REAL NSX Qualifies Fastest in Season's Final Round!
The qualifying for the FUJI GT 300km RACE, Round 9 of the 2008 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563 km) in Shizuoka Pref. on Nov. 8. In this qualifying the REAL NSX driven Katsutomo Kaneishi and Toshihiro Kaneishi won the pole position and will start from the front row in the final race on the 9th.
The morning qualifying session had to be run in the rain. Under those conditions, manager Masahito Kondo's WOODONE ADVAN Clarion GT-R driven by Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira recorded the fastest time.
By the afternoon, the rain had become a drizzle but the track was still wet. That was the condition that the Super Lap (timed laps run one machine at a time by the top ten qualifiers from the morning session) was held under, and the very first runner, Toshihiro Kaneishi in the REAL NSX. Who had qualified 10th in the morning session, ran a very fast lap of 1 min. 42.661 sec. The following nine runners, including the morning's fastest qualifier, De Oliveira, were unable to beat Kaneishi's time. This result gave not only Kaneishi but also his team their first pole position in SUPER GT competition.
Being the final race of the season a lot of the attention this time is focused on who will win the year's series title. The present leaders n the drivers' series ranking, the XANAVI NISMO GT-R pair of Motoyama and Treluyer finished today's qualifying in 9th position. In tomorrow's race, they will clinch the title if they can finish in the top five. Meanwhile, their rivals who have a shot at the title by winning or finishing 2nd are all sitting in 7th position or lower for tomorrow's race. This means that the Motoyama/Treluyer pair have the advantage going in the title race after today's results.
In the GT300 class, the CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA driven by Carlo Van Dam was top qualifier. This was Van Dam's first and the team's third pole position this season.
Pole position winner comments
No. 17 REAL NSX [GT500]
Toshihiro Kaneishi: "The engineers told me that I should try pushing hard from the first lap in order to warm up the tires, and as a result I had that spin-out on my first lap (grimacing laugh). That's why I was very much under control during my fast lap, perhaps too much, because I was very slow through the Coca Cola Corner (laughs). But it all turned out for the best, as I was able to get the pole position, which I am very pleased with. As I watched the other teams run there Super Laps after that, my heart was racing the whole time. Tomorrow I am going to do my best to get the win for us."
Katsutomo Kaneishi: "I'm very happy with this. It is our team's first pole position and it is my cousin who has won it. I was having difficulties in Friday's practice and this morning the rear end was slipping so easily that we just barely qualified 10th. So everyone on the team put their heads together and came up with some solutions to make the machines a lot better for the afternoon Super Lap. I believe that is the reason for this great result. This is the team's second year and I think we feel now that all the work that has been done to get this team together has finally paid off. I really want to see us win tomorrow."
No. 77 CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA [GT300]
Carlo Van Dam: "This feels the greatest. Because actually this is only my second GT race and won pole position. I am grateful to the team for having the faith in me to run the Super Lap. The car and the tires were both good. Considering today's difficult conditions, I think the drivers did well too. Before for the last race I was hardly able to get in any prior driving time, so I wasn't acclimated enough to the machine. But I have confidence for the race this time."
Tetsuya Yamano: "It is very rare for one team to win three pole positions in a season in the SUPER GT. What's more, we have done it in both wet and dry conditions and with a different driver each time! I'd like to hear our team manager admit what good drivers the team has hired (laughs). If tomorrow is dry, our rivals are sure to be fast, too, so it won't be an easy race. But we've been having consistently good lap times, so if we do well with our tire management we should finish among the leaders."