June 21, 2015
NISSAN Motor Co., Ltd.
NISSAN Motorsports International Co., Ltd.
Chang International Circuit, Thailand (June 21, 2015)
Round 3 of the SUPER GT was held on June 21st (Sun) at Chang International Circuit (Buriram, Thailand: 1 lap 4.554km) and, despite being held during Thailand s rainy season, it was blessed with fine weather for the entirety of race week. Here the #46 S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Masataka Yanagida) took victory in the GT500 class, while the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/Mitsunori Takaboshi) came out on top in the GT300 to make it a two-round double victory for Nissan following on from the last round at Fuji.
GT500 Class - #1 S Road MOLA GT-R
GT300 Class - #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R
Approximately 61,000 fans attended Chang International Circuit over the three days. At 3pm on race day the air temperature had risen to 37C, while the road temperature was a sweltering 50C. It was the kind of heat where one would sweat by merely standing out in the direct sunlight. It was under this intense warmth that the formation lap was begun and, after three minutes had passed, all competitors started the race simultaneously. With Motoyama behind the wheel, the #46 GT-R shot up from a 3rd place qualification to be running in 2nd, then from there it carefully weighed up the distance between it and the #38 Lexus RC F, that desperately wanted to make this race a runaway victory, and slowly began to close the gap. From lap 15 onwards the #46 was on the look out for an opportunity to make its move and, at the last corner of lap 25, finally saw its chance and pulled in front. However, the #38 wasn t going to give up without a fight, and remained glued to the #46 until the GT-R got caught on a back marker, which gave the #38 the opportunity to retake the lead. It would only be temporary, though, as the impeccable driving of Motoyama allowed the GT-R to retrieve the lead once again. He pitted at lap 36 and handed the wheel over to Yanagida and after all the top-tier cars had completed their stops, they were running as the race leader. From that point on, the #38 experienced some technical trouble and fell back, increasing the gap between them to more than 11 seconds and allowing Yanagida to comfortably tick off laps and pass the 66-lap checkered flag at the head of the pack. Coming in 4th from an 11th place grid start was the #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Hironobu Yasuda/Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira), and in 5th was last round s victor, the #1 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli).
Having qualified 13th, the #1 GT-R s Quintarelli stated that "the car felt really good in the 8-minute pre-race session" and, immediately following race start, launched into a fierce catch up effort. By the time he had pitted at lap 37 to change drivers, he had managed to raise them as high as 5th. Taking the reins for the second half, Matsuda was also showing a very strong performance and for a while was running in 4th, with an eye on 3rd, but just missed out on an opportunity to pass the #36 RC F, after which he got embroiled in traffic and fell back down to 5th where he remained for the rest of the race. As for the #24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Daiki Sasaki/Lucas Ordonez), despite having shown some impressive pace in the morning s free practice, immediately after the race began, Ordonez started to feel some unusual sensations coming from the car and was forced into the pits. After drawing the car into the garage, it was determined that there was a problem with its turbocharger, making it impossible to continue the race and forcing them into an early retirement.
In the GT300 class, as with the previous round at Fuji, the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino/Mitsunori Takaboshi) began the final race from 2nd on the grid and the #10 GAINER TANAX GT-R (Andre Couto/Katsumasa Chiyo) started from 3rd. With Hoshino behind the wheel, the #3 GT-R jumped up into the lead in the opening lap and steadily began to increase his margin, building it to an impressive 10 seconds when he went into the pits. Taking over for the second half, Takaboshi also steadily ticked off laps while keeping a careful eye on his margin over the #10 GT-R in 2nd, and passed the checkered flag at class top. Coming in 2nd was the #10 GT-R, making this the second 1-2 GT-R finish following on from the previous round at Fuji.
- Comment from #46 GT-R driver Satoshi Motoyama
"This is my first win for a while so I m really happy. Last year here we were running in the lead when some trouble took victory out of our grasp, so I really wanted to make up for that this time around. It was a shame that we weren t able to get pole position in qualifying but I still went into the final race with a lot of confidence. I was able to carry out a good fight with (#38) Tachikawa and although I wasn t able to build that much of a margin, I was able to pass the baton to Yanagida while in the lead, which I think allowed him to carry out a comfortable race."
-Comment from #46 driver Masataka Yanagida
"I thought that there would only be a very narrow margin by the time it came to change drivers, but [Motoyama] built up a decent gap which really took the pressure off. In the middle of my stint the water temperature began to rise and I was a little nervous we would see a repeat of last year. But I put my faith in my team and drove with confidence. I m really happy to get a win for the first time in quite a while."
-Comment from MOLA team principal Toshiomi Oeki
"This is our first victory since 2012 so it s been a long road. It wasn t like the car was slow, we had numerous opportunities to win that we failed to capitalize on and the staff was really feeling the pressure. With this we ve managed to break out of that bad streak and its injected renewed vigor into the entire team. It s only round 3 so I think the series is just going to get more interesting from here. This is just the start."
-Comment from NDDP RACING team principal Masahiro Hasemi
"The state we brought the car in to Thailand was really good. Right from the start we were seeing good times. Races are won when everything goes according to plan. Just like today. The only thing we had to worry about was hurting the car but we came away with the win and got the highest number of points, which is huge. I want us to continue grabbing points throughout the remainder of the series and aim for the championship."
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||46||S Road MOLA GT-R||Satoshi Motoyama/Masataka Yanagida||1:38'26.734|
|2||6||ENEOS SUSTINA RC F||Kazuya Oshima/Yuji Kunimoto||7.931|
|3||17||KEIHIN NSX CONCEPT-GT||Koudai Tsukakoshi/Hideki Mutoh||19.727|
|4||12||CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R||Hironobu Yasuda/J.P.L.De Oliveira||21.083|
|5||1||MOTUL AUTECH GT-R||Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli||21.677|
|6||37||KeePer TOM'S RC F||Andrea Caldarelli/Ryo Hirakawa||26.281|
|7||39||DENSO KOBELCO RC F||Kohei Hirate/Heikki Kovalainen||34.340|
|8||36||PETRONAS TOM'S RC F||Daisuke Ito/James Rossiter||41.967|
|9||19||WedsSport ADVAN RC F||Juichi Wakisaka/Yuhi Sekiguchi||42.587|
|10||15||Drago Modulo NSX CONCEPT-GT||Takashi Kogure/Oliver Turvey||1Lap|
|-||24||D'station ADVAN GT-R||Daiki Sasaki/Lucas Ordonez||62Laps|
|Pos||No||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||3||B-MAX NDDP GT-R||Kazuki Hoshino/Mitsunori Takaboshi||1:39'13.186|
|2||10||GAINER TANAX GT-R||Andre Couto/Ryuichiro Tomita||9.231|
|3||7||Studie BMW Z4||Jorg Muller/Seiji Ara||26.749|
|-||30||NetMove GT-R||Hiroshi Koizumi/Yuki Iwasaki||47Laps|
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