Lyons drives ZENT CERUMO to Race 1 pole position in GT500 class Race 2 PP goes to CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda ARTA Garaiya takes GT300 class for both races

The qualifying for the first JAF Grand Prix to be held in 20 years was run on Nov. 12 at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563 km) in Shizuoka Pref. For the first time in the history of Japanese motor sport, this race event will see the competitors of the production car race series, the SUPER GT, competing on the same day and the same track as the top domestic formula class, Formula NIPPON.

Normally, the races of the SUPER GT series are run with the two drivers of each team driving one stint each in the same race, but for this competition the two drivers will each drive a full race separately on one of the two days of racing on November 13th and 14th. The team competition will then be decided on the basis of the cumulative points for the two drivers. For this reason, qualifying sessions were also run separately for the Race 1 and Race 2 drivers.

In the GT500 class qualifying for Race 1 (on the 13th), Richard Lyons drove the ZENT CERUMO SC430 to a time of 1 min. 33.475 sec. to claim the pole position on Toyota's home track, Fuji Speedway.

In the qualifying for Race 2 (on the 14th), Tsugio Matsuda drove the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R to a time of 1 min. 33.569 sec. in the closing minutes to take pole position. After that, Daisuke Ito in the ENEOS SC430 tried to give Toyota a pole sweep but fell short by a mere 0.136 sec. to take 2nd position on the grid. This gave pole position for Race 2 to the Nissan GT- R.

In the GT300 class Race 1 qualifying Shinichi Takagi ran the fastest time in the ARTA Garaiya. The qualifying for Race 2 saw the lead change hands repeatedly before finally being claimed by Morio Nitta in the same ARTA Garaiya. As a result the ARTA Garaiya will be the pole starter for both GT300 races.

Pole Position winner comments

Race 1
No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 [GT500]
Richard Lyons: "It's fantastic that I was able to win pole position! I'm very happy. As you know, it was a tough season for both the team and for me. That is why I am just happy to have been able to get this result. If you ask me about tomorrow's start, it has honestly been a long time since I did a standing start (laughs). But the situation is the same for all of us, so I'm not worried about it."

No. 43 ARTA Garaiya [GT300]
Shinichi Takagi: "Fuji has always been a good track for the Garaiya. It was a clear day, the temperature got up high enough and our Michelin tires fit the conditions well. And, since we aren't carrying any handicap weights in this competition, it was a great feeling out there, like never before. So, I was able to drive well. I made me appreciate what a burden the weights are (laughs). The standing start will be my first since I had pole position in the Porsche Carrera Cup race in 2008."

Race 2
Tsugio Matsuda: "It is great that we were able to qualify fastest here at Fuji where the SC430 has the image of being very fast. I didn't expect to get such a fast time. The tires warmed up faster than I expected and I was able to get some advice from Ronnie (Quintarelli) who ran before me, so I was able to run well. This is a pole position that was won by the whole team. I want to keep this momentum going in the race on Sunday.

No. 43 ARTA Garaiya [GT300]
Morio Nitta: "If that guy (Shinichi Takagi) could win pole position for his race, there was no way I could not win it for my race! By the time I was making my time attack, the sun had gone behind the clouds and the track temperature had dropped, which made it tough for the tires. I was shouting into the radio that things weren't going well. It will be my first standing start in a long time and I don't know how it will go with these heavy SUPER GT machines. But I will be looking forward to that too and I hope to run a good race."

-source: supergt