S Road REITO MOLA GT-R pulls off a perfect pole to finish win!
The “International Pokka 1000km” race, Round 5 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.807km x 173 laps) in Mie Pref. on August 19. In the GT500 class, the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Masataka Yanagida/Ronnie Quintarelli) started from pole position and raced all the way to the win. In the GT300 class, the triple a vantage GT3 team won their first race with the British Aston Martin.
After heavy rain the night before, race day at Suzuka Circuit was blessed with clear skies. However, it was truly a mid-summer race with the air temperature at the 12:30 start time was 30 degrees C. and the track temperature soaring over 50 degrees, making conditions tough for the tires, the machines and the drivers as they set out on the 1000 km race to the goal.
Starting from pole position in the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R was Ronnie Quintarelli. He maintained the lead throughout the entire first stint and turned the wheel over to teammate Masataka Yanagida. But, Yanagida soon suffered a collision with a GT300 machine that resulted in wheel trouble. He was forced to return to the pit for a wheel change that dropped him to 7th position in the race.
Meanwhile, perhaps due to the high track temperature, it was turning into a survival race for everyone, with numerous spinouts and frequent tire trouble. Throughout these tough conditions, however, Yanagida and Quintarelli went on to race fast and steady like the champions they are in the S Road REITO MOLA GT-R and worked their way back to the front one position at a time. On the 94th lap (550 km into the race) they were finally back in the lead. From that point on Yanagida and Quintarelli tag-teamed their way to the checkered at the end of the 1,000 km race. For the 2011 championship team Mola and for the Nissan GT-R, this fifth round of the series finally brought them their first win of the 2012 season.
In the GT300 class race, the triple a vantage GT3 (Hiroki Yoshimoto/Kazuki Hoshino/Hiroki Yoshida) team pulled off an amazing come-from-behind victory, having started from the last position on the class grid after having their pole position-winning time disqualified due to a machine violation the day before. This was the first SUPER GT victory for the FIA GT3 specification model of the British Aston Martin sports car. For the team, it was the second GT win, following a victory at Okayama in the 2011 season.
The pole-starting MUGEN CR-Z GT (Hideki Mutoh/Daisuke Nakajima) was on its way to finishing the race in the points (top ten finish) until machine trouble forced it to retire from the race in closing stages. (Spectators: 35,500)
Winning Driver Comments
No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R [GT500]
Ronnie Quintarelli: “When the safety car came out the first time I had a 50-second lead coming out of the pit, but I never dreamed that the safety car would come out a second time. But, I just concentrated on the restart. In the end I didn’t worry about the fuel consumption and just pushed hard. I really enjoyed it. I also got lots of power from the Nissan cheering section. I tried to show my gratitude by answering with the engine sound I made after finishing the winning lap.”
Masataka Yanagida: “I have long dreamed of winning the legendary Pokka 1000km, so I am especially happy with this result. When I had the collision with the GT300 machine I almost lost hope for a while, but I was able to keep running without losing my concentration and I believe that is what contributed to this result. In the next race I plan to carry the handicap weights we get from this win like a medal of honor and do the best I can.”
No. 66 triple a vantage GT3 [GT300]
Hiroki Yoshimoto: “It has truly been an eventful race weekend. But although it won’t go down in the record books (because the times were disqualified due to a violation), we were able to run the fastest times in all four sessions. So, it was the best possible weekend.”
Kazuki Hoshino: “The car was in good condition from the very start on Saturday morning. And it was great through the qualifying, but then that (disqualification and having to start from the back of the grid) happened and, to tell the truth, I had almost given up hope. But, after a good night’s sleep, I woke up this morning and said to myself, ‘I’m never going to give up.’ The car and the tires were simply the best. It was a really good weekend.”
Source: Super GT