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COME-FROM-BEHIND CONSECUTIVE SUPER GT WINS FOR WAKO’S 4CR LC500 AT FUJI

The FUJI 500mile RACE, Round 5 of the 2019 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was run on August 4th at Fuji Speedway (4,563m x 175 laps) in Shizuoka Prefecture. The air temperature had risen to 33 degrees Celsius before the start of this 500-mile (805 km) race, the longest in the series, and twice before it was over the Safety Car would come out to control the race, as befitting a tough midsummer endurance race. The winner of the GT500 class race was the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (Kazuya Oshima/Kenta Yamashita), in what was a second consecutive win for the tear following the victory in Round 4 in Thailand. In the GT300 class, the winner was the No. 87 T-DASH Lamborghini GT3 (Tsubasa Takahashi/Andre Couto/Kiyoto Fujinami).

In the warm-up session held at noon one car was stopped by machine trouble that brought out the Red Flag to stop the session. This caused the race to start 10 minutes later than scheduled at 1:40, with motorcycles and patrol cars of the Shizuoka Prefectural Police leading the GT machines in a parade lap followed by one formation lap to start the race.

In the early going, the pole-starting No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) and the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Frederic Makowiecki) led the race. The race regulation required each car to make four pit stops, and the first disruption in the race came during the second pit stop. Just prior to it, the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO LC500 (Yuji Tachikawa) was leaving the pit when machine trouble caused it to crash. Then, when the No. 24 REALIZE CORPORATION ADVAN GT-R (Jann Mardenborough) was about to make its third pit stop, it was also struck by machine trouble and came to a stop on the main straight. Both these accidents brought out the Safety Car to control the race for safety reasons and have the cars line up in race order. Just before the Safety Car was brought out for the second time, manager Juichi Wakisaka of the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (Kazuya Oshima/Kenta Yamashita) team, seeing the car with machine trouble come to a stop, quickly ordered No. 6 to return to the pit. This correct decision enabled No. 6, which had been running in 3rd position at the time, to effectively take the lead when the race was restarted.
This gave the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 a big margin of lead over the a No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and No. 1 RAYBRIG NSX-GT (Naoki Yamamoto/Jenson Button) battling for 2nd position, which allowed the No. 6 drivers Oshima and Yamashita to race on to the win unchallenged. The battle for 2nd place was won by the No. 1 RAYBRIG NSX-GT, and 3rd place went to the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R.

In the GT300 class race, the pole-starting No. 52 SAITAMA TOYOPET GB MARK X MC (Shigekazu Wakisaka/Hiroki Yoshida) led the race in the early going. But later, thanks to perfect time of its pit stop when the Safety Car was brought out, the No. 87 T-DASH Lamborghini GT3 (Tsubasa Takahashi/Andre Couto/Kiyoto Fujinami) emerged in the lead for the second half of the race. Keeping car No. 52 at bay, No. 87 was able to run on to the win. This was the first-ever SUPER GT win for the Lamborghini Huracan and drivers Tsubasa Takahashi and Kiyoto Fujinami. Finishing in 3rd place came the No. 34 Modulo KENWOOD NSX GT3 (Ryo Michigami/Hiroki Otsu). * Spectators: 38,100; on Aug. 3: 22,50; total 60,600

Winner Comments

GT500 Class

NNo.6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500
Kazuya Oshima
“I had not been thinking about the possibility of a win here. I had just been hoping that we could get even one series point, so I am just very surprised at this unexpected result. The engine was fast and the tires [grip] lasted. The car that engineer Abe set up for us was extremely good, and I am full of gratitude.”

Kenta Yamashita
“The key point in this race was the [third] pit stop that enabled us to get a big lead over the cars behind us, and in the end all I had to think about was just keeping the car running safely to the finish.”

GT300 Class

No.87 T-DASH Lamborghini GT3
Tsubasa Takahashi
“For this debut year, our goal was to get one win, and today we achieved that. [Andre] Couto-san and [Kiyoto] Fujinami-san drove hard for us, and we had the best strategy fall in place for us, so I am just so happy right now.”

Andre Couto
“JLOC was able to get its first win this year. I am very happy that we could get this historical moment in such a special race as the 500 miler.”

Kiyoto Fujinami
“All I can say is this was fantastic. I was fortunate to be signed as the third driver this season, and Couto-san and Takahashi-san have been teaching me a lot, so I am really lucky to be to drive with such a great team. Part way through the race we got in a position where we had the chance to win, and from there I just wanted to make the most of that chance.”

Source. Super GT

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