The official qualifying for the MOTEGI GT 250km RACE, Round 8 of the 2019 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit (one lap 4,801m) in Tochigi Prefecture on November 2 (Sat.). In the GT500 class, the No. 36 au TOM’S LC500 driven by Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi won its second Pole Position of the season following the one in Round 3 at Suzuka. In the GT300 class, the class pole position went to the No. 720 McLaren 720S (Seji Ara/Alex Palou). This was the first PP for both Palou and the team.
The official qualifying was run in a two session (Q1, Q2) knock-out format. On this day, Twin Ring Motegi was blessed with fair skies and an unseasonably warm temperature of 19-degrees Celsius. In the GT500 class Q1 the fastest time of 1’36.353 was run by the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda). The No. 37 KeePer TOM’S LC500 (Ryo Hirakawa) also in contention for the season championship with No. 23 finished the Q1 session in 2nd position, while the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (Kazuya Oshima) managed to qualify to Q2 by finishing in 7th position.
In the ten-minute GT500 class Q2 session, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) needed the one point for winning pole position to stay in contention for the season title, and it was the first to start its time attacks with a time that gave it the provisional pole position. However, Sekiguchi of the No. 36 au TOM’S LC500 (Kazuki Nakajima/ Yuhi Sekiguchi) recorded a better time of 1’35.964 to take top position from No. 23 and claim pole position. By eventually finishing 3rd in Q2, No. 23 fell out of contention for the season title. The current ranking leader, the No. 6 WAKO’S 4CR LC500 (Kenta Yamashita) finished Q2 in 2nd position, while its onlt remaining rival for the season title, the No. 37 KeePer TOM’S LC500 (Nick Cassidy) finished the Q2 in 4th place to give it an advantage going into the race on the Sunday. The best finisher among the Honda NSX-GT cars was the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi/Bertrand Baguette).
In the GT300 class, the No. 720 McLaren 720S (Seji Ara/Alex Palou) driver Ara cleared the Q1 contest and Palou won Q2 with a course record of 1’45.907. This was the first PP for both Palou and the McLaren 720S. As for the title race contenders No. 96 K-tunes RC F GT3 (Morio Nitta/Sena Sakaguchi), an upset occurred when Nitta spun out in Q1 and was unable to get a good time to move the team on to Q2. Meanwhile, the No. 4 GOODSMILE HATSUNE MIKU AMG (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka) which needed to win the one point for pole position to stay in contention for the title finished the qualifying in 7th position, and the No. 56 REALIZE NISSAN AUTOMOBILE TECHNICAL COLLEGE GT-R (Kazuki Hiramine/Sacha Fenestraz) fell out of contention for the title by not winning the one point for pole position and finished the qualifying in 2nd position. Meanwhile, the No. 55 ARTA NSX GT3 (Shinichi Takagi/Nirei Fukuzumi) won an advantage for tomorrow’s race over its title rival car No. 96 by finishing the qualifying in 5th position
Pole position Winner Comments
No. 36 au TOM’S LC500 [GT500]
I’m very happy. Since our main aim is to make a good showing and demonstrate our strength in the final round, I wasn’t thinking about the contenders for the season title. There was a slight oversteering tendency when [Kazuki] Nakajima drove in Q1, so we two drivers and the engineers and the manager got together and talked about it, and as a result we were able to get a very good machine set-up, which made it very easy for me to drive. This is my second season teamed with Nakajima-san, and I think that this result shows the progress we have made as a team, so I am very happy about this.
No. 720 McLaren 720S [GT300]
I am extremely happy. We had a new project this season (to run with the new model McLaren 720S), and we went through many difficulties as a new team. So I had my mind set on winning pole position in the last round. I really want to express my appreciation to the team and my partner [Seji] Ara.
Source. Super GT