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SuperGT 2010: Nissan GT-Rs Score Big in Sepang with 1-2 Victory

June 20, 2010

After qualifying in pole position the #12 GT-R of team Calsonic IMPUL has taken a maximum points victory away from round 4 of the 2010 SuperGT Championships at Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. Team Nismo have also improved on their recent form after upgrading their third place qualifying with a second place final finish.

The Malaysian round of the SuperGT is always a hot one and this year was no different. Track temps were measured at around 43 degrees celsius. Rain was threatening but never eventuated leaving the competitors to tough it out in the hot dry conditions.

While the pole to win victory is sweet it didn’t come without incident and on lap 37 the #12 GT-R was actually given a tap by a rival #100 Honda HSV-010 and sent into a spin. While this created a opportunity for the HSV and the #23 Nismo GT-R to sneak past, both were handed drive through penalties leaving the way clear for the #12 GT-R to resume it’s position in front.

Congratulations to team Nismo and team IMPUL on their great victories this weekend. The win places team IMPUL in 4th position on the championship ladder while Nismo slides up into 9th. For a full race report, click the read more link below

NISSAN GT-R Entries Finish 1-2
— SUPER GT Round 4 Race Report —

June 20th, Sepang International Circuit (Malaysia)
Round 4 of SUPER GT took place on June 20 at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (5.543km). Starting from pole position, the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (#12 Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli) took the win. Qualifying in 3rd spot, the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#23 Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer) finished 2nd, meaning a 1-2 result for NISSAN.

After an interval of some seven weeks since the previous race at Fuji Speedway, the SUPER GT teams got ready for the series’ only event on foreign soil this year, at Sepang. The 54-lap race got underway at 16:00 on the 20th with the mercury reading 31 degrees, and the track surface 43 Celsius, conditions just like the middle of summer in Japan. Despite the dry conditions underfoot, there was some concern that rain would fall at the halfway-point of the 2-hour race, though this never materialized.

In the previous day’s Super Lap session, the #12 GT-R put on a resounding fight to come out on top with driver Tsugio Matsuda behind the wheel, the same man who would start the race. All cars got away cleanly when the lights went out, the #12 GT-R and the 2nd-placed machine quickly pulling away from the chasing pack. After 10 laps, a minor accident with another competitor wasn’t enough to slow Matsuda’s progress and on the 24th tour, he came in to hand the car over to his teammate Ronnie Quintarelli. The car challenging the #12 GT-R for the top spot was the #100 HSV-010. Over the course of about 6 laps, the rival machine came up on the rear of the #12 GT-R, and at the second corner of the 37th lap, jumped the kerb. At this point the machine hit the rear of the #12 GT-R, forcing Quintarelli into a spin. This foolish mistake allowed the #23 GT-R, also approaching from behind, to get past, and in an instant the #12 GT-R was third. The now leading #100 HSV-010 and the #23 GT-R were both handed drive-through penalties for the incident, and by lap 44 the #12 GT-R was back in the lead of the race. From this point, controlling the race and protecting its position was without incident and after 54 laps, the car duly crossed the finish line in first position. Since 2008, NISSAN GT-R entries have taken a trio of successive victories at Sepang. The maker also won in 2007, on that occasion with a Fairlady Z.

Starting the race from 3rd place, Satoshi Motoyama took the wheel of the #23 GT-R, carefully managing the machine’s tyres, and as a result, briefly falling to 6th. From this position, he made his pit stop on lap 22, handing the car over to teammate Benoit Treluyer. With a fresh set of rubber on the car, Treluyer kept up a vigorous pace as he chased the cars in front, and 8 laps later, on lap30, had moved up to third. With the incident between the #100 HSV-010 and the #12 GT-R taking place on lap 37, the #23 GT-R was promoted to 2nd. Later on, while waiting for the chance to get by the #100 HSV-010, he made contact with the rival machine. The coming-together resulted in a drive-through penalty. However, the car returned to the track in 5th position, Treluyer putting in a spectacularly spirited drive. By lap 47 he was fourth, and on lap 52 had risen to 2nd, making for a well-deserved 1-2 finish for the NISSAN GT-R.

The HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R (#24 Joao Paolo de Oliveira/Hironobu Yasuda) started the race in eighth, protecting its position in the early stages. However, on lap 12 the car went off track, losing time. The machine was unable to fully recover from this delay and eventually finished in 9th place.

– #12 GT-R driver Tsugio Matsuda’s comment:
“Having started from pole position, anything less than the win today would have been pretty miserable in my opinion. We were able to maintain a strong pace right from the opening stages, and I was relieved to take the car from Ronnie in the top spot. As for the win, it’s not only because of the drivers, but also due to the support of all the fans and the unflinching efforts of the team in the off-season, and everyone related to the car’s engine development, not to mention the leadership of Mr. Hoshino. It is something appreciated from the heart. As this is my first victory since 2008, it builds my self-confidence.

– #12 GT-R driver Ronnie Quintarelli’s comment:
“When I returned the car to the track after the driver switch, I was embroiled in a battle with the #100 HSV-010, and perhaps there was a little less space, which may have contributed to the accident. I thought that was the end of it, but after that the pace did not drop and the #100 and #23 GT-R were given drive-through penalties, allowing me to lead – which was a relief. The last 10 laps seemed to take forever. The moment when I won was like a dream. To all the fans who have supported us, I want to thank you.”