October 16, 2011
NISSAN Motor Co., Ltd.
NISSAN Motorsports International Co., Ltd.
NISSAN GT-R SCORES FIFTH WIN OF SEASON AND TAKES TITLE
-- SUPER GT 2011 Round 8 Race Report --
October 16th: Twin Ring Motegi (Tochigi prefecture)
The final round of the 2011 SUPER GT season took place at Twin Ring Motegi (Motegi town, Tochigi prefecture) on Sunday, October 16th in the MOTEGI GT 250km RACE, with a race day audience of over 26,000. Starting from fifth on the grid, the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer) was victorious. Points' leaders the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) began their race from pole position before settling into 2nd place on the way to becoming series' champions for the first time. The #23 GT-R, winners also in the previous round at Autopolis, took their third victory of the year. It was another 1-2 finish for NISSAN, and the result secured the top two positions in the series' rankings for MOLA and NISMO, respectively. From the eight rounds contested this season, NISSAN GT-R entries demonstrated their dominance by winning a total of five times.
In accordance with the regulations, this last race of the season saw all success ballast removed from the cars, allowing the raw speed of the machines and their drivers to be displayed freely.
Official qualifying took place on Saturday in the rain, with the points-leading #46 GT-R boldly taking pole position. Heading into the final race of the season, the #23 GT-R showed more of its recent resurgence by taking 5th on the grid in difficult conditions. Moreover, the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paolo de Oliveira) qualified third, making it a trio of the NISSAN cars at the sharp end of the grid.
Although every session, from Saturday's opening Free Practice to the Warm Up on Sunday morning was beset by rain, more favourable conditions prevailed for the race itself. Not long before the race was set to start, blue skies appeared and the temperature rose to 26 degrees Celsius.
In the pole-sitting #46 GT-R, Ronnie Quintarelli took the wheel for the start. Making a spirited dash the moment the green lights went out, he got through the first turn in the lead before starting to build up a gap to the car in 2nd place. Although the weekend's first dry running became characterized by offense and defense, there were plenty of position changes among the frontrunners in the race's early stages. The driver of the #46 GT-R was unconcerned however, his gap steadily increasing lap after lap. With enough of an advantage, he came in for his mandatory pit stop on lap 29, handing the car over to teammate Masataka Yanagida. Meanwhile, starting from fifth, Treluyer in the #23 GT-R caught the 4th-placed machine on the opening lap, before snatching another position to run third early on. In addition, he had the rear bumper of the 2nd-placed #39 SC430 in his sights before pitting on lap 30. The NISMO pitcrew's quick work then allowed Satoshi Motoyama to return to the track ahead of the #39 SC430, before he mounted a super charge, chasing after Yanagida in the #46 GT-R. He attached his machine to the back of the identical #46 GT-R, finally getting by on lap 41 amidst the confusion caused by some GT300 machinery. He maintained his position to the flag, crossing the line first after 53 laps and a scintillating drive.
Ranked 2nd in the points (16 behind the leaders) going into the final round, the #23 GT-R needed to win and have the #46 GT-R finish lower than sixth if it were to steal the title. For this reason, although the race leader yielded to the #23 GT-R, it thenceforth took no unnecessary risks, instead protecting its position with a gap back to the third-placed car, and climbing the 2nd step of the winners' podium. For the MOLA team, participating in the GT500 class for the first time in 2011, it was a fairytale maiden season in the category. Moreover, Yanagida scored successive Drivers' titles, having won the GT300 crown in 2010.
From third on the grid, Joao Paolo de Oliveira took the start in the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R, moving up on the opening lap with a pass on the #39 SC430 to take 2nd. From there he continued to attack, but had to make an early pit stop on lap 9 to change tyres, knocking the car down the order. The machine finished the race in ninth. The #24 GT-R started from eighth place, eventually coming home in 12th.
NISMO Team Director Yutaka Suzuki's comment:
"Today's race was perfect. The drivers, mechanics and engineers all did a fantastic job. It's unfortunate we weren't able to take the title, but with five victories for the GT-R this season, and another of the NISSAN teams taking the championship, I think we're in pretty good shape. Also the fact that the revised engine, introudced in the middle of the season, has worked so well, is a testament to the efforts of everyone involved. While we're not entirely satisfied, we're ready to prepare a repeat attempt at the title next season. To each and every one of the many fans that have supported us this year, I give my heartfelt thanks. We look forward to your continued support."
#46 GT-R driver Masataka Yanagida's comment:
"First, I want to thank my teammate, everyone in the team, our sponsors and the NISSAN cheer group - all of whom have helped make this possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The season started off well, with the car and tyres a perfect match. However, it was the three successive battles during the summer that really made the season special, and it felt great to climb the winners' podium in each of those races, one of which we won. Being able to achieve my goals, and to take two Drivers' titles in as many years is truly special."
#23 GT-R driver Satoshi Motoyama's comment:
"We were able to win this time because of the comprehensive power of the team. It feels great! With Benoit's excellent pace - which allowed us to advance before the stop where the pit crew did an amazing job, I thought I'd be able to take victory at any cost. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. However, not becoming champion despite taking three victories this season is regrettable, but only pushes us further to reach that goal next year."
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Gap|
|1||23||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer||1:37'39.246|
|2||46||S Road MOLA GT-R||Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli||+1.803|
|3||39||DENSO SARD SC430||Hiroaki Ishiura/Takuto Iguchi||+2.452|
|4||100||RAYBRIG HSV-010||Takuya Izawa/Naoki Yamamoto||+2.703|
|5||32||EPSON HSV-010||Ryo Michigami/Yuhki Nakayama||+3.019|
|6||1||Weider HSV-010||Takashi Kogure/Loic Duval||+3.435|
|7||17||KEIHIN HSV-010||Toshihiro Kaneishi/Koudai Tsukakoshi||+20.326|
|8||36||PETRONAS TOM'S SC430||Andre Lotterer/Kazuki Nakajima||+31.726|
|9||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda/J-P.de Oliveira||+41.688|
|10||38||ZENT CERUMO SC430||Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate||+43.992|
|12||24||ADVAN KONDO GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda/Bjorn Wirdheim||+50.665|
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