Weider HSV-010 Is Top Qualifier
Solid Start toward Championship Title in GT Debut Year!
The qualifying for the MOTEGI GT 250km RACE, Round 8 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, took place under fair skies at the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit (lap 4.801 km) in Tochigi Pref. on Oct. 23. In this qualifying, the Weider HSV-010 driven by Takashi Kogure and Loic Duval won the GT500 class pole position and will start from the front row in the title-deciding final race on the 24th.
Most SUPER GT qualifying is run in a Super Lap format with one machine running at a time. However, the qualifying this 8th round adopted a "knock out" format. In this format the three timed trail sessions are run and the slowest qualifiers in each of the first two sessions are "knocked out" of the chance to run in the final session where the top grid positions are decided.
In today's qualifying the Weider HSV-010 team and the ENEOS SC430 team ran a close-contested battle for fastest lap time in each of the sessions. In the third session the Weider HSV-010 team's Takashi Kogure ran a course record of 1 min. 43.583 sec. Driving the ENEOS SC430, Daisuke Ito also made a valiant effort in the final session but ended up just 0.057 sec. short. This result gave the Weider HSV-010 team their third pole position of the season.
These two machines happen to be locked in a fierce battle for the season title with Weider HSV-010 presently standing in 1st place in the point ranking with the ENEOS SC430 team just one point behind in second place as they go into the final race of the season tomorrow. What's more, the 3rd ranked KEIHIN HSV-010 team with drivers Toshihiro Kaneishi and Koudai Tsukakoshi qualified 3rd today and the 4th ranked PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 team with drivers Juichi Wakisaka and Andre Lotterer qualified 5th, while the 5th ranked CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R with drivers Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli qualified 4thin today's sessions. With all of these title contenders sitting in the top grid places, tomorrow's final race promises to be a fierce do-or-die run for the title.
In the GT300 class qualifying, the TOMICA Z drivers Kazuki Hoshino and Masataka Yanagida qualified fastest in class. In the GT300 competition as well, the top title contenders are in the lead positions on the class grid and will be battling for season points in a situation where each position carries big consequences for the title race, ensuring hot competition all the way to the finish.
+ Pole position winner comments
No. 18 Weider HSV-010 [GT500]
Takashi Kogure: "In all of my GT racing so far, I was never as tense as I was out there today. The season title is at stake, and car No. 6 (ENEOS SC430) was very fast. I am very glad to have gotten this pole position. The machine was fast right from the first morning session and we got good times when Duval-san was running on a new set of tires, so I felt we had good potential today. But the other machines were also steadily getting faster [as the sessions progressed] and it was a situation where it wouldn't be surprising if any number of the machines out there got the pole position. Although it was by a small margin, I am seriously relieved to have won the pole. I feel that we can be set for a very good race tomorrow."
Loic Duval: "The car was in very good condition from the morning practice. My biggest job today was to get us through the 2nd knock-out session and turn the machine over to Kogure-san for the final session. And I was able to do that. After that it was a matter of getting as much data as possible for the car's settings so we could give it to Kogure-san in good condition. That part of the job also went very well. The team has worked very hard and Kogure-san drove extremely well. And, most of all, it is great that we are going to be starting the race out in front of car No. 6 in the race for the title."
No. 3 TOMICA Z [GT300]
Kazuki Hoshino: "The car was only in fair condition in the morning practicing and I honestly thought the best we would be able to do was to qualify in the top five. But everyone on the team worked hard on setting up the car and it got better and better. In the last session Yanagida-san was driving with a divine touch. I thought I was going to cry as I watched him running the last sections [of his time attack]. That is what a fantastic lap it was. We have gotten off to the best start possible. We will have to win tomorrow's race in order to have a chance to win the title, so I won't be thinking about what the other cars are doing out there. I will just be driving hard toward the win without looking at the rear-mirror."
Masataka Yanagida: "I am just very happy to have gotten the pole position. To tell the truth, however, I never expected to get it. The Fairlady Z is not well suited to a course like Motegi. So, I still can't believe I got the pole. The performance of the car and the tires were both very good. Everything went well and that is why we were able to win this pole. We weren't planning to take part in the October test at Motegi but Manager Hasemi managed to get the necessary funds together so we could join the test and work on the tires and settings. This is a pole that the whole team has won together. The race tomorrow is sure to be a tough one, so we are all going to work hard and hopefully be smiling when it's all over."