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HOME / MOTORSPORTS / SUPER GT 2014 / Round 2 News Index
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Event summary
Date
3-4 May. 2014
Venue
Fuji Speedway (Japan)
Weather
Fine
Surface
Dry
Race Lap
110Laps
(1Lap = 4,563m)
>> Report@@>> Result
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Fuji GT 500 km Race, the second round of the 2014 Super GT series, was held at Fuji Speedway on May 3-4. As it was in the middle of the Golden Week national holidays, as many as ninety thousand spectators in total for the two days enjoyed the event.

The race weekend was favored by good weather and it was comfortably warm out there. In the qualifying session on Saturday, which was run on dry conditions, B-Max NDDP GT-R secured the pole position of the GT300 class, as Kazuki Hoshino qualified the car in 4th in Q1 and then Lucas Ordonez clocked 1'37h841 which was the fastest of the class in Q2. Including the Spaniard and Yuki Iwasaki who managed to earn the 4th grid in Iwasaki apr GT-R, 9 out of 13 GT300 drivers fought for the pole position in Q2 were relying on Yokohama Tire's products.

Driving WedsSport ADVAN RC F in Q1 for GT500 cars, Yuhi Sekiguchi ended the session in 9th and just missed out on making his way into Q2. But Michael Krumm in D'station ADVAN GT-R set the 7th fastest time in Q1, 1'30h216, which meant the car was allowed to go on to Q2 for the first time this year. Then Daiki Sasaki drove the GT-R in Q2 and his effort led to the 6th grid for the race, as he posted a lap time of 1'29h558. So expectations for D'station ADVAN GT-R's good result on Sunday were growing after the qualifying session.

The 110 lap race got underway on 2 p.m. on Sunday. For this long distance 500km race, every team was mandated to make 2 pit stops during the race.

The starting drivers of the Yokohama shoed GT500 cars were Krumm and Sekiguchi. They kept their positions, 6th and 9th, during the early laps but then the Safety Car came out due to a GT300 car's heavy crash. Soon after racing resumed, Eneos Sustina RC F overtook WedsSport ADVAN RC F at Turn 1 on Lap 11, while the WedsSport car went on with a strong pace even after that.

On Lap 19, S Road Mola GT-R caught fire on the track. This required the Safety Car to come out for the second time in this race and, when it headed back to the pit lane, D'station ADVAN GT-R and WedsSport ADVAN RC F were running in 5th and 9th.

Krumm in D'station ADVAN GT-R came back to the pit to change to Sasaki on Lap 35. Sekiguchi followed the German's path on 2 laps later to hand the WedsSport backed car to Jyuichi Wakisaka. When all GT500 cars had made their first stops, Sasaki found himself in 6th and Wakisaka in 10th. Both of them had really good races within the championship point scoring places and, especially, Sasaki fought strongly against Eneos Sustina RC F, which was the pole sitting car in the season opener in Okayama, just behind him.

On Lap 69, Motul Autech GT-R which was comfortably leading the race stopped due to a mechanical problem. The car actually rejoined the race but lost a lot of ground, so each car automatically gained a position. After that, D'station ADVAN GT-R and WedsSport ADVAN RC F moved up to 3rd and 7th respectively and the time for their second mandatory pit stops came. On Lap 72, Sasaki handed the GT-R back to Krumm for the last stint and Wakisaka in the RC F changed to Sekiguchi 3 laps later.

Clocking really good lap times in the closing stage of the race, Krumm closed the gap with Eneos Sustina RC F in 3rd but there werenft enough laps remaining for him to catch up to it. So D'station ADVAN GT-R finished the race in 4th, just one place shy of the podium. WedsSport ADVAN RC F also earned valuable championship points by finishing in 7th, while the car was a lap down from the eventual leader.

As for the GT300 class, the pole sitting Hoshino in B-Max NDDP GT-R tried to pull away from the rest of the field in the beginning. But, on Lap 4, Manepa Lamborghini GT3 with Takayuki Aoki at the wheel crashed at the end of pit straight and the Safety Car was required to come out because a lot of debris was scattered around from the badly damaged car. Fortunately, Aoki walked away from the wreck uninjured and racing was resumed after 4 laps of the Safety Car period. Hoshino was still leading the field but Koki Saga in OGT Panasonic Prius was closing on the GT-R driver from behind.

The Prius started the race from the 7th grid but was steadily moving up through the field because the significant set up change they had made after the qualifying session worked well. On Lap 16, Saga finally overtook Hoshino to become the new leader.

Just on the next lap, however, a GT500 car caught fire on the track, which caused another Safety Car period. The pit entrance opened on Lap 19 and the 9 cars including B-Max NDDP GT-R were among the first to visit their pit under the Safety Car run. In retrospect, because this was the last Safety Car period, the cars that made pit stops at this opportunity obtained a certain advantage.

Saga and his team opted for staying out and OGT Panasonic Prius was still in control of the race, even after making its first pit stop to change to Morio Nitta. Then, to keep their chance for a good result alive, the team decided to replace only rear tires at the second pit stop but, unfortunately, the car refused to restart its engine for nearly 30 seconds before leaving the pit. Consequently, the Prius fell back to 7th when it rejoined the race.

This gave the top slot to Mugen CR-Z GT. But, as a result of early pit stop during the second Safety Car period, the car had to had longer second and third stints and this led to a costly spin on Lap 96, only 5 laps to go. The Mugen car was able to continue but slipped back to 3rd.

Now the new race leader was Tatsuya Kataoka in Goodsmile Hatsune Miku Z4, which was one of the 9 cars that had made the pit stop during that Safety Car period. Considering the Z4's pace in this race, one could argue that Lady Luck smiled on the Taniguchi/Kataoka pair to be in the lead position. And Gainer Dixcel SLS was putting heavy pressure on Kataoka, so there was a good reason for Taniguchi, who was watching it from the pit after driving in the car's second stint, to pray for Kataoka.

And perhaps because of Taniguchi's prayer, Kataoka narrowly fended off the Gainer backed car's attack. This meant Goodsmile Hatsune Miku Z4 won two races in a row, after its victory in the season opener.

Studie BMW Z4, driven by Jorg Muller and Seiji Ara, finished the race in 4th, despite a penalty for a sporting rule infringement which compromised their race. B-Max NDDP GT-R was forced to save fuel in the second half of the race and had to settle for 5th, followed by OGT Panasonic Prius which missed out the chance for a win by losing time during the pit stop.
 
Driver's Voice
@[Result : 4th in the GT500 class]
gWe were just one step away from the podium. But I am still very happy with this result because we have had a hard time until today. Michael (Krumm) did a good job today. As for my own stint, I still have a lot to learn but I managed to keep Eneos Sustina RC F behind throughout the very close battle with it, which was good, I think.
gI am pleased that I was able to keep 3rd place until I handed the car to Michael, while I am aware that it would have been better if I could have kept faster pace during my own stint.h
 
@[Result : 7th in the GT500 class]
gThe result was only 7th but it was good to score the first championship points for the team which I joined this year. The progress of our work with Yokohama Tire was shown by the lap times of another car [D'station ADVAN GT-R], which was really fast today.
gBut, obviously, we need to improve the performance of our car. As there are some differences between GT-R and our RC F, we have to make better adjustments and fine tuning in relation with our car and tires. That said, I am sure the total performance was better than it had been, so the new tire construction we used for this race is promising. The two GT-Rs that had problems today will come back in the next round but we are looking forward to much better result from us.
 
Nobuteru Taniguchi
@[Result : Winner in the GT300 class]
gI couldn't be happier about this result!
gWe always race to win but, as you could see from our qualifying result, we weren't the fastest crew today and we actually had a hard time in the most part of the race. So we were just lucky today! Okay, the team did make a good judgment about the pit stop and everything but I think luck still played a big part.
gFor example, some of the faster cars chose to stay out during the Safety Car period. Otherwise, they tangled with a GT500 car or had some mechanical problems. All these helped us. Then, in the last stint, Kataoka had to drive under heavy pressure, which made me so nervous, but he did a great job and survived it.h
 
Engineer's Voice
Syuichi Fujishiro
gFor the GT500 cars, we introduced a new construction, which we had designed based on the latest data, for this Fuji round. Usually, we don't take a new construction without testing it beforehand but we were quite confident with it. And it was confirmed by the race pace of out two cars, WedsSport ADVAN RC F and D'station ADVAN GT-R, which was comparable with the race leaders. So it would be safe to say the tire's total performance, including that of qualifying run, was improved and the new construction worked well.

gEspecially, D'station ADVAN GT-R almost made a podium finish but Krumm had a problem with picking up marbles in the final laps of his last stint. Although we know we still have a lot to learn, by collecting as much data as possible from the limited track time, I think our tire adaptation work to our two cars has made some real progress.

gFor the GT300 class, we supplied the tires of proven specifications, as we had done for the Okayama round, and Goodsmile Hatsune Miku Z4 claimed its second consecutive win. The winning crew was favored by luck to some extent but we are pleased to see the majority of the top finishers were Yokohama Tire users. We hope to keep the momentum and will try to help our users to get the third victory in as many races in the next Autopolis round.

gBut we are going to take the tires that have basically same specifications to the Autopolis round because we didn't take part in the pre-event testing at the circuit. The race will be held in a different season of the year from the 2013 calendar but we will make every effort to be prepared for the conditions about temperatures or the chance of rain in the forthcoming race weekend.h
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