Lexus grabs top spot on final Super GT test day

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Lexus grabs top spot on final Super GT test day
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Mar 31, 2019, 8:15 AM

Lexus led the charts on the final day of Super GT pre-season testing at Fuji, with Kenta Yamashita and Kazuya Oshima setting the pace in the Team LeMans-run LC500.

Oshima clocked a time of 1m28.522s in the closing stages of the morning session, knocking off the Impul Nissan of James Rossiter and Daiki Sasaki from the top of the timesheets.

With teams switching to long runs in the afternoon in preparation for the first round of the season, Oshima’s time remained unbeaten at the end of the day.

However, it was still almost three tenths short of the quickest time of the entire test, set by Rossiter during Saturday’s running.

TOM’S Lexus runners Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa finished third on Sunday with a time of 1m28.644s, just 0.023s shy of the Impul Nissan ahead of them.

Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda finished close behind in the factory NISMO-entered GT-R but ahead of Nakajima Racing’s Narain Karthikeyan and Tadasuke Makino.

Nakajima was once against the quickest Honda team in testing, although Karthikeyan suffered a spin at the final corner that curtailed the morning session.

B-Max pipped sister Nissan squad Kondo for the seventh spot by just 0.027s, courtesy of Frederic Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate setting a time of 1m29.070s.

Kondo’s Jann Mardenborough and Mitsunori Takaboshi also finished marginally ahead of the Cerumo Lexus, driven by Hiroaki Ishiura and Yuji Tachikawa.

Sho Tsuboi and Yuji Kunimoto were ninth quickest in the Bandoh Lexus, while the top 10 was completed by Mugen Honda drivers Hideki Mutoh and Daisuke Nakajima.

In general, Honda endured another tough day of testing, with three of its teams propping up the timesheets.

Reigning champions Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto were only 13th quickest in the Kunimitsu NSX-GT, nearly a second off the pace of the leaders.

Former Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen crashed into the tyre barrier at turn 1 at start of the day when the track still had damp patches from an overnight shower.

The Sard team missed the entire morning session as a result, but it was able to fix its Lexus in time for afternoon's running.

The GT300 field was led by Tomei Sports and its Nissan GT-R GT3 driven by Atsushi Tanaka and Takayuki Aoki.

The 2019 Super GT season begins at Okayama on the weekend of April 13-14.

Additional reporting by Tomohiro Yoshita

GT500 results:

Pos

Drivers

Team/Manufacturer

Time

1

Kazuya Oshima

Kenta Yamashita

LeMans Lexus

1m28.522s

2

James Rossiter

Daiki Sasaki

Impul Nissan

1m28.621s

3

Nick Cassidy

Ryo Hirakawa

TOM’S Lexus

1m28.644s

4

Ronnie Quintarelli

Tsugio Matsuda

NISMO Nissan

1m28.667s

5

Narain Karthikeyan

Tadasuke Makino

Nakajima Honda

1m28.881s

6

Frederic Makowiecki

Kohei Hirate

B-Max Nissan

1m29.070s

7

Jann Mardenborough

Mitsunori Takaboshi

Kondo Nissan

1m29.097s

8

Hiroaki Ishiura

Yuji Tachikawa

Cerumo Lexus

1m29.139s

9

Yuji Kunimoto

Sho Tsuboi

Bandoh Lexus

1m29.208s

10

Hideki Mutoh

Daisuke Nakajima

Mugen Honda

1m29.347s

11

Kazuki Nakajima

Yuhi Sekiguchi

TOM’S Lexus

1m29.411s

12

Heikki Kovalainen

Yuichi Nakayama

Sard Lexus

1m29.437s

13

Jenson Button

Naoki Yamamoto

Kunimitsu Honda

1m29.500s

14

Bertrand Baguette

Koudai Tsukakoshi

Real Honda

1m29.516s

15

Tomoki Nojiri

Takuya Izawa

ARTA Honda

1m29.633s

 

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About this article

Series Super GT
Drivers Kazuya Oshima , Kenta Yamashita
Teams Team LeMans
Author Rachit Thukral
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