The No.2 Nissan Skyline, which Michael qualified in second position was later excluded from qualifying and all the car's times were cancelled. Michael and Ukyo had to take the start from twentieth position at the back of the GT 500 class ...
The No.2 Nissan Skyline, which Michael qualified in second position was later excluded from qualifying and all the car's times were cancelled. Michael and Ukyo had to take the start from twentieth position at the back of the GT 500 class grid.
In post-qualifying inspection it was found that the car had a fuel capacity of 103 litres, instead of the required 100 litres specified in the regulations. The team had fitted a new bag tank to the Skyline and had tested the capacity, which they calculated to be 99 litres.
The cause of the change is believed to be that during testing on Friday, the tank was filled to capacity twice , and the new bag had expanded, allowing the extra few litres of capacity.
Although Michael gained absolutely no performance advantage from this in qualifying, where you run with the least fuel possible, it was a breach of the regulations and the team lost all his times from both of the qualifying sessions.
"The car was really good today and we secured a good position on the grid, this is very unfortunate. But rules are rules, so we will start from the back and I will push very hard to get to the front in the race tomorrow" Michael commented Saturday night.
From his lowly starting position, Michael drove a superb race to get the No.2 Nissan Skyline into fourth position before handing the car over to teammate Ukyo Katayama. During the hand over in the pits, they dropped to sixth position on the road where Ukyo would bring the car home.
Michael overtook five cars off the start, which was not one of his best, and completed the first lap in fifteenth position. He then set about picking of the opposition until he reached fourth place in the race.
Although he enjoyed several good dices during the early part of the race Michael charged to the front very quickly and without incident. He pushed very hard and started to suffer with an over-steering car as the rear tyres went off.
Once in the top ten several of the cars he overtook immediately dived into the pits to swap drivers and fit fresh tyres, the team elected for Michael to stay out as long as possible and, with very used rear tyres, push as hard as he could.
The pit stop and hand over to Ukyo went smoothly, but the No. 2 Skyline lost two positions on the track to finish, on the road, in sixth position.
Michael and Ukyo were later promoted to fourth position as two competitors that finished in front of them were found to have technical irregularities, believed to be related to the air restrictors.
Michael said " Today was actually really good fun, I had a great session in the car and was passing people all over the place. The car handled really well and even when the tyres were going off I could still set competitive times. Ukyo bought the car home in good shape and was also right on the pace. Then we hear that we have been promoted to fourth, so I guess we have had a little pay back for our starting position."