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SuperGT 2009: Nissan Race Report and High Res Photos for Round 8

October 19, 2009


Full race report from Nissan below for Sunday’s SuperGT 2009 round 8. Don’t forget to click the Read More link to read the entire release…

2nd place another step toward successive title for NISSAN GT-R
– SUPER GT 2009 Round 8 Race Report –

October 18th, Autopolis International Racing Course (Oita prefecture)
On Sunday, October 18th, Autopolis International Racing Course played host to Round 8 of the 2009 SUPER GT series, the ‘SUPER GT in Kyushu 300km’ race. Starting third, the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#1 Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer) finished on the second tier of the podium, taking an important step towards a second successive title.

Whilst carrying the heaviest handicap weight onboard, Benoit Treluyer got the bit between his teeth for a scintillating attack in qualifying, firmly planting the #1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R in third position. Autopolis is a circuit well suited to the NISSAN GT-R, illustrated well with the car’s second row start. Located in the Mount Aso region, the weather was most favourable on race day, though the high elevation meant afternoon temperatures never rose very high, including at 2:00pm when the race got underway.

Treluyer took the start in the #1 GT-R. Having chosen hard compound tyres, the #1 GT-R allowed the #36 Lexus SC430 through on the opening lap, afterwhich constant and stable lap times kept the car in 4th position. Subsequently, on lap 23, the car made its stop for the driver switch to Satoshi Motoyama. After changing tyres, the #1 GT-R recovered its earlier pace, and by the time all cars had made their stops – on lap 39, the machine had risen to 3rd. Chasing the lead pair of SC430s, Motoyama ardently upped his pace. At one point, the gap to the leading car was around 10 seconds, but in the final stages that was reduced to just three. In addition, because the SC430 that had been running 2nd went out, the #1 GT-R took the chequered flag after 65 laps in 2nd place, a mere 2.9 seconds from the leader.
So far this season, the #1 GT-R has taken two victories, has twice finished 2nd (including this result) and in the championship, Satoshi Motoyama now sits 5 points ahead of the third-placd duo of Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer, maintaining his position at the top of the standings. In the Team’s standings, the car also leads, six points ahead of 2nd-place.

Making his first appearance of the season as start driver, Seiji Ara (HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R – #24 Joao Paolo de Oliveira/Seiji Ara) moved up from a qualifying position of 11th to run 10th at the first corner. By lap 3 he had risen to ninth. He spent the first half of the race protecting this position. After handing over to Oliveira, the car made a well-timed return to the track, and after all cars had made their stops, was in fifth place. The car then moved up one more position on lap 40, to fourth. After that, Oliveira pushed extremely hard, protecting his position from rivals aiming for a higher place in the championship, never allowing the opportunity to get by. Then, due to a car ahead going out in the final stages, they rose to the final step of the podium in their second successive finish.

Starting the race in ninth place, the HASEMI TOMICA EBBRO GT-R (#3 Ronnie Quintarelli / Hironobu Yasuda) suffered from tyres that didn’t match the conditions well, preventing them from getting any meaningful pace, so much so that the car made a very early stop on lap 11 for a new set of rubber. After the switch the car went well, at one point running in fifth. On lap 39, Yasuda took the wheel, returning to the race in ninth. The car rose to eighth by the flag.

Qualifying on the front row of the grid, the IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R (#12 Tsugio Matsuda / Sebastien Philippe) had Matsuda as start driver. Immediately after the lights went out, the car was 3rd, but followed with a strong drive. However on lap 27 during the pit stop, after having handed over to Philippe, contact was made with a GT300 machine, the resulting damage to the rear suspension making it impossible for the car to continue. The machine was rolled into the team garage and retired.

*NISMO Team Director Yutaka Suzuki’s comment:
“The tyres went away quicker than we’d expected, necessitating an earlier than anticipated pit stop. However, Motoyama conserved his tyres well in the latter half – and you’d think that would be good, but it was annoying not being able to overtake. Prior to the final race we would have preferred to have a bigger points spread, but at Motegi there’ll be no weight handicaps, and the full effect of the new aero devices introduced here should prove worthwhile. No doubt it’ll be a very exciting race, and we appreciate all our fans continued support.”

*#1 GT-R driver Satoshi Motoyama’s comment:
“Thank you for your support everybody. We weren’t able to take the win this time, but we certainly gave it our very best effort and ended up 2nd. It’s an unfortunate outcome, but when taking into consideration the weight and the championship, I believe we’re in a great position. Benoit, the team, everybody worked really hard. The final race, the last chapter is coming up next. We hope you’ll come out and enjoy it. Thank you very much.”

*#1 GT-R driver Benoit Treluyer’s comment:
“We’re still leading the championship, and this is very good. We go to Motegi with a good target and with a good advantage now so we’re very confident for the title. We’re going to fight right to the end.”