Q2) knock-out format that allows only the top eight fastest cars from Q1 to proceed to Q2 (top 16 in the GT300 class).
In the Q1 session of the GT500 class, the fastest lap time was recorded by Tsugio Matsuda in the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R with a time of 1’28.904. The second fastest time was by the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Frederic Makowiecki), giving a 1-2 finish for GT-R teams in the session.
In the GT500 class Q2 session, all of the teams concentrated their best time attacks in the last two minutes of the session. Here again, it was the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, driven this time be Ronnie Quintarelli, that recorded an even faster time than in Q1 of 1’28.519. With no one able to beat this time, the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R won its second pole position of the season at Fuji Speedway, following the one in Round 2, and its third in succession following the pole at last season’s Round 5. Qualifying 2nd was the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R driven by Kohei Hirate, thus giving the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 a 1-2 finish in the GT500 qualifying.
The third fastest time in the GT500 Q2 was recorded by Koudai Tsukakoshi in the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT, but after that he crashed on the TGR (first) Corner. Tsukakoshi was uninjured but the Red Flag was brought out for safety purposes and that ended the Q2 period. For having cause, the Red Flag, however, car No. 17’s time was disqualified and it was relegated 8th place in the qualifying. This moved the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN LC500 (Yuji Kunimoto) to 3rd place in the qualifying. Among the Honda NSX-GT cars, the 7th-place time by the No. 64 Modulo Epson NSX-GT (Narain Karthikeyan) was the best finish.
In the GT300 class qualifying, the No. 52 SAITAMATOYOPET GB MARK X MC (Shigekazu Wakisaka/Hiroki Yoshida) won the team’s and Q2 driver Yoshida’s first class pole position. Second and third places in the GT300 qualifying went to the No. 25 HOPPY 86 MC (Takamitsu Matsui/Kimiya Sato) and the No. 360 RUNUP RIVAUX GT-R (Takayuki Aoki/Atsushi Tanaka/Yusaku Shibata).
Pole Position Winner Comments
No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
“I owe this pole position to the car, the tires and the team. The conditions for us were very bad at Round 3 and Round 4 and we finished out of the points, so we want to win back the points we lost then here at Fuji. I want to take this pole position and turn it into a good result in tomorrow’s race.”
No. 52 SAITAMATOYOPET GB MARK X MC
“I am tremendously happy. The fact is, going into Q1 we had considerable trouble and we thought it would be difficult to qualify to Q2, but Shigekazu [Wakisaka] did a great job to get us through. So, I just want to thank the team that fixed everything before Q2 [for me] and Shigekazu-san.”
Source. Super GT