"39th International Pokka GT Summer Special" Qualifying

Rookie Takashi Kobayashi wins pole position with dazzling speed [in first GT appearance]

ARTA HSV-010 qualifies 1st for first time this season!

In the qualifying for the 39th International Pokka GT Summer Special, Round 6 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.8075km) in Mie Pref. on August 21. In this qualifying, the ARTA HSV-010 team with drivers Ralph Firman, Yuji Ide and Takashi Kobayashi won their first pole position (fastest qualifier) of the season. With this, they will start from the front row in the race on the 22nd.

The qualifying for this round was held in the same "knock-out" format as the season opener and Suzuka and round 2 at Okayama. In this system the second qualifying period is divided into three sessions. In the first two of these sessions the slowest qualifiers are "knocked out" of the competition by not being able to move on to the next session and the final grid order is decided by the time trial performances of the remaining teams in the final session.

Driving the ARTA HSV-010, Ralph Firman recorded the fastest times in both the morning practice and the first of the three afternoon sessions that started from 1:25.

Then, in the second stage (knock-out sessions) that started from 3:10, Firman ran a time of 1 min. 55.791 sec. in the first session and Yuji Ide ran a time of 1 min. 55. 439 sec. that put them far ahead of the competition.

The third session to decide the starting grid for the race was driven by Takashi Kobayashi, who joined the team for the first time this round as their third driver. Although Kobayashi is a top contender in the All Japan F3 championship, this was his first appearance in SUPER GT racing, Nonetheless, he answered the expectations of team manager Aguri Suzuki by punching out a time of 1 min. 55.237 sec. to beat not only the competition but also his senior teammates to take the pole position.

For Kobayashi this is of course his first SUPER GT pole. And for the team it is their first pole since the final round of last year's series. For the Honda HSV-010 GT it is the third pole of the season.

In the GT300, the CINE CITTA' TAISAN PORSCHE team with drivers Igor Sushko, Masayuki Ueda and Shogo Mitsuyama won the class pole for the first time this season. For Mitsuyama, who drove a time of 2 min. 7.498 sec. in the third session, this was his first GT pole.

(Spectators: 25,000)

+ Pole position winner comments

No. 8 ARTA HSV-010 [GT500]
Ralph Firman: "With all three of us running the top times in the sessions we drove, this is turning out to be a fantastic weekend. The fact that Kobayashi was able to win the pole position having had almost no practice time in this car is also fantastic. I think he did a great job. We haven't been able to get the results we wanted so far this season, so I hope we can make Suzuka this time a turning point in our season. To do that, we have to win tomorrow. Tomorrow's is a long race and you never know what is going to happen, but our rivals will probably be the No. 23 GT-R and the other HSV- 010 GT teams."

Yuji Ide: "It impressed me how relaxed Kobayashi looked as he went out for his time attack. Certainly the car was in good condition, but it was amazing that he could run a time like that. I think he is a great driver. With Kobayashi's support tomorrow, I hope we can get a good result." Takashi Kobayashi: "I still can't believe I got the pole position, so I just don't know what to say. When it was decided that I would be driving for the third session, I just kept telling myself to stay calm. I was able to drive the machine with no feeling of uneasiness. There are still some detail things that I am not certain about, but I didn't have any problems. I have never driven in a GT race before, so I am just going to go into it without thinking and just take it as it comes."

No. 26 CINE CITTA' TAISAN PORSCHE [GT300]
Shogo Mitsuyama: "I am very grateful to Taisan's president Chiba and Manager Yamaji for giving me this chance to drive with this team. The previous tire test went well and the balance of the machine felt good, so I felt confident that we could be among the leaders in the race this time, but I never expected us to be able to win the class pole position. I was expecting to be in the 2 min. 8 sec. range but I never expected to run a time in the 7 sec. range. With the Porsches, you have to drive in a way that suits the machine, and I think that is what went well this time. During my time attack there was one place where I made a slight mistake but [since I won the pole] I am satisfied overall. Tomorrow's will be a long race and I am going to concentrate on staying out of trouble and drive well so we can be among the top finishers."

-source: supergt