The qualifying for the FUJIMAKI GROUP SUZUKA GT 300km RACE, Round 3 of the 2021 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series took place at Suzuka circuit in Mie Prefecture on August 21 (Sat). In the GT500 class, Izawa in the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa/Hiroki Otsu) took pole position. In the GT300 class, Yamauchi in the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi) won pole position for the second time this season. These two cars will start at the front of their respective classes in tomorrow’s race starting at 2:30 in the afternoon.
The 3rd round of the season at Suzuka was originally scheduled to be run on May 29 and 30, but as part of efforts to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to take place after Round 4 at Motegi scheduled for July 18. So, now it is being held as the fourth race of the 2021 season. On this day, light rain fell on and off at Suzuka in the morning and the weather was uncertain, but when the qualifying started at 2:30 in the afternoon there was no rain and the qualifying sessions were held with dry track conditions. With the air temperature at 27-degrees Celsius, the feared mid-summer heat was also milder than expected.
The GT500 class Q1 session to decide the eight teams that would compete for Q2 got underway at 3:03. Because there was still fear that rain might start again, the machines took to the track earlier in the session than usual to start their time trials. When they started making serious time attacks from their second timed laps, it was the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Hiroki Otsu) who suddenly recorded a time of 1’44.733 that fell just short of the course record (1’44.319). Following this to give the Honda NSX-GT the top two places on this their home track came the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Ukyo Sasahara). Taking 3rd position was the No. 24 Realize corporation ADVAN GT-R (Daiki Sasaki), while the other three NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 teams that had struggled since the opening round this season also qualified to Q2 to show that they were back in the competition. In contrast, the fastest qualifier of the TOYOTA GR Supra GT500 teams was the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra (Yuji Kunimoto) in 9th position, meaning that there would be no Toyota cars in Q2.
As with Q1, where it was the NSX-GT teams that showed dominance, they would prove themselves to be fast again in Q2. Joining the action on the track shortly after most of the cars, the No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT (Takuya Izawa) surprised everyone by running off the track at one point, but it turned out to be nothing serious. On his second timed lap, Izawa first recorded a time of 1’45.128. Taking this as their target time, the other seven cars ran their time attacks. The result saw the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) lead the GT-R teams close to that with a time of 1’45.710, which left it in 3rd position. Second position went to the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Toshiki Oyu), also running on Dunlop tires like car No. 64, and this gave the NSX-GT teams another 1-2 finish as in Q1.
The GT300 class 1 session was run in two groups, A and B, and in Group A the fastest qualifier was the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi), while in Group B the fastest time went to the No. 244 Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT (Yuui Tsutsumi). The ensuing Q2 session was completed by the top eight cars from the two groups, for a total of 16 cars. In this Q2 session, Hideki Yamauchi in the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT recorded a time of 1’57.322, almost one sec. faster than the best time in Q1, to give his team their second GT300 class pole position of the season. Qualifying 2nd was the No. 5 MACHSYAKEN GTNET MC86 MACH GO (Yuya Hiraki/Reiji Hiraki) that had finished 2nd in Q1. Finishing the qualifying in 3rd place was No. 244 Takanoko-no-yu GR Supra GT (Atsushi Miyake/Yuui Tsutsumi). （Spectators: 7,000）
Pole Position winner comments
No. 64 Modulo NSX-GT
“(Having taken pole position after running off the track once) my head is in a bit of a panic (wry smile). There have been some rather hard times this season, but the set-up coming into this Suzuka round went well. It has been especially great for both us and Dunlop that we got a 1-2 finish in the qualifying with car No. 16 which is also running on Dunlop tires this year. The machine has been just great, and since Otsu-san had run a terrific lap in Q1, I think I am going to be the only one feeling depressed tonight (after having run off the track in his session). It looks like tomorrow’s weather is going to be questionable, but our car has the speed, and I believe the Dunlop tires are always good in the race, so I want to see us stay on top to the finish in the race like we did today.”
No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT
“We were able to get pole position thanks to all the SUBARU fans. I could hear the applause from all of you (smiles). (Since the qualifying results don’t always lead to a good result in the race) our real competition starts from here. What we can do in tomorrow’s race is the big issue, so I want to concentrate once again on what is necessary so that I can do my best in the race.”
Source. Super GT