The qualifying for the Takanokono Hotel FUJI GT 300km RACE, Round 5 of the 2020 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture on October 3 (Sat). In the GT500 class, the pole position was taken by Fukuzumi in the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri /Nirei Fukuzumi). In the GT300 class, it was Kotaka in the No. 6 ADVICS muta MC86 Ryohei Sakaguchi/Kazuto Kotaka) that took the class pole. For both teams it was their second straight pole position at Fuji following Round 2. These two cars will start tomorrow’s race from the front position in their respective class grids at 13:30 in the afternoon.
This year’s SUPER GT season began here at Fuji Speedway on July 18 and 19. As a countermeasure to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first four rounds of the season were held without spectators. However, this 5th round was held with spectators, although in limited conditions. This was surely a big boost to the moral and motivations of the teams competing. On this day at Fuji, the skies were cloudy but there was no fear of rain, and with the air temperature at 22-degrees C. it was relatively good conditions for competition.
The GT500 class Q1 session started at 2:33 in the afternoon. All 15 participating GT500 cars ran in the same 10-minute session, from which the fastest eight cars would qualify for Q2. As usual, it was in the last minute of the session that a fierce battle of final time attacks unfolded. Here it was the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Kazuki Hiramine) that recorded a top time of 1’28.032 to finish the Q1 session. Finishing 2nd and 3rd fastest respectively were the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri) and the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra (Ritomo Miyata), meaning that cars by all three makers were in the top three and separated by a mere 0.079 sec. As for the No. 17 KEIHIN NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi) that won Round 2, carrying the heaviest load of handicap weights in the class was probably the reason that it could not qualify to Q2.
In the 10-minute Q2 session to decide pole position, it was once again the last one or two minutes of the session that saw the real competition for pole position with the top position changing hands several times. The No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Daiki Sasaki) recorded a top time of 1’27.620 and seemed to have won pole position before Nirei Fukuzumi in the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT recorded a time of 1’27.130 on the last lap to grab the top spot. It was the first personal pole position for the young 23-year-old Fukuzumi in his rookie season in the GT500 class. Since his teammate Nojiri had won the pole spot in Round 2, this was the team’s second consecutive pole position at Fuji. It was also the third pole of the season for the Honda NSX-GT
It was car No. 12 that took 2nd position. Taking 3rd position was No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra, which meant that as with Q1, all three makers had one car in the top three.
The GT300 class Q1 was run in two sessions for Group A and Group B. In Group A, the No. 31 TOYOTA GR SPORT PRIUS PHV apr GT (Yuhki Nakayama) finished fastest, while the fastest in Group B was the No. 55 ARTA NSX GT3 (Toshiki Oyu). The following Q2 session was contested by the eight fastest cars from the two Q1 sessions, for a total of 16 cars. In this Q2 session it was the rookie Kotaka in the No. 6 ADVICS muta MC86 (Ryohei Sakaguchi/Kazuto Kotaka) who drove with fabulous speed to take his second class pole position of the season. Finishing in 2nd position was the No. 1 TOYOTA GR SPORT PRIUS PHV apr GT (Koki Saga/Yuhki Nakayama) and in 3rd position came the winner of the last round, the No. 65 LEON PYRAMID AMG (Naoya Gamou/Togo Suganami).
Pole Winner Comments
No.8 ARTA NSX-GT
“I ran safely (laughs), but in an attack lap that I felt confident could win [pole position], I was able to get this good time and I am very happy about it. We have had a hard time in the last few races, so for this round the team really came together to set up the car well, and that I believe is why we got this result. In tomorrow’s race as well, I want us to work together to finish as No. 1.”
No.6 ADVICS muta MC86
“The machine was fantastic. I want to thank the engineer who worked hard to set up the machine so well and also Ryohei [Sakagichi]-san. To tell the truth, I thought we could probably get an even faster time, but in the end, I made a mistake. We have had difficult races in our last few rounds, so [tomorrow] I want us to get revenge with a good performance.”
Source. Super GT