Sugo: Series race report

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In a dead heat with a 0.025 sec. margin of victory, KEIHIN HSV-010 scores dramatic come-from-behind win! The "SUGO GT 300KM RACE," Round 5 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at Sportsland SUGO (one lap: 3.704 km x 81 laps) in...

In a dead heat with a 0.025 sec. margin of victory, KEIHIN HSV-010 scores dramatic come-from-behind win!

The "SUGO GT 300KM RACE," Round 5 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at Sportsland SUGO (one lap: 3.704 km x 81 laps) in Miyagi Prefecture on July 25. In the GT500 class, the victory went to the KEIHIN HSV-010 driven by Toshihiro Kaneishi and Koudai Tsukakoshi. In the closest finish in SUPER GT history, the KEIHIN car beat out the Weider HSV-010 at the wire by just 25 thousandths of a second.

The race began with the pole-sitting MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Benoit Treluyer) getting a good start. Treluyer continued to open up a gap over the rest of the field that grew to more than 15 seconds at one point. Taking the driver's seat for the second half of the race, Satoshi Motoyama continued to hold a lead of between six and ten seconds. It looked as if the Nissan GT-R was on the way to victory. Then with just eight laps remaining in the race, Motoyama's GT-R developed an electrical problem that brought it to a stop suddenly at the last corner.

With Motoyama now out of the race, the battle for the win was now between two Honda HSV-010 GT cars, with Takashi Kogure driving the Weider HSV-010 and Koudai Tsukakoshi in the KEIHIN HSV-010. It developed into a side-by- side dogfight between the Honda ace, Kogure, and Honda's rising new hope, Tsukakoshi. That battle came right down to the last corner of the last lap, where Tsukakoshi brought his KEIHIN HSV-010 even with Kogure from the outside and then nosed ahead just at the finish line. The clock at the finish showed just 0.025 seconds of difference between the two machines, making it the closest come-from-behind win in SUPER GT history.

For both Toshihiro Kaneishi and Koudai Tsukakoshi, this was their first SUPER GT victory. For the Honda HSV-010 GT, this is the second win of its debut season, following round two.

In the GT300 class, the Apple.K-ONE.Shiden driven by Hiroki Katoh and Hiroshi Hamaguchi started from pole position and never gave up the lead on its ay to victory. This is the fourth GT300 victory for the Shiden team and Katoh. For rookie Hamaguchi, now in his debut season, this was his first victory.

(Spectators: 27,000)

+ Winner Comments

No. 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 [GT500]

Toshihiro Kaneishi: "I still can't believe that we really won (laughs). When tomorrow comes and I start getting emails of congratulations, I think it will finally start to sink in. From the start, the car felt good and the choice of tires felt perfect, so I decided to start working up steadily through the field. But the cars in front of me were going so slow that I decided to make out routine pit stop earlier than usual. In yesterday's qualifying, Koudai (Tsukakoshi) had a hard time getting things together and only managed to qualify 10th, but since the condition of the machine itself was so good, I thought he would do well in the race. With about ten laps left in the race, I couldn't bare to watch the race in the pit [where everyone was], so I went to the trailer and prayed for the best as I watched the remainder of the race on the TV monitor. I had goose bumps as I watched the finish. We were very lucky (laughs). The distance of the next race at Suzuka is long (700 km), so I want to run steady laps and have another good race like today."

Koudai Tsukakoshi: "The realization that we actually won hasn't sunk in yet. In the first half of the race Toshihiro-san passed several cars and improved our position running at a good pace, so I imagined that the machine feeling must be good. Once I took the wheel, I decided to continue to work toward the front without getting anxious. Also, I was able to use the GT300 machines to pass other cars in our class. When found out that the lead GT-R had stopped and Kogure-san (car No. 18) had taken over the lead, I tried to pass him several times, but it didn't work. At the finish, I couldn't have caught Kogure-san if there hadn't been a GT300 car in front of him. I think I was just very lucky. As a team, we have confidence that we can run good races, now all we need to work on is getting a better qualifying position. Then I will try my best to go for a second straight win in the next round."

No. 2 Apple.K-ONE.Shiden [GT300]

Hiroki Katoh: "It was quite a difficult race. But through it all, the team, the staff and the Yokohama tire people have done a perfect job all week. There was some uncertainty at the start but the competition gradually fell back, and it got easier after that. We have had a lot of unlucky races recently, so I pushed hard to get us as big a margin as possible in case something happened again. It was tough to do that, but then I heard people saying that it was a boring race because we were alone in the lead. That was a real shock for me (laughs). Rain started falling after I had turned to car over to Hamaguchi-san, so I couldn't feel at ease as I watched. But he was running steady laps and his driving looked under control, so it was half anxiety and half assurance I watched with."

Hiroshi Hamaguchi: "I am really grateful to [team owner] Takahashi-san and Yura-san [whose recommendation got him the seat] for giving an inexperienced amateur driver like me this opportunity. In the races so far this season we have had a lot of bad luck and we had to retire in two the four races before I could drive. Katoh-san managed to give me a good margin of lead but I was still very uncertain out there about things like how to let the Gt500 machines past me. So, it was a tense race for me all the way until I got out of the last corner. After the disappointing races we have had until now, it was really moving for me and I got emotional for the first time in some while after I crossed the finish line."

-source: supergt

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