On the afternoon of July 28, the official qualifying for the SUGO GT 300km RACE, Round 4 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Sportsland SUGO circuit (lap 3.704km.) in Miyagi prefecture. In the GT500 class, the ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 driven by Daisuke Ito and Kazuya Oshima won pole position. Pole position in the GT300 class pole was taken by the HANKOOK PORSCHE driven by Masami Kageyama and Tomonobu Fujii. The hybrid sports car Honda CR-Z, making its racing debut in competition this time, captured 9th position.
In the qualifying this time, Super Lap rules were used that let drivers put on their individual time attacks. In the first qualifying session for the GT500, 10 of the 15 machines participating won the right to move on to the Super Lap. The ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 (Kazuya Oshima) put up the fastest times. Following him were two GTRs, the CARSONIC IMPAL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda) and MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Michael Krumm).
Super Laps started under the blazing sun on the hottest day of the year so far. In the first qualifying session, lower ranked machines started their time attacks, and as can be imagined the climax came with the last three cars. First off, the CALSONIC IMPAL GT-R (J.P. de Oliveira) put up the top time of 1’15.422. But then, the MOTULAUTECH GT-R (Tetsu Motoyama) bested that with a 1’15.191. And then came the last machine, the ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 driven by Daisuke Ito. Ito put the high-speed running capabilities of the SC430 to good use with brilliant driving, the only driver to break into 14 second territory, taking pole position with 1’14.978.
Although this is Ito’s fifth overall pole position, it’s the first for him in the Lexus SC430 (his last was in 2007 driving a Honda NSX). It’s also the first pole position for his LEXUS TEAM LeMans ENEOS here at SUGO since 2004. Overall, the LEXUS SC430 has taken the pole a total of 12 times, the second this season.
In the GT300 class, the HANKOOK PORSCHE driven by Masami Kageyama took its second consecutive class pole position since the previous race at Sepang (Malaysia).
In Round 4 at SUGO, the Honda hybrid sports car CR-Z made its debut. In the first qualifying session, Daisuke Nakajima got 7th position, moving on to the Super Lap in spite of it being the first attempt. In the Super Lap, Hidenori Muto took 9th position. The Toyota hybrid car Prius, which has been participating since the season opener, took 3rd position in the Super Lap. The first faceoff between Toyota and Honda in the race on the 29th is sure to be one of the highlights of the race.
Pole Position Winner Comments No. 6 ENEOS SUSTINA SC430 [GT500] Daisuke Ito: “The last time I took the pole? When was it? I’ve forgotten (laughs wryly). It’s been that long. It’s my first since moving (to the Lexus team) and to be honest, it makes me very happy. Since right around the previous race at Sepang, the basic potential of the car has improved. Today in the free running the balance didn’t seem to be quite right, but by the time the qualifying came around, it had been expertly put right. We’re going to put everything into our driving in the championship race. If we can do that, the results will come.”
Kazuya Oshima: “In the previous race at Sepang, machine condition was good but we had some trouble in the qualifying… Although we started at the very tail end in the championship race, we moved all the way up to 3rd, still it was hard to take. ‘Next time at SUGO we’ll take the pole and win,’ that feeling brought the whole team together, and we got the machine set up just right as we headed to SUGO. That feeling became reality, and I think it helped us get the pole position. I myself felt comfortable about going into the first qualifying session. I was able to get a long run in the free running, so I’m looking forward to the championship race.”
No. 33 HANKOOK PORSCHE [GT300] Masami Kageyama: “The previous race at Sepang, the full attention we paid to tire management brought about good results, but neither the qualifying nor the more important race were easy. And it was the same this time, I had the confidence to put up a good single performance in the qualifying, but the long laps of the final are difficult. To be perfectly honest, taking the pole makes me happy, but knowing how difficult the championship race will be, this is of course no time to let up, so I’m not going to start to breathe easy. I’m going to gather all my strength as I get ready for the final.
Tomonobu Fujii: “With our previous win, our weight handicap went up this time, and to that degree grip improved…. I drove the first qualifying, and at the time thought we’d get a better position than we initially imagined, but I never would have thought about getting the pole. Of course we’re going for a win in the final. But even if we can’t get the win, I want to get as many points as possible when thinking about this race in the series. That’s the race I’m going to run.”
Source: Super GT