|Round 7 of the Super GT Championship at Autopolis, the penultimate event of the series, saw no.36 SC430’s pair of Kazuki Nakajima and James Rossiter beat no.38 SC430’s pair of Yuji Tachikawa and Kohei Hirate for victory at the Kyushu 300km race. Third place went to the HSV-010 pair of Koudai Tsukakoshi/Toshihiro Kaneishi.|
After seven rounds, there are four pairings still in contention for this season’s Drivers’ crown; Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate, Kazuki Nakajima/James Rossiter, Naoki Yamamoto/Frederic Makowiecki and Koudai Tsukakoshi/Toshihiro Kaneishi. Going into the finale at Motegi, the two SC 430s of Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate and Kazuki Nakajima/James Rossiter hold the triumph card in their hands as they lead the standings with 58 and 54 points versus the other pairs.
In changing climate conditions during the Super GT Autopolis weekend, Saturday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to the drizzle and thick fog. It was conducted on the Sunday morning of raceday where the no.38 SC430 pair took pole ahead of key com3petitors of the HSV-010 and GT-R teams.
Super GT Round 7 Autopolis: Qualifying cancelled, race delayed due to adverse weather conditions
The race started in the afternoon where grip level and heat were optimum. Hirate, no.38 SC430 starting driver, stormed from pole to lead the field and gradually opened a marginal gap ahead of second and third place runners; no.23 GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli and no.1 GT-R of Satoshi Motoyama. Behind the leaders, no.18 HSV-010 of Naoki Yamamoto, no.12 CT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and no.36 SC430 of James Rossiter were battling for fourth place.
In the middle stages of the race, light rain began to fall on and off as the track turned hazardous with wet patches here and there. Bits of rubber from the cars’ tyres added to the atrocious track conditions. Soon, cars were running off the track and slamming into each other due to the slippery conditions. The race leader no.38 SC430 was unfazed by the terrible conditions as Hirate held on to the race lead. He would hand the drive to his team mate, Tachikawa, during the customary pitstop. But, behind the lead car, the order was changing very rapidly.
As the dust settled into the final stint, the running order became somewhat stable as no.38 SC430 led no.36 SC430, with Nakajima at the helm, and no.17 HSV-010, with Tsukakoshi at the wheels. However, with about eight laps remaining in the race, the pace of no.38 began to slow until the top three machines were all within one second of each other. There was a driver error by Tachikawa in the lead SC430 which allowed Nakajima and Tsukakoshi an opportunity to pounce. Thanks to a fastest lap in the last three laps, Nakajima managed to overtake no.38 SC430 driver for the race lead. HSV-010 driver Tsukakoshi nearly made a jump on the no.38 SC430 for second, but Tachikawa recovered well to hold on to second spot until the chequered flag.
Nakajima and crew scored the team’s second win of the season at Autopolis, with the first win at Round 2’s Fuji Speedway. All eyes will be on the final Super GT event of the season scheduled for the Twin Ring Motegi from 2 – 3 November…Will it be one of the SC430s, an HSV-010 or GT-R taking the season’s Super GT honors?
2013 Super GT Autopolis results
1 Kazuki Nakajima/James Rossiter SC430 1:55.03
2 Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate SC430 +2.622
3 Koudai Tsukakoshi/Toshihiro Kaneishi HSV-010 +2.811
4 Satoshi Motoyama/Yuhi Sekiguchi GTR +11.227
5 Naoki Yamamoto/Frederic Makowiecki HSV-010 +11.841
6 Hironobu Yasuda/Michael Krumm GTR +12.326
7 Juichi Wakisaka/Hiroaki Ishiura SC430 +12.735
8 Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli GTR +24.134
9 Daisuke Ito/Andrea Caldarelli SC430 +24.474
10 Ryo Michigami/Daisuke Nakajima HSV-010 +46.935
GT500 Drivers’ standings
1 Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate 58
2 Kazuki Nakajima/James Rossiter 54
3 Naoki Yamamoto/Frederic Makowiecki 52
4 Koudai Tsukakoshi/Toshihiro Kaneishi 52
5 Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli 47
6 Tsugio Matsuda/Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira 46
7 Daisuke Ito/Andrea Caldarelli 42
8 Juichi Wakisaka/Hiroaki Ishiura 41
9 Takuya Izawa/Takashi Kogure 37
10 Kazuya Oshima/Yuji Kunimoto 32