Yanagida and Quintarelli were crowned the GT500 championship winners
Mineo and Yokomizo took the GT300 victory and championship
The Motegi GT 250 km RACE Round 8 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the Twin Ring Motegi (lap = 4.801 km x 52 laps) in Tochigi Pref. on Oct. 28. In difficult conditions with rain falling from before noon, the ZENT CERUMO SC43 (Yuji Tachikawa/Kohei Hirate) won the race by beating out the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) that had clinched its second consecutive season championship title in the previous round.
In the GT300 class, the ENDLESS TAISAN 911 (Kyosuke Moneo/Naoki Yokomizo) won the race and, with it, the 2012 season championship title.
The rain that began falling from before noon soaked the track so the race had to be run in wet conditions. It was the first rain since entering race weekend and all the teams had to throw together machine settings for the rain and choose tires as best they could. For the drivers as well, the slippery conditions made for a very difficult race.
Starting from pole position in the ZENT CERUMO SC43, Kohei Hirate made a fine start and began to pull away from the field. Behind him the NISSAN GT-R and Honda HSV-010 GT cars were locked in fierce battles in the rain. The car that emerged to give chase to the leader was the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) that had clinched its second consecutive GT500 class season championship title in the previous round. The race developed into a two-car duel between the S Road and the Zent machines. In the final stages of the race, Masataka Yanagida S Road REITO MOLA GT-R was closing in behind Yuji Tachikawa in the ZENT CERUMO SC430 and a tail-to-nose battle ensued on the slippery track for about ten laps. The duel continued until just before the goal on the final lap and Tachikawa barely managed to outrun Yanagida at the finish by 0.138 seconds. This gave the ZENT CERUMO SC43 its second win of the season, following its victory back in the opening round.
For Tachikawa it was his 14th GT500 career win and for Hirate his third. For the LEXUS SC430 it was the fourth win of the season in eight races, making it the winning-est car make.
In the GT300 class the ranking leader going into the race, the HANKOOK PORSCHE (Masami Kageyama/Tomonobu Fujii) looked as if it would run away to victory, until it suddenly slowed down in the early stages of the race. Taking its place in the lead was the 3rd-ranked ENDLESS TAISAN 911 (Kyosuke Moneo/Naoki Yokomizo), which went on to open up a lead over the rest of the field, with both drivers performing well and with consistency all the way to the finish and the win. This victory also reversed its fortunes in the title race, bring them the Drivers and Team championships for the season.
For Yokomizo it was his third GT300 class win (one in GT500), and for Mineo it was his first. It was also the first win of the season for the team, and the third for the Porsche 911, making it the car make with the most wins this season in GT300.
For both Mineo and Yokomizo this is their first SUPER GT title. For Team TAISAN it is their seventh GT300 team title (one in GT500) and their first since 2003.
No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 [GT500]
Yuji Tachikawa: “In the first half [teammate Kohei] Hirate worked hard and kept the lead for us, so I thought I couldn’t let anyone pass me once I was driving and pushed as hard as I could. On the last turn when I got behind a back-marker I was really nervous, but I still thought that I wouldn’t be passed if I didn’t make any mistakes. In the last round (at Autopolis) we lost the race and the title (to the No1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R on Michelin tires) but Bridgestone made us some tires that could win in the same wet conditions. It makes me very happy to win today.”
Kohei Hirate: “From the start I was only thinking about running away and not getting caught. So I never looked back and just kept pushing. But then suddenly I realized that there was a scary car (No. 1) in my rearview mirror (wry laugh). When Autopolis ended [and the title had gone to No. 1], I have to admit that it broke my spirit, so much that I didn’t even want to compete in the last race. And though today was the same wet conditions as at Autopolis, Bridgestone made us some tires that could win, so we were able to get back at [No. 1]. I am grateful for that.”
No. 911 ENDLESS TAISAN 911 [GT300]
Kyosuke Moneo: “This season Yokohama made some good tires for us and Manager Chiba prepared a good car for us. The brakes [by the sponsor ENDLESS] were also great. In today’s race, Yokomizo ran perfectly for us in the first half and I just wanted to defend that position to the end. That is all I was thinking about as I drove. I am grateful to everyone involved for the fact that we were able to win this last race and get our first championship title. I really want to thank everyone.”
Naoki Yokomizo: “I was expecting it to be a one-on-one duel with Kageyama [No. 33, the pole sitter] and I was able to run well and get the lead. It was Manager Chiba who brought me to this team this year. To pay him back for that I wanted to win no matter what. During the summer there were some tough races. But I didn’t give up hope and worked hard to stay in the title race to the end. This time we had a good car prepared for us and better tires than ever, so I am really grateful to the team and to Yokohama Tire. This is truly the greatest!”
Source: Super GT