Yamashita fears TOM'S fightback in Super GT decider

SUPER GT points leader Kenta Yamashita says he is wary of a TOM'S revival in Sunday's Motegi title-decider after missing out on pole position in the Team LeMans Lexus.

Yamashita fears TOM'S fightback in Super GT decider
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Yamashita put the #6 Lexus LC500 he shares with Kazuya Oshima second on the grid for the season finale, behind the #36 TOM'S Lexus qualified by Yuhi Sekiguchi.

It means the championship leaders start two places ahead of their only rivals for the title, the #37 TOM'S Lexus crew of Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa, with Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda now out of the running after managing third in the #23 Nissan.

With a seven-point advantage over Cassidy and Hirakawa, second place would be enough for Yamashita and Oshima to seal the title even if the #37 car wins.

However, speaking to Motorsport.com post-qualifying, Yamashita admitted he fears the "potential" of his closest rivals, especially with the sister #36 TOM'S car on pole.

"The time attack itself wasn't very good," lamented Yamashita. "I didn't warm up the tyres properly and at Turn 4 [on my push lap] I slid and lost time.

"From there it was good, but given the small difference to pole, so if I could have warmed up the tyres well, I could have been on pole, which is frustrating.

"Considering car #36 is in front, the race will not be easy. Usually car #37 is strong in the races, so I think they will definitely rise from their grid position."

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For his part, Hirakawa was disappointed he and Cassidy could not do better than fourth.

"It was an average qualifying," he told Motorsport.com. "I think it was inevitable that the #36 car would be ahead, but it's disappointing the #23 car and the #6 car were ahead.

"We have to overtake car #6 and the important thing is the pitstop. I don't how it will play out, but I want to try something. If Nick goes all out and something happens, I won't blame him."

Cassidy however was satisfied with his Q2 lap, especially as the New Zealander has been suffering with a cold since his Super Formula crown in Suzuka last weekend.

"I haven’t felt good this week, I’ve been in bed for a couple days, which is not good," Cassidy told Motorsport.com. "To be honest it was a tough day for me.

"I didn’t get much running, Hirakawa used a couple of sets of tyres in practice and did most of the driving set-up. I was quite happy with my lap, considering I hadn’t had much track time. It was not so bad but obviously the position is not ideal.

"Let’s see tomorrow. I think we’ve still got a good chance. Usually in the race we are ok, but so are they [the #6 crew], so I expect a very good fight. We can still go for the win."

Watch the final round of the 2019 SUPER GT season live and for free on Motorsport.tv.

#37 TOM'S Lexus LC500: Nick Cassidy, Ryo Hirakawa

#37 TOM'S Lexus LC500: Nick Cassidy, Ryo Hirakawa

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

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