The qualifying for the FUJIMAKI GROUP SUZUKA GT 450km RACE, Round 5 of the 2022 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series took place at Suzuka circuit (1 lap 5,807m) in Mie Prefecture on August 27 (Sat.). In the GT500 class, Quintarelli in the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) took the first pole position for the new Nissan Z and his first since 2019. In the GT300 class, Okusa in the No. 10 TANAX GAINER GT-R (Ryuichiro Tomita/Riki Okusa/Yusuke Shiotsu) won the class pole position for the first time.
Despite the cloudy skies over Suzuka this day, the air temperature climbed to a hot and humid 30 degrees Celsius when the 10-minute Q1 session of the GT500 class qualifying began at 3:53 in the afternoon. The 15 cars began to take to the track about two minutes after the start of the session. Most of the cars began their timed laps after two laps to warm up their tires. The first car to record a top time of 1’45.735 was the No. 17 Astemo NSX-GT (Koudai Tsukakoshi). However, in the closing stages of the session it was the No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Toshiki Oyu) that recorded the fastest time of the Q1 session, at 1’45.219. Finishing the session in the 2nd spot was the No. 19 WedsSport ADVAN GR Supra (Sena Sakaguchi), while 3rd position went to the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z (Tsugio Matsuda), thus putting one car each of the three makers in the top three of Q1.
The Q2 session competed by the top eight finishers from Q1 began at 4:30 in the afternoon. But it wasn’t until the last minute of the session that all of the cars began their timed attacks. As in Q1, it was the No. 17 Astemo NSX-GT (Nobuharu Matsushita) that first recorded a top time of 1’45.349. The No. 16 Red Bull MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT (Ukyo Sasahara) took 2nd position with a time of 1’45.442. In 3rd position came car No. 19, coming off three consecutive pole positions. With this, it looked as if the Honda NSX-GT would claim the top two grid positions. But it was then that Quintarelli in the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z rallied to bring home a top time of 1’45.169. This gave the new Nissan Z GT500 its first pole position of its debut season, while also giving Quinterelli and the Nissan teams their first pole position since Round 5 of the 2019 season at Fuji Speedway.
The GT300 class Q1 session was competed by two groups, A and B, determined by their season rankings as of the last round. In Group A it was the No. 55 ARTA NSX GT3 (Iori Kimura) and in Group B the No. 244 HACHI-ICHI GR Supra GT (Kimiya Sato) who finished fastest. In the Q2 session competed by the fastest eight qualifiers of the A and B Q1 sessions (total 16 cars), it was the GT rookie Okusa in the No. 10 TANAX GAINER GT-R (Ryuichiro Tomita/Riki Okusa/ Yusuke Shiotsu) who won his first GT300 class pole position.
Pole Winner Comments
No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH Z
“It has been a long tunnel (since winning the last pole position at the 2019 season Round 5 at Fuji) and I am really glad to have finally gotten through it. We had come to Suzuka with the determination to finish first in all the sessions, but it isn’t an easy task considering how fast all of the SUPER GT teams are. But I was able to run a perfect lap. Still, my margin of lead was a mere two tenths of a second. I just want to express my appreciation to the team, to Tsugio (Matsuda), to Michellin Tire and everyone else. I also want to thank all the fans for the long wait!”
No.10 TANAX GAINER GT-R
“Because of what happened last time (when the team’s pole position was taken away due to a violation with the car specification at the Round 3 Suzuka qualifying), I came here with a feeling that we could win pole position. And since I had also said that we would get this PP when I appeared as a guest on the J SPORTS SUPER GT (information program) GTV, I am really happy that I am now able to hold my head high in front of everyone today as the PP winner.”
Source. Super GT