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Nissan takes Super GT victory at Fuji Speedway

Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda taking their first victory of the year


Nissan scored gold during “Golden Week” in Japan at the latest round of the Super GT Championship with Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda taking their first victory of the year.

The duo started third with Quintarelli grabbing the lead of the race before the end of the first lap last Friday. Despite losing the lead towards the end of the first stint, the Italian/Japanese combination fought hard. Matsuda’s quick in-lap before the second stop – combined with a stunning out-lap by Quintarelli – put the No. 23 Motul Autech GT-R back in the race lead.

From there, it was just a matter of maintaining the tires until the checkered flag.

“It’s really an amazing victory,” said Quintarelli. “I tried to push very hard on the start. I had a very good reaction to the lights, a very good start. On the formation lap, I worked hard on warming the tires so I could fight the two cars in front of me. Of course, if they block you it’s not easy, but I was much quicker into turn one, and I overtook one car, and the other on the second half of the track. Coming back after one lap and being P1 motivated me a lot and I kept pushing. But at the end of the stint, and especially in the traffic, I started to lose grip. Kovalainen had better pace, so he overtook me. We had three stints in this race, and I was confident that in the second stint Tsugio could jump in the car and do a good job as well. I knew that if I had a good out-lap I could come out in front of Kovalainen, and the tyres would work much better compared to the first stint with the rubber on the track so I could defend the first position. The competition is very high with both drivers and manufacturers. There’s such a high level at all the races, but we have a very good team and NISMO is working hard. One victory in two races, and now we’re leading the championship – it’s amazing.”

Also flying the Nissan flag in the top 10 were Jann Mardenborough and Daiki Sasaki in the No. 12 Calsonic Team Impul machine in sixth and the No. 3 NDDP Racing B-Max Nissan of Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo in tenth.

Mardenborough, for his part, took five positions in his first stint, bringing the car up to seventh before the pit stop. An additional spot gained in the closing stages of the race gave the team their first top 10 of the season.

JP de Oliveira and Mitsunori Takaboshi brought the No. 24 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 home 13th.

Nissan also scored its first GT300 podium of the season with Hiro Yasuda and Katsuyuki Hiranaka taking third place aboard the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

NISMO Calendar

May 12-13
Blancpain GT Series Asia, Chang International Circuit, Thailand 
European Le Mans Series/Le Mans Cup, Monza, Italy

May 19-20
Super GT, Suzuka, Japan
Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, Silverstone, England
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, Victoria, Australia
Pirelli World Challenge, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

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