Sugo Super GT: Honda breaks lap record in qualifying
Real Racing duo Koudai Tsukakoshi and Bertrand Baguette led a second consecutive front row sweep for Honda in qualifying for the Sugo round of SUPER GT series.
Having topped practice on Saturday morning, the Honda squad lowered the previous lap record by over half a second to take pole position for the penultimate round of the season.
Baguette safely navigated the #17 NSX-GT to the second part of qualifying, before Tsukakoshi posted a time of 1m9.0676s on his late flyer.
That put the Real duo comfortably clear of the Kunimitsu Honda of Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto, which won last year’s race from pole position and held the circuit’s previous lap record.
Q1 pacesetters Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi will start third in the #36 TOM’S Lexus, but will have to serve a 10-second stop/go penalty in the race for exceeding the allocation of two engines per season.
Championship contenders Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa qualified fourth in the sister TOM’S Lexus, just 0.027s clear of the Bandoh Lexus of Yuji Kunimoto and Sho Tsuboi.
Nakajima Honda duo Narain Karthikeyan and Tadasuke Makino enjoyed their best qualifying result of the season in sixth with a time of 1m10.799s.
B-Max pair Kohei Hirate and Frederic Makowiecki were seventh quickest in the only Nissan that made it to Q2, while championship leaders Kenta Yamashita and Kazuya Oshima (LeMans Lexus) completed the top eight.
- This weekend's SUPER GT race at Sugo will be streamed live and for free on Motorsport.tv from 5:00 am GMT.
Tomoki Nojiri and Takuya Izawa will line up ninth in the ARTA Honda, ahead of the factory-entered NISMO GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda.
Matsuda had to abort his final flyer after being struck behind the Cerumo Lexus of Hiroaki Ishiura and Yuji Tachikawa, which eventually qualified just one place behind in 11th.
Subaru takes GT300 honours
The factory-supported Subaru R&D team took pole position in the GT300 class, ahead of the championship-leading ARTA Honda.
Driving the #61 BRZ, Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi broke the class lap record with a time of 1m16.834s, beating the points-leading #55 NSX GT3 of Nirei Fukuzumi and Shinichi Takagi by over three tenths of a second.
Takamitsu Matsui and Kimiya Sato qualified third in the #25 Tsuchiya Engineering Toyota 86 MC, heading championships contenders Sacha Fenestraz and Kazuki Hiramine (#56 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R GT3).
Rossiter cleared for Super GT return after skipping race
Sugo Super GT: Makowiecki, Hirate take Nissan's first win