The qualifying for the FUJI GT 300km RACE, Round 6 of the AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563km) in Shizuoka Pref. on Sept. 7th. In the GT500 class, the pole position was won by the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Kohei Hirate. In the GT300 class, the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi won its second pole position of the season. The two cars will start from the first position on the front row of their respective class grids for the race on Sept. 8th.
Although rain had been predicted for the area of Fuji Speedway, it turned out to be a cloudy but rainless day with the air temperature at 25 degrees C, making for relatively good conditions. From 2:00 in the afternoon the official qualifying to determine the starting grid positions for Sunday's race got underway.
The qualifying was run in a 2-session (Q1 and Q2) "knock-out" format.
All cars participated in the 15-minute Q1 session, and the eight fastest qualifiers (GT500 class) won the right to move on to Q2. With Fuji Speedway being their home track, the Lexus SC430 cars were fast as expected, but the No. 1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Yuhi Sekiguchi) rose to challenge their dominance, holding the top position on the time board until the last stages of the session. But, the SC430 team that has proven fastest at Fuji, the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Kohei Hirate) came through at the last moment to take the lead and finish the session with the fastest time and qualify first for Q2.
Changing drivers, as required by the regulation, the top eight GT500 machines from Q1 then competed for pole position in the 12-minute Q2 session. As in Q1, the No. 1 REITO MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama) was again the early leader, but with two minutes remaining the No.100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Takuya Izawa) recorded a time of 1'32.889 to take the lead. But, it didn't stay there long, as Yuji Tachikawa in No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 drove an even faster lap. As holder of the record for most GT500 class pole positions and also the record for most poles at Fuji Speedway, Tachikawa is known on the SUPER GT circuit as "The Fuji Meister." And with a time of 1'32.548 recorded in a single all-out time attack he claimed once again the top position he is famous for. With one minute remaining in the session the RAYBRIG HSV-010 and fellow SC430 car, the No. 37 KeePer TOM'S SC430 (Andrea Caldarelli) made bold attempts to claim the top rung but failed to better Tachikawa's time in the ZENT. When the session ended, the ZENT CERUMO SC430 team had their first pole position of the season.
With this, Yuji Tachikawa increased his own record of most GT500 pole positions to 18. At the same time he raised his record of Fuji poles to eight. This was the 16th pole position overall for the LEXUS SC430.
In the GT300 class, the No. 55 ARTA CR-Z GT driven by Shinichi Takagi won its second pole position of the season. This was Takagi's 8th pole position in the GT300 class, and for the Honda CR-Z, this was the third pole position overall. In round two of this year's season, also run at Fuji Speedway, the other hybrid car in GT300, the No. 31 Panasonic apr PRIUS GT claimed pole position.
Pole position winner comments
GT500 class pole position
Yuji Tachikawa / No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 [GT500]
"Although we have failed to get any series points in the last three rounds despite competing near the top each time, we the drivers and everyone on the team has continued to work hard and never given up hope. That's why I was determined to win the pole position here, no matter what. And, that's not all. We are determined to win tomorrow's race and the next two rounds as well. So, I can't feel satisfied by winning today's pole position yet. Tomorrow's weather looks bad, but I'm determined to see it through and get the win. Then you will see me feeling happy at last."
GT300 class pole position
Shinichi Takagi / No. 31 ARTA CR-Z GT
"From the last round at Suzuka the regulation for car height for the JAF-GT300 cars has been raised by 8mm but we didn't have time to fully adjust to the new regulation. This time, the car's condition has been good from the time we got here, so in the morning practice we didn't have to do any work on the set-up and could spend the time doing a tire life check. In the afternoon's official qualifying as well, during my time attacks there was no under-steer or over-steer tendency; the car's condition was so good. Until now we have either won or no-pointed. This time, I think it is our turn to win (laughs). Anyway, I'll do my best."