Recovery race for Caldarelli on Round 2 at Fuji

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The ambitious Italian driver Andrea Calderelli went storming out strong towards the course, showing off the true “forza” of LEXUS machines.

During the weekend of April 28th – 29th, which falls upon the “Golden Week” (a series of on-and-off holidays in a week) Round 2 of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Series, the “FUJI GT500Km RACE” took place at Fuji Speedway (in Shizuoka Prefecture). (Spectators: 31,600 on the Qualifying Day, 48,500 for the Race).

Blue skies spread over the region from early in the day, and the two hours of Official Practice began from 9:00. All the teams and drivers tried different agenda tuned to the official qualifying sessions of later in the day, also focused on the next day’s race of course.

Andrea Caldarelli
Andrea Caldarelli

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Where 15 cars of the GT500 class, and 26 of the GT300 class took part in the practice heats, Andrea Caldarelli/Daisuke Ito of LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S positioned 5th (1’32.497). At 14:15, under brisk weather and pleasant auspices, the Official Qualifying - Q1 by only the GT500 class began but Andrea Caldarelli on KeePer TOM’S SC430 headed onto the Q1, but when the tyres were warming up and on the 3rd lap just about getting ready to make some real time-attacking attempts, white smoke rose up from the machine and Andrea had to stall the machine on the in-side of the last turn.

Subsequently, the session had to be red-flagged and also because any car which is determined to have caused the red flag loses the right to participate further in other sessions. As the regulations also require that the time recorded by such machine lose effect, thus KeePer TOM’S SC430 was demanded to start the next day’s race from the very back row of the GT500 class starting grid.

Though having to start from the very back grid, Andrea’s teammate Daisuke Ito on LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S, kicking off from the rolling start jumped up to P13 on the opening lap! Through some fierce battling that fired up from the beginning of the race, Ito with skillful driving climbed some more positions up and by the 12th lap was in P7.

Then, on the 20th lap, No. 37 gained another notch up to 6th since car 23 running ahead had to retire, and furthermore up to 5th, as passing another machine which went to pit in. By the time car was handed to Andrea Caldarelli, and which by then 36 laps had been driven, the ambitious Italian driver went storming out strong towards the course, showing off the true “forza” of LEXUS machines.

In fact, by this time of the race, LEXUS machines were actually dominating the up-field – all of the top 5 positions! From the midway through, the race development became unvaried and still.

Andrea behind the wheels of No. 37 chalked up steady laps as defending P5. Then eventually, as finishing the 73rd lap, KeePer TOM’S SC430 was in the control of Daisuke Ito again and who was to drive the car to chequer.

Only however, getting slightly behind in terms of the pit-stopping time, the Japanese driver had to yield to NISSAN GT-R no. 12, and rejoined the field in P6. Chasing hard and constantly from the 97th lap and onward, with also brave tail-to-nose actions fought with two other cars but not being able to improve the position much more, the team finished in P6 (with 3 points gained).

Andrea Caldarelli: “With the feeling we had from Sunday, a P5 finish seemed quite possible for us but the temperatures did not rise as much as we had expected, and thus we finished in P6. But starting from the 15th grid and to score 6 points is a satisfying result.

Also Monday, with the victory of car no. 36 of the same LEXUS force, I think all together we were able to exhibit the strength of the LEXUS, so we can say this was a very good race. In our next race in Sepang, let’s be sure that it will be us who will win the race, and towards that goal, we will continue to work hard!”.

Andrea Caldarelli

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About this article
Series SUPERGT
Article type Race report
Tags calderelli, fuji, ito, lexus team, supergt