Lexus camp scores spectacular comeback with the top five qualifying spots!
DENSO SARD SC430 wins consecutive poles at Fuji!
The qualifying for the FUJI GT 250km Race, Round 6 of the 2011 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563km) in Shizuoka Pref. on Sept. 10. In the GT500 class the pole position was won by the DENSO SARD SC430 driven by Hiroaki Ishiura. This gives the DENSO SARD SC430 team of Ishiura and Takuto Iguchi the right to start from the front position in the race on the 11th.
In the first qualifying session starting at 13:00 the Lexus SC430 teams, who have yet to win a single race this season, demonstrated amazing speed here at Fuji Speedway, Toyota’s home track. The fastest lap time of 1’34.122 was recorded by the DENSO SARD SC430 (Hiroaki Ishiura), which also won the pole here at Fuji in Round 2 in May. Second fastest was this season’s ranking leader, the S Road MOLA GT-R, but places third to sixth all went to SC430 machines.
This was followed by the final qualifying Super Lap competed by the ten fastest qualifiers from session one running their “time attacks” one machine at a time. Here again all the momentum was with the SC430 teams. By the time the first session’s fastest qualifier, DENSO SARD SC430 (Ishiura), started its attack as the last runner, four SC430 machines sat at the top of the time list. Ishiura ran a fast 1’34.411 lap to best the fastest lap to that point by the ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Kohei Hirate) and claim the team’s second consecutive pole at Fuji.
For Ishiura it was his second GT500 pole, and for the DENSO SARD SC430’ tire supplier, Michelin, it was the fourth pole of this season and its tenth overall in GT500 competition.
In the GT300 class, Nobuteru Taniguchi drove the HATSUNEMIKU GOODSMILE BMW to his second pole position of the season following his pole at Round 3 in Malaysia. It was Taniguchi’s fourth personal pole in GT300 competition and the team’s second, while for BMW teams it was the fifth pole position.
Pole position winner comments
No.39 DENSO SARD SC430 [GT500]
Hiroaki Ishiura: “As I was running my lap I didn’t know whether I was going to get the pole position, but as soon as I finished they told me over the radio that I had it. I think I was able to drive well. The strategy was to make up for our machine’s disadvantage in the first sector of the course by coming back hard in sectors two and three, and I was able to run it just as I had envisioned. We won the pole position last time at Fuji and I watched that video over and over to try to run the same way. I guess that paid off. In fact, our tire choices and machine settings have been made with more importance on tomorrow’s race than on the qualifying. Still, we got the pole position anyway. That fact gives us confidence for the race. The SC430 teams haven’t been able to win any races yet this season, and the best we have been able to do is 2nd. Last year we won here at Fuji, so we want to score a win here at Fuji, our home course.”
No.4 HATSUNEMIKU GOODSMILE BMW [GT300]
Nobuteru Taniguchi: “We are carrying a big 90 kg of handicap weights, so honestly I was anxious about what we could do here at Fuji. But (considering the advantages the machine has at Fuji) we thought this was our best chance of winning, so we asked Yokohama to make us some good tires for this race. They feel very good in the turns. Fuji is a good track for the HATSUNEMIKU GOODSMILE BMW, so we want to get as many points as we can here and close the gap with the ranking leader, car No. 11. The weather report looks uncertain, but we hope we will be able to race under clear skies.”