Suzuka: Series qualifying report

Honda HSV-010GT grabs pole position in debut round! In the qualifying for the SUZUKA GT 300km, Round 1 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.807 km) in Mie Pref. on March 20. In this qualifying, the Weider HSV-010...

Honda HSV-010GT grabs pole position in debut round!

In the qualifying for the SUZUKA GT 300km, Round 1 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.807 km) in Mie Pref. on March 20. In this qualifying, the Weider HSV-010 driven by Takashi Kogure and Loic Duval won the pole position in the GT500 class. This gives the Weider HSV-010 the right to start from the front row in the race on the 21st.

Until last season, Honda had competed the SUPER GT with the NSX machine. This season the maker has introduced the new model HSV-010GT, which has immediately proven its competitiveness with this pole position win in its debut race. In tomorrow's race the Honda camp will be looking for a debut victory.

Most SUPER GT qualifying rounds use the "Super Lap" format of time trials run one machine at a time. However, this opening round adopts a "knock out" format run in three sessions. The cars with the slowest lap times in the first two sessions are "knocked out" of the competition and only the cars remaining for the last session run the individual time trails to determine the top grid positions for the race.

In the first qualifying session, last year's opening round victor, the ZENT CERUMO SC430, posted the fastest time, with the Weider HSV-010 second fastest among the machines moving on to the second session. In the second session, Loic Duval, now at the wheel of the Weider HSV-010, just managed to qualify for the third session by running the 6th fastest time. At the HSV-010's wheel again in the third and final session, Kogure ran a time of 1 min. 53.182 sec. to win the pole position.

In the GT300 class, the top qualifier was the M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC7 driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi and Ryo Orime. (Spectators: 22,000)

Pole position winner comments

No. 18 Weider HSV-010 [GT500]

Takashi Kogure: "Thanks to everyone's efforts we were able to prove how fast the new HSV-010 GT is. I am very happy that we were able to win the pole position for its debut race. I really think it is great. Thinking about tomorrow's race, we chose a harder, long-lasting set of tires, but we were still able to get through the qualifying with the PP [despite that], which is good. Tomorrow I hope we will be able to take advantage of this pole position and run all the way to the win. The strength of the HSV-010 GT is the great stability it has even when it slips, so you can take it deep into the turns."

Loic Duval: "We had difficulty selecting the tires this time. They were slippery and in some of the corners it was like running in a drift competition. But we were able to make it into the third session and Kogure- san ended things there with a great performance for us. I am extremely happy with the HSV-010 GT. Our aim is to win this race, and I am confident we can do it."

No. 7 M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC7 [GT300]

Nobuteru Taniguchi: "This is our first pole position since I returned to this team last year, and I am very happy for that. In our planning for this race, we didn't place top priority [in tire choices, etc.] on winning the pole position, but I am still simply happy that we won it. I think we benefitted by this being a knock-out type qualifying. Some of the rival machines were faster than ours but Orime [driving in the second session] was hot and ran a fast time for us."

Ryo Orime: "It is my fourth year in the SUPER GT but this is my first Pole Position, so I'm very happy. In our [qualifying] simulation in the morning practice session I never thought we would be able to run a time like this, so I was really surprised and very pleased. In tomorrow's race I am going to do my best to keep this momentum going."

-source: super gt

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Series SUPERGT