Autopolis: Series qualifying report

ZENT CERUMO SC430 wins second Pole Position of the Season On Oct. 17, the qualifying for the SUPER GT IN KYUSHU 300KM, Round 8 of the 2009 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the AUTOPOLIS (lap = 4.674 km) in Oita Pref. In this ...

ZENT CERUMO SC430 wins second Pole Position of the Season

On Oct. 17, the qualifying for the SUPER GT IN KYUSHU 300KM, Round 8 of the 2009 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the AUTOPOLIS (lap = 4.674 km) in Oita Pref. In this qualifying, the ZENT CERUMO SC430 (drivers: Yuji Tachikawa / Richard Lyons) won the GT500 class pole position and will start from the front row in the race on the 18th.

In the first qualifying session, it was Daisuke Ito in the ENEOS SC430 that recorded the fastest time, at 1 min. 41.727 sec. Yuji Tachikawa in the ZENT CERUMO SC430 was the second fastest, giving the SC430 camp the top two places. In the past, it was the Nissan GT-R and the Honda NSX that have been fastest at Autopolis, so this result overturned the pre-qualifying predictions.

In the Super Lap competed by the top eight qualifiers from the first session, Tachikawa was the seventh to make his run. Here he bettered his time from the first session with a lap of 1 min. 41.609 sec. to move ahead of the previous six runners. As the final runner in the Super Lap, Ito was unable to beat this time and the pole position went to the ZENT CERUMO SC430.

For the Lexus SC430 and Tachikawa this was their second pole position of the season, following the one at the opening round. For Tachikawa, this was his fourth career pole at Autopolis. It also marks his 15th career pole in the GT, which extends his own record for most PPs by a single driver.

In the GT300 class, Shinichi Takagi drove the ARTA GARAIYA to his second class pole of the season.

Spectators: 14,300

Pole position winner comments

No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 [GT500]

Yuji Tachikawa: "This is our first pole position in a while, since the opening round. Things were going well for us in the early stages of the season, but the middle stages were rough. Before arriving here we discovered what had been going wrong and found measures to fix it. In the morning the machine wasn't really in good condition yet, but the team worked on it more and got things right in time for the qualifying. That is why we were able to win pole position. Our position now in the title race is a tough one (ranking point gap), so we are thinking only about winning here at Autopolis. That makes this pole position especially important."

Richard Lyons: "During the morning practice the car still wasn't in good condition. But the team, Tachikawa-san and the engineer, Kato-san, kept working hard and finally got a good set-up. This pole will be a big advantage in tomorrow's race. To stay in contention for the season title, we can't afford to finish 2nd or 3rd here. Winning is the only way to keep our chances alive. We intend to win."

No.43 ARTA Garaiya [GT300]

Shinichi Takagi: "I am very happy. I'm not one to get nervous usually, but in this qualifying I certainly did. There are just two races left in the series and thinking about the series title and the next round, we knew we had to finish among the top teams in this qualifying. In the morning's free practice Nitta-san ran the fastest time and then was fastest again in the first qualifying session. After that I felt a lot of pressure to win the pole position and not let everyone down. In the race we will now be starting from the very front, which opens up a lot of strategic possibilities for us. I want to see the whole team work as one to get us on the podium tomorrow, or at least in front of our title race rivals."

Morio Nitta: "We were working on the settings from the morning and we, as well as our rivals, were having trouble with under-steering. With the final Super Lap in mind, we set the machine up to have a slight over-steering tendency for the third sector of the course. As I watched Shinichi's driving in the Super Lap, it looked like the machine was turning well, so the setting must have worked as planned. Since we have the pole position now, everyone around us has big expectations. But I'm not optimistic. We still don't have a good match with the track surface. In the little time left before the race, we want to continue to work on the setting so we won't crash and no-point in the race and are able to finish in front of our rivals."

-credit: supergt

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