The qualifying for the “SUGO GT 300km RACE,” Round 5 of the 2021 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at Sportsland SUGO circuit in Miyagi Prefecture on September 11. In the GT500 class qualifying, was won by Fukuzumi in the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) for their first pole position of the season. In the GT300 class, Yamauchi took the class pole in the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi) for their second straight pole and the team’s third of the season. These two cars will start from the front of their class grids in tomorrow’s race set to start at 1:30 in the afternoon.
Due to the cancellation of the SUGO round in 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic, this will be the first SUPER GT race to be held here in two years. The skies over the circuit were cloudy on this day. The track was dry and the air temperature stood at 24 degrees C. when the qualifying sessions began at 2:30 in the afternoon.
The 10-minute GT500 class Q1 session began at 3:03. After two or three warm-up laps, the cars began their serious time attacks with about one minute remaining in the session. The first to top the time board was the No. 17 Astemo NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi) with a time of 1’10.617. That time was quickly beaten by the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri). This was followed by a number of times in the low 1’10 range, which saw the order on the time board change rapidly. In the end a gap of only 0.865 sec. separated the top 15 qualifiers, while the eight cars that moved on to Q2 were only separated by 0.406 sec. in a very competitive session. The No. 39 DENSO KOBELCO SARD GR Supra (Yuichi Nakayama) ended up the fastest in Q1 with a time of 1’10.275. the second fastest was the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Ukyo Sasahara). Among the GT-R NISMO GT500 cars, two qualified on to Q2, with the faster being the No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Kazuki Hiramine) in 5th position.
The 10-minute GT500 class Q2 session began at 3:41. The first time attack was run by the No. 3 CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R (Kohei Hirate), putting them in the lead. But that top spot was soon taken by the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Nirei Fukuzumi). Fukuzumi’s time of 1’09.887 was close to the standing course record of 1’09.676. The other cars to run their time attacks after that were unable to break into the 1’09 sec. range. This gave the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Nirei Fukuzumi) gave their first pole position of the season in this, the 5th round. Qualifying 2nd came the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Toshiki Oyu), thus giving the Honda NSX-GT cars a 1-2 finish. In 3rd spot came No. 12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Nobuharu Matsushita). The top qualified among the TOYOTA GR Supra GT500 cars was No. 38 ZENT CERUMO GR Supra (Yuji Tachikawa) in 7th position.
The GT300 class Q1 competitors were divided into two groups, A and B. In Group A, the top time went to the No. 96 K-tunes RC F GT3 (Kazuto Kotaka), while the fastest in Group B was the No. 7 Studie PLUS BMW (Seiji Ara). The following Q2 session was competed by 16 cars, consisting of the top eight qualifiers from each group. In this session, it was Yamauchi in the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Takuto Iguchi/Hideki Yamauchi) with a time of 1’17.479, or 0.353 sec. faster than the 2nd-place qualifier, which gave the team their second straight class pole in a row and their third of the season, while boosting the team’s overall GT300 pole total to seven. Finishing 2nd in the class qualifying was the No. 18 UPGARAGE NSX GT3 (Takashi Kobayashi/Teppei Natori). The 3rd-position qualifier was the No. 60 SYNTIUM LMcorsa GR Supra GT (Hiroki Yoshimoto/Shunsuke Kohno).
Pole Position winner comments
No.8 ARTA NSX-GT
“Since there was so little time difference between to top finishers in Q1, I felt that Q2 wasn’t going to be easy for us. So, it was no wonder that I was nearly shaking when it came time for Q2 (wry smile). But Nojiri-san and the team had set up the car so well for us, and since we had very little in the way of success weight to carry, I felt that I should be able to get a time that was a little faster, but I am glad that I was at least able to give us the No.1 spot on the starting grid (for the race). As for tomorrow’s race, since we haven’t had any race results so far this season that we could be satisfied with, I want to show the fans a race that will make them happy.”
No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT
“I am really so happy. Because of the great work of the team, the condition of the car has been very good, and I am grateful for that. But (since we haven’t been able to turn our last two pole positions into race wins) I want to re-set my mind and focus on tomorrow’s race. So, I want to get the win tomorrow so that we can end the day smiling. I hope everyone will be cheering us on!”
Source. Super GT