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Edition

Global
Race report
Super GT Suzuka

Suzuka SUPER GT: NDDP Nissan declared winner after race-ending crash

The NDDP Racing Nissan squad was declared the winner of Sunday's Suzuka SUPER GT race, which was cut short by a huge crash involving the sister NISMO car of Tsugio Matsuda.

#3 Niterra MOTUL Z

The #3 Nissan Z of Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi was ahead on the road at the time of Matsuda's huge crash on lap 59 of 77 by virtue of not yet having completed its second refuelling stop.

Chiyo and Takaboshi were announced as the winners some time after it was confirmed that the race would not be restarted after the accident, which also left the JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Kosuke Matsuura with heavy damage.

Despite SUPER GT officials having previously indicated that a car that had not completed its mandatory refuelling stops would be penalised in such a situation, Chiyo and Takaboshi were provisionally allowed to keep the win.

The Racing Project Bandoh Toyota GR Supra of Yuji Kunimoto and Sena Sakaguchi was classified second despite the fact that they stood to retake the lead after the #3 Nissan's final pitstop, with the #36 TOM'S Toyota of Sho Tsuboi and Ritomo Miyata finishing third from pole.

Story of the race

The pole-winning TOM'S Toyota of Tsuboi led the early stages of the race, holding off an early attack from the Bandoh Toyota of Kunimoto that started second.

There were few changes to the order in the GT500 class in the early laps, although Impul Nissan driver Bertrand Baguette notably managed to pass the Kunimitsu Honda of Tadasuke Makino at the chicane for third on lap seven.

Baguette was closing in on Kunimoto for second when an early caution period was called as a result of the Team UpGarage Honda GT300 car stopping at the hairpin having lost its right-rear wheel.

When the race resumed, the order up front remained the same until Baguette pitted on lap 19 for his first of two mandatory stops, with Kunimoto waiting until lap 26 to make his first stop.

While Baguette stayed on board the Impul Nissan, Kunimoto handed over the Bandoh Toyota to team-mate Sakaguchi. But despite having to complete a driver change, the Bandoh crew still managed to get Sakaguchi out ahead of Baguette.

Tsuboi pitted on lap 29 to hand over the leading TOM'S car to Miyata, who appeared to struggle for pace on his out lap after a long stop.

That put him not only behind the Bandoh Toyota and the Impul Nissan, but also the NISMO Nissan of Ronnie Quintarelli, who had made strong progress from eighth on the grid with an early stop on lap 18.

Sakaguchi found himself being closed down by Baguette towards the end of the second stint until the latter made his second stop on lap 42, making way for his team-mate Kazuki Hiramine.

Four laps later, Sakaguchi came in for the Bandoh car's second stop, staying on board for the final stint, with Miyata doing likewise on lap 48.

A much shorter second stop for the TOM'S crew put Miyata back into a net second ahead of Hiramine's Impul car, but critically behind the Bandoh Toyota.

It looked at this stage like the race would boil down to a straight battle between the Toyotas of Sakaguchi and Miyata, albeit with the #3 NDDP Nissan of Takaboshi leading on the road having not yet made its second stop.

Meanwhile, Hiramine came under pressure from the #23 Nissan, now in the hands of Matsuda after Quintarelli made his second stop on lap 46, and the Kunimitsu Honda of Naoki Yamamoto, who relieved Makino at the first stops.

Matsuda was chasing Hiramine down when he got caught up in a three-way melee with two GT300 cars, the #87 JLOC Lamborghini of Matsuura and the #30 apr Toyota GR86 of Manabu Orido coming through 130R.

It appears that contact with Orido's car sent Matsuda's Nissan into the right-side barriers at the exit of the corner, the force of the impact then sending the car up towards the catch-fencing. The safety car was immediately called, with the red flags following shortly after.

Matsuda needed to be extracted from the cockpit but reportedly remained conscious as he was taken by helicopter to hospital, and NISMO later reported that he had escaped serious injury. Matsuura meanwhile was able to exit his battered Lamborghini unaided.

 

The #3 Nissan was provisionally declared the winner, despite Takaboshi having run towards the bottom of the top 10 before the second round of stops begun. He and Chiyo now move into the lead of the championship on 41 points, nine clear of Tsuboi and Miyata in second.

Behind the TOM'S pair, the Impul Nissan of Baguette and Hiramine was classified fourth ahead of the Kunimitsu Honda of Makino and Yamamoto.

Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita were sixth in their Rookie Racing Toyota, gaining a place when Hiroki Otsu spun the #16 ARTA Honda while battling Matsuda's Nissan for position on his out lap.

Otsu and Nirei Fukuzumi recovered from that moment to finish seventh ahead of the Kondo Racing Nissan of Kohei Hirate and Daiki Sasaki that lost pole on Saturday due to an over-capacity fuel tank.

The Real Racing Honda and the Cerumo Toyota completed the points scorers.

GT300: Studie BMW strategy gamble pays off

In the GT300 class, Team Studie pair Seiji Ara and Masataka Yanagida profited from the early safety car period to score the team's second victory with the BMW M4 GT3, a year on from the team's first.

#7 Studie BMW M4

#7 Studie BMW M4

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

The BMW was one of a handful of cars to come in for an early first stop along with the Inging Toyota GR86 and Saitama Toyopet Toyota GR Supra, which both used a similar strategy to good effect in the previous race at Fuji.

When the safety car was called for the UpGarage Honda's stoppage, the three cars gained a major advantage, cycling through the front of the field as other cars made their first stops.

Initially it was the Saitama Toyopet car of Kohta Kawaai that led this group after a quicker first stop, but Hibiki Taira was able to move the Inging machine ahead while both cars were stuck behind the slower, yet-to-stop Tsuchiya GR Supra.

The BMW of Ara ran a net third at this stage, with both he and Kawaai stopping together on lap 36, but a slower stop for the Toyota put Yanagida some distance ahead of Hiroki Yoshida when both cars rejoined.

Two laps later, Taira pitted to hand over the Inging car to Yuui Tsutsumi, but on the out lap Yanagida was able to pass the Toyota for the net lead at Degner.

Tsutsumi was right on the tail of Yanagida and looking for a way back ahead when the red flags were shown, with Yoshida hanging on to third place.

Fourth went to the Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Teppei Natori, who pitted under the first safety car but managed to fight their way up the order having to make two more stops after that despite carrying 66kg of success ballast.

The #11 Gainer Nissan that started second finished fifth on a more conventional strategy ahead of the pole-sitting Subaru BRZ, which saw a comfortable lead in the first stint eradicated by the safety car.

LEON Racing Mercedes pair Naoya Gamou and Takuro Shinohara employed a similar strategy to the Kondo Nissan but could only manage 12th, relinquishing the lead of the championship in the process.

Kondo pair de Oliveira and Natori now lead jointly with Taira and Tsustumi on 30 points apiece, with Kawaai and Yoshida third on 28.

Suzuka 450km - GT500 race results:

Po No Car Driver Team Time/Gap Tyre
1 3 Nissan Japan Katsumasa Chiyo
Japan Mitsunori Takaboshi
NDDP Racing 58 laps M
2 19 Toyota

Japan Yuji Kunimoto
Japan Sena Sakaguchi

Racing Project Bandoh 31.782 Y
3 36 Toyota

Japan Sho Tsuboi
Japan Ritomo Miyata

TOM'S 33.876 B
4 1 Nissan

Japan Kazuki Hiramine
Belgium Bertrand Baguette

Impul 57.085 B
5 100 Honda

Japan Naoki Yamamoto
Japan Tadasuke Makino

Kunimitsu 1'01.337 B
6 14 Toyota

Japan Kazuya Oshima
Japan Kenta Yamashita

Rookie Racing 1'13.495 B
7 16 Honda Japan Nirei Fukuzumi
Japan Hiroki Otsu
ARTA 1'20.853 B
8 24 Nissan Japan Daiki Sasaki
Japan Kohei Hirate
Kondo Racing 1'52.640 Y
9 17 Honda

Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi
Japan Nobuharu Matsushita

Real Racing 2'00.396 B
10 38 Toyota

Japan Yuji Tachikawa
Japan Hiroaki Ishiura

Cerumo 2'04.794 B
11 37 Toyota

Japan Ukyo Sasahara
France Giuliano Alesi

TOM'S 2'06.943 B
12 8 Honda

Japan Tomoki Nojiri
Japan Toshiki Oyu

ARTA 2'14.127 B
13 23 Nissan

Japan Tsugio Matsuda
Italy Ronnie Quintarelli

NISMO 1 lap M
14 64 Honda Japan Takuya Izawa
Japan Kakunoshin Ota
Nakajima Racing 1 lap D
15 39 Toyota

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi
Japan Yuichi Nakayama

SARD 1 lap B

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