The 2011 series champions return to winning form!
In the GT300 class, CR-Z wins the first PP for a hybrid car
The qualifying for the International Pokka 1000km race, Round 5 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series, was held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.807 km) in Mie Pref. on August 18. In this qualifying, the S Road MOLA GT-R driven by Masataka Yanagida and Ronnie Quintarelli won the GT500 class pole position (1st qualifier). In the GT300 class, the Mugen CR-Z Gt became the first hybrid car to win a SUPER GT pole position.
The qualifying for this round was held in a “knock-out” format. In this system the qualifying is run in three sessions (Q1, Q2, Q3). In the first two of these sessions the teams unable to qualify above the cut-off point are “knocked out” of the competition and not able to move on to the next session. Then the race grid order for the top places is decided by the time trial performances of the teams remaining in the final session.
On this day, the skies over the Suzuka area were fair and the qualifying was run in the mid-summer heat. In the GT500 class Q1 session, the PETRONAS TOM’S SC430 recorded the fastest time with a 1’52. 557. Meanwhile, last year’s winning car, the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli), finished Q1 in 3rd position. In Q2, Masataka Yanagida drove the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R to the session’s fastest time of 1’52.802. For other top contenders this Q2 session turned out to be a high hurdle to clear, with the winner of this year’s round 3 and last year’s victor here at Suzuka, the Weider HSV-010, and the current series ranking leader, the ZENT CERUMO SC430, both failing to advance to Q3. In the final session (Q3), the seven remaining qualifiers had ten minutes to compete for pole position. Here again, last year’s GT500 champions proved fastest, as Quintarelli drove the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R with consummate skill, despite the slippery conditions owing to the high track surface temperature, to record the fastest time of all three sessions at 1’51.554. This time remained unbeaten till the end of the session and gave the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R and the Nissan GT-R their first pole position of the season. For Quintarelli, it is his fourth PP in SUPER GT competition.
In the GT300 class, the triple a vantage GT3 recorded the fastest times in the Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions only to have its times disqualified when a violation was found in the fuel tank capacity in the post-qualifying inspection. Due to this disqualification, the Mugen CR-Z GT (Hideki Mutoh / Daisuke Nakajima) that finished Q3 in 2nd place with a course record time of 2’2.130 was moved up to become the first hybrid car to win a pole position in SUPER GT competition. The best qualifying finish by a hybrid car to date was the apr HASEPRO PRIUS GT team’s 3rd place in the previous round.
Pole position winner comments
No.1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R [GT500]
Ronnie Quintarelli: “The feeling of the car and the feeling of the tires were both the best they have been this season. We had cleared Q1 and Q2 well and I was able to make a perfect run in Q3. The Nissan development staff had been preparing some updated parts for the last round at SUGO, and in the official tests the other day at Suzuka, we verified that the car itself was performing much better. It made me feel that we are at the start of a whole new season. Since we chose the qualifying round tires with the race in mind, I am confident that we can win in tomorrow’s race.”
Source: SUPER GT