First pole position for the HSV-010 this season.
The qualifying for the SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES MALAYSIA race, Round 3 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Sepang International Circuit (lap = 5.543 km) in Malaysia on June 9th. In the GT500 class the Weider HSV-010 with drivers Takashi Kogure and Carlo Van Dam won pole position (fastest qualifier) and the right to start from the front position on the first row in the race on the 10th.
The qualifying this time was run in a Super Lap format. First, the field is narrowed down to the top ten in each class by lap times in the first qualifying session and these teams then move on to the second session, the Super Lap. In the Super Lap, the cars run time trials one machine at a time to determined pole position and the order of the top ten places on the starting grid for the race. In this format, each team must use different drivers of the first session and the Super Lap, so the qualifying becomes a test of the overall strength of the team. The grip positions below 10th place are decided by the finishing order from the first session.
In the first qualifying session, the ZENT CERUMO SC430 driven by Kohei Hirate recorded the fastest lap in the GT500 class at 1’56.594. As for the Weider HSV-010 that won a pole-to-win victory in last year’s Sepang race, it barely managed to qualify for the Super Lap with the 9th-place time (Carlo Van Dam). The Super Lap is run in reverse order from the order of finish in the first session, beginning with the 10th-place car. As the second runner, Takashi Kogure in the Weider HSV-010 surprised everyone with his speed in recording a 1’55. 321 lap time. After this, the NISSAN GT-Rs, LEXUS SC430s and other Honda HSV-010 GTs ran their timed laps in order, but none could better the time of Kogure in the Weider machine. As the final runner, Yuji Tachikawa in the ZENT CERUMO SC430 has able to hold a faster pace than Kogure had in the early sections of the course. But, he eventually finished his lap with a time of１’55.503. This gave Kogure and also the Honda HSV-010 GT their first pole position of the season.
For Kogure, it is his first pole since last year’s Sepang race and the 12th of his GT career. For the Honda HSV-010 GT, it is its first pole of the season and the eighth since the car’s debut.
In the GT300 class, the HANKOOK PORSCHE driven by Masami Kageyama recorded a time of 2’04.262 to set a new GT300 class course record in winning the class pole. For Kageyama, it is his fifth career pole and for the Porsche it is the first pole ever at Sepang.
Pole Position Winner Comments
No. 18 Weider HSV-010 [GT500]
Takashi Kogure: “I want to thank our chief engineer Kotaro Tanaka and the people at Honda for preparing the best possible car for us, and also thank Manager Nakamura and everyone on the team. During the morning’s free practice we were unable to find good timing to run a fast lap time, but the machine had felt good from the beginning. After my run in the Super Lap I was watching the other team’s runs in the second half as the track condition was getting better, and I was thinking that it would be good if we could finish in around third place. With just two machines left to run and now assured of at least 3rd place, I was still sweating it as I watched them run (wry laugh). But I’m really happy that we finally got the pole position.”
No.33 HANKOOK PORSCHE [GT300]
Masami Kageyama: “This time that we got may look fast, but you have to consider the fact that this is the third race of the season and the other fast teams are running with handicap weights, while we didn’t score any points in the last round [and therefore no handicap]. The team has come back to work hard and set up the machine well for us. Fujii-san drove for us in Q1 and we were able to try different settings then and further improve the settings for the Super Lap based on those results. Considering that, this pole win is certainly due to the overall strength of the team. We will be starting from the best position in tomorrow’s race, so we want to go for the win.”