CARBONE DEMONSTRATES PODIUM PACE AT AUTOPOLIS
Nakajima Racing driver Fabio Carbone was deprived of a likely podium finish at Autopolis, round eight of the Japanese Super GT Championship, by a yellow flag penalty. Autopolis is well-known as a challenging and varied circuit, containing a wide range of speeds and corners. This puts the emphasis firmly on finding a flexible set-up, which is capable of dealing with the many different demands placed on the car during a lap.
In free practice, the Brazilian and his French team mate Loic Duval struggled to find the most appropriate settings for their Honda NSX, and ended up setting seventh-fastest time.
They made some adjustments to improve the rear-end grip for qualifying, and while their set-up problems persisted, they still managed ninth -- which was enough to go through to the super pole shoot-out. An excellent performance saw them eventually line up fourth on the grid, despite carrying 15 kilograms of ballast.
After a good start, the car was up to third when Fabio took it over halfway through the race. The pit stop cost one place, but the 27 year-old felt confident of being able to challenge for the podium again. Unfortunately he did not get the chance, as he was hit with a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellow flags. This dropped the Nakajima crew down to ninth overall, where they finished.
Fabio said: "It's very disappointing because we had the pace to finish on the podium, but things like this are part of racing and you have to accept them. The yellow flag infringement was my fault but it was not intentional: I overtook another car after the scene of an accident but before the green flag post and I am sorry for that. Now we need to concentrate on having a strong finish to the year at the final round of the championship. I know that our car is good enough to be amongst the frontrunners."
Round nine -- the final round of the Japanese Super GT Championship -- takes place at Fuji on November 4. Before then, Fabio will race in the penultimate round of the Formula Nippon Championship at Motegi with Dandelion Racing this weekend.