Treluyer misses out on the honours!
In spite of the joint efforts of Benoît Treluyer and his team-mate Satoshi Motoyama, team Motul-Autech wasn't able to retain its Super GT 500 title last weekend. In the final round at Motegi, they ended up falling to their opponents, literally under a barrage of blows, finishing fourth and third respectively in the championship.
"We started the F1-style qualifying session having to change driver each time," said Treluyer. "Satoshi took part in Q1 on hard tyres and then I competed in Q2 on soft tyres before handing the car back to him for Q3. Unfortunately he was a bit surprised by the grip level of the softer tyres and could only set the fifth best time."
For the Motul-Autech drivers, things were made worse by the fact that their closest rivals, the #36 Lexus of Wakisaka and Lotterer set the second best time, while its sister cars of #6 Ito and Wirdheim and #38 of Tachikawa and Lyons, were third and fourth.
"For Lexus the objective was clear," said Benoît, "to prevent us at all cost from finishing in third place, which would have been enough to give Motoyama the drivers' title and for Nissan to retain the constructors' title. Before the race even started we knew that Tachikawa and Lyons were going to block us and allow the #36 and #6 cars to escape. What we didn't know is that the #38 car would do it in such an aggressive manner. After repeated contact, I ended up with a puncture during the last lap of my stint. At that moment we lost everything."
Ordinarily such contact during the race would draw the attention of the race stewards, but not this time, as they decided the actions of the #38 car could be classed as 'racing incidents'.
"We expected to be blocked, but that it would be a good battle, however this was ridiculous," said an angry Benoît. "After my puncture I tried to get back to the pits as soon as possible and slightly damaged the bodywork. At the end we crossed the line in 25th place. That means Satoshi finishes in third place in the championship and I end up in fourth."
So Treluyer's 2009 season has now come to an end, and next year he will try to bring the crown back to the Nissan's camp. The long winter break will see Benoît splitting his time between Japan, where he will take part in off-season testing, and France, where he will look for a drive in the Le Mans Series.
"The 2010 LMS calendar fits in well with that of Super GT in Japan, and I have some good contacts with several top teams," said Benoît. In Japan, I am very happy to be with Nissan and they are very happy to have me, so we will go for another campaign and try to regain the title next season. As well as that there will also be the Le Mans 24 Hours."
Before all this, there will be some time off in France and a return to Benoît's roots, riding his motorbikes on the country lanes between Lyon and the village of Gordes where he lives in the Ardèche region.
It means that, even during the winter, our friend "Benoit-poy" -- a cartoon which can be found on www.benoittreluyer.com -- will still be around to chronicle his new adventures for fans in Japan and beyond. "Benoit-poy," Treluyer smiles, "will remain my biggest success of my season!" In 2010, there is now doubt that his biggest successes will once again be on the track...