ZENT CERUMO SC430's Tachikawa sets record for most Pole Positions
Lexus SC430s qualify 1st and 2nd
The qualifying for the OKAYAMA GT 300km RACE, Round 1 of the 2009 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at the Okayama International Circuit (one lap 3.703 km) in Okayama Pref. on March 21. The ZENT CERUMO SC430 driven by Yuji Tachikawa won the pole position (fastest qualifier) in the GT500 class and will start from the front row in the final race on the 22nd.
In the GT500 class Super Lap (run one machine at a time as time trials to determine the starting grid order for the race), Tachikawa in the Lexus SC430, running last as the first session's fastest qualifier, turned in a lap time of 1 min. 24.069 sec. The bettered the times of the seven machines that had run before him and gave his team the pole position. This was Tachikawa's 14th career pole position in GT competition and extends his own record for most pole positions won in the SUPER GT.
Qualifying second in the GT500 class was another Lexus SC430, making this a fine start for the Lexus camp for the 2009 season.
In the GT300 class, the JIMGINER ADVAN F430 driven by Tetsuya Tanaka moved up from 4th position in the morning qualifying to run fastest in the Super Lap with a time of 1 min. 31.860 sec. This gave the Ferrari F430 the pole position.
Pole position winner comments
No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 [GT500]
Yuji Tachikawa: "I was aiming to qualify fastest this time. Last year I wasn't able to win a single pole position, and I was not satisfied with that. In the pre-opener tests the machine had been performing well and I was thinking that I had a good chance to win the pole position from the opening round. Ishiura (No. 35 KRAFT SC430)had run a fast time and there was some pressure because of that, but the machine condition was really good and I was able to get a faster time. The weather may affect tomorrow's race, but since I've won the PP I want to see us run to victory from the front."
Richard Lyons: "This pole position is a good result for our team. It means we will be starting from the front row, which is very important in the race. The plan is for me to start the race as first driver, so I want to get a good start and push hard from there."
No. 11 JIMGAINER ADVAN F430 [GT300]
Tetsuya Tanaka: "This is the first time in some years that I am racing in a new car, and it is the first one that our team has been involved in the design and construction of. It has been a big job for the mechanics as a result, but I think this proves that it was worth it. I want to thank the [team] owner for this too. Before the Super Lap I was just hoping to place in the front row, but after my lap I thought that we could win the pole position. Tomorrow I want to run a good race and build our team's motivation even higher."
Katsuyuki Hiranaka: "This is a good, solid machine, just like the GT500 car, and it performs at a level very close to the GT500 car. Personally, I was racing in the GT500 class last season and in the GT300 class before that, and I want to put that experience to use in tomorrow's race."