ARTA HSV-010 gets its first win of the season
First SUPER GT win for the Legacy B4
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 x 121 laps) in Mie Pref. on August 22, and the GT500 class winner was the ARTA HSV-010 team (drivers: Ralph Firman/Yuji Ide/Takashi Kobayashi).
Having won the pole position in yesterday's qualifying, the ARTA HSV-010 started from the front row with Yuji Ide as the starting driver. A collision with a back marker in the early stages of the race and the time it took to remove the damaged parts from the machine dropped Ide back to 4th position at one point.
But the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R that overtook the ARTA also hit a back marker and spun out. In addition, the RAYBRIG HSV-010 took a significant time loss in due to prolonged pit work and the EPSON HSV-010 also dropped far back in the pack when one of its tires was not properly mounted in its last pit stop.
These mishaps allowed the ARTA HSV-010 to recover the lead. The team's third driver, Takashi Kobayashi, who had won the pole position for the team in Saturday's qualifying, ended up not driving in today's race, a tag team relay of Ide, Ralph Firman, Ide, Firman, completed the 700km race successfully to win their first victory of the season with a 22-sec. margin over the 2nd-place finishing MOTUL AUTECH GT-R.
For the ARTA team, this was their first win since the final round of last season at Motegi. For the Honda HSV-010 GT, this was the third victory of the season, following wins at round 2 at Okayama and round 5 at Sugo.
In the GT300 class the R&D SPORT LEGACY B4 (Tetsuya Yamano/ Kota Sasaki) emerged the winner. Starting from 11th position on the GT300 class grid, the team worked up steadily through the pack to and finally took the lead on a faster pit time in the last pit stop. This is a team that made its GT debut part way through last season and skipped round four of this season to make some major changes in the machine that led to this victory. For the team, its first podium finish of the season turned to be a victory.
+ Winning Driver Comments
No. 8 ARTA HSV-010 [GT500]
Ralph Firman: "This really feels fantastic!" I'm very relieved [to have won]. We have had a tough season so far, but the HSV-010 GT has delivered outstanding performance. The efforts of the team in setting up the machine this way in a limited amount of time have also been outstanding. Since this is a new machine we have this year, the important thing is getting that first win, and now we have made that first important step. I think this will be a big confidence builder for us drivers as well. Ide-san did a great job of driving today. Now I want to carry on this new-found confidence through the remainder of the season."
Yuji Ide: "This was the first pole start for me in some time, but I think I was able to stay calm and get a good start. After getting through the first corner OK, I was able to concentrate on finding my own pace and sticking to it. Everything went well up to that point, until the collision with a GT300 back marker in the spoon curve that damaged the car. Fortunately, it didn't have a serious effect on the car. At the end Ralph worked very hard for us and I was able to watch with assurance. Since joining the ARTA team this year, I had not been able to contribute to a good race result, so I really wanted to win here. What was the reason for my tears after the race? There are really just too many reasons." (Embarrassed laugh.)
Takashi Kobayashi: "Although I didn't get to run in the race, I am just glad that the team won. The two drivers were very dependable out there and I learned a lot watching them perform. Now I am going back to my seat in the All Japan F3 championship, but I want to take with me the experience from these two days and try to win in F3 as well."
No. 62 R&D SPORT LEGACY B4 [GT300]
Tetsuya Yamano: "This is the greatest feeling. This Legacy made its debut in last year's Pokka GT, but it was only able to run a lap time of 2 min. 15 sec. and I thought things would be tough. Now, a year later, I never would have thought that we would be the winners here at Suzuka, so I am very happy. The machine's performance had improved significantly by the last round at SUGO, so I thought we would be able to do fairly well here. But this being a new car, we were still making changes right up to the last minute and there were a lot of meetings with the engineers and [our other driver] Sasaki-san. Also, our team Manager said that if we got a podium finish he would take us to Saipan, and that was a big encouragement too (laughs)."
Kota Sasaki: "In 2008 I was driving a Subaru car, but due to some circumstances I had to leave the team part way through the season. Despite that, they gave me a chance to drive again this season, and I considered this my last chance to do something for Subaru, for the team and for Yamano- san. At the end, when it was my turn to go out on the track I didn't know that I was going to be in the lead, so I pushed hard and opened up a margin over the cars behind me. The car was performing well so I thought there was a chance to win. When I reached the goal I was so happy. I grew up here in Suzuka and this is my home track. So when I finished this difficult 700km Pokka GT race and took the checkered as the winner, I couldn't hold back the tears."