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NISSAN GT-R takes 4th win of the season from 6 races


SUPER GT 2008 Round 6 Race Report –

In the long-established midsummer’s endurance race, Round 6 of SUPER GT the “International POKKA 1000km” event took place on August 24th at Suzuka Circuit (1 lap: 5.807km). Starting from fourth on the grid, the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (#12 Tsugio Matsuda/Sebastien Philippe) withstood the severe long-distance and about six hours’ racing to take the win. The NISSAN GT-R has now taken a total of four victories from six races in this season’s SUPER GT.

Setting the 2ND-quickest time in qualifying, the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#22 Michael Krumm/Masataka Yanagida/Dominik Schwager) inherited pole position when the #100 NSX had to start from the back, ahead of the 173-lap, 1,000-kilometre event. From the opening lap, veteran driver Michael Krumm led beautifully, handing over to Yanagida from the front as scheduled. Though he temporarily lost the lead due to being blocked by a GT300 car ahead, the team’s deft pit work ensured they soon returned to the head of the field. Krumm and Yanagida alternated driving duties, safeguarding their position until the halfway point of the race. On lap 118, third driver Dominik Schwager got behind the wheel. Soon after, the rear cowl suddenly started to come off the car, making for a very delicate situation. An unscheduled visit to the pits meant that regrettably, the machine fell out of contention for the win. However, the team fought relentlessly to the very end, and with Michael Krumm driving the final stint, reached fourth place at the flag.

Meanwhile, having started from fourth on the grid, the #12 GT-R experienced difficulty with the rear hub in the opening stages of the race, forcing an out-of-sequence pit stop on lap 25. Driver Matsuda went back out on track, returning to hand over to Philippe on lap 62 after having piloted the car since the start of the event. From that point on, the car continued to steadily bring down to the gap to its rivals in front. By lap 87, it was up to 2nd place. As the laps continued, the car strengthened its position in 2nd as Matsuda shortened the gap to the #100 NSX in front. At the car’s final stop on lap 138, Philippe once again took the wheel as the margin to the rival in the lead was reversed. Philippe never gave an inch, rising from 2nd place to the lead position with a calculated drive in front of 37,000 fans, to end his run on the centre step of the podium.

With successive victories in the first two opening rounds of the season, the resulting heavy weight handicap meant that the XANAVI NISMO GT-R (#23 Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer/Fabio Carbone) was never going to be able to set a fast lap in qualifying. Despite this, starting driver Benoit Treluyer drove expertly in the opening stages, passing one rival after another to elevate the car from its initial position of seventh. By the middle stages, it was running in third position and fighting for 2nd. The stands holding the masses of NISSAN supporters boiled over with excitement as the machine rose in position. The car maintained the same pace until the end, Motoyama and Treluyer alternating driving duties as they headed for the finish line. However, due to the fuel system trouble, the team was forced to lower the car’s pace for the final stage of the race, resulting in an eighth-place finish. Motoyama commented: “The end result is really regrettable. After a long time, we were finally able to once again fight for a meaningful position. On the upside, we collected points, and the next rounds at Motegi and Autopolis should suit the car well. I want to fight at the front again, and aim at becoming series’ champion!”

The YellowHat YMS TOMICA GT-R (#3 Ronnie Quintarelli/Naoki Yokomizo) scored their best result of the season with 5th place, while the WOODONE ADVAN Clarion GT-R (#24 Joao Paolo de Oliveira/Seiji Ara) took seventh, meaning all of the GT-R entries ended the event in points-scoring positions.

#12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driver Tsugio Matsuda’s comment:
“With the trouble we faced at the start, I thought we had no chance. I can tell you those 62 laps I drove were hard. I pushed with all my might, and the team responded with excellent work in the pits. In addition, of course Seb (Philippe) also fought very hard. To do so well in front of so many people is superb. This win is absolutely fantastic!”

NISMO Team Director Yoshitaka Iijima’s comment:
“Our strategy was to go for the win with five pit stops. However, the cowl lock coming off was something we couldn’t have imagined. Because of that trouble, we couldn’t achieve our aim. That was our best chance of taking a win, so the result is deeply disappointing. However, Michael (Krumm) put on a gallant fight right to the very end, and showed the speed that has returned to the #23 car. Therefore, I don’t think that the race was bad overall. We will still have the three races, and aim the championship of this year.”


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