Nissan press release
Round 5 of SUPER GT was held at Sportsland SUGO. The XANAVI NISMO Z (#23) with Satoshi Motoyama and Tsugio Matsuda took a 2nd place finish after an exciting and fierce battle. The MOTUL AUTECH Z (#22) with Michael Krumm and Richard Lyons started from 5th, finishing on the 3rd step of the podium. The number of spectators totaled 50,100.
The 81 lap race was a series of battles between the #1 SC430 which established a comfortable lead in the beginning and the #23 Z attempting to over take the position. The #23 Z was able to overtake the #1 SC430 in the middle of the race, but eventually was re-passed at the very end. Tsugio Matsuda in the #23 Z started the race from 4th and had to deal with the #100 NSX immediately ahead of him. As there are very few opportunities to overtake at Sugo, the car finally found a chance to grab 3rd place on lap 13. Later, Matsuda chased after the #32 NSX in 2nd place and 12 seconds ahead of him. On lap 34, Matsuda overtook the Honda and returned to the pits on lap 38 to hand the car over to Satoshi Motoyama. Because the leading #1 SC430 took time in the pits, Motoyama was able to get out on track ahead of him. Normally, cars that have just left the pits struggle with low grip but Motoyama was able to keep his position ahead of the #1 SC430 which had taken its stop a few laps before the Nissan. On lap 52, Motoyama took the lead, and for almost 20 laps, had a fierce battle with the #1 SC430. Eventually, on lap 72, Motoyama had to give way to the #1 SC430 at the final corner as he got caught behind a back marker. Motoyama was now in pursuit, but with very few laps remaining, the tires were too wasted to return to the top. The car finished the race in 2nd place.
Michael Krumm was behind the wheel again to start the race from 5th pace for the #22 Z. The car lost one position but maintained a steady pace behind the predecessor until returning to the pits on lap 37. Richard Lyons then took over, and after swift pit work, the car returned to the track. On lap 52, after a fierce pursuit and due to others being penalized, the car was promoted to 3rd place. Lyons then kept up a good pace and avoided the challenge of the cars behind until the end, finishing the race in 3rd place.
The CALSONIC IMPUL Z (#12) with Benoit Treluyer and Kazuki Hoshino started the race from 9th. After spinning out on lap 5, the car fell to 13th, but with a fierce pursuit, it became a provisional leader for more than 10 laps during the middle of the race. It then returned to the pits for the mandatory driver change, and finished the race taking points for 6th place. The WOODONE ADVAN KONDO Z (#24) with Masataka Yanagida and Seiji Ara started from 13th and finished successfully in 10th without any major problems during the race. The YellowHat YMS Tomica Z (#3) with Naoki Yokomizo and Joao Paulo de Oliveira started from the pits and had no way of recovering the 30 seconds lost, and finished the race in 13th place.
Yoshitaka Iijima, NISMO team director quoted after the race: Ã¢â‚¬Å“This week, we had many measures to let the car run fast. Matsuda worked very hard on the #23 and Motoyama gave us thrilling excitement with his really professional drive. I know we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take the win but I feel that our car and tactics were correct. The #22 also had a good fight although it was very heavy with the handicap weight. I think that the drivers fought hard to do their job and the overall strength of the team, along with the zealous support of our fans, brought about the result of this race. I know that the next race in Suzuka will be more difficult with the long battle in severe weather. We should prepare and test our cars, focusing on reliability. We hope our fans will support us even more at Suzuka as we face such a challenge.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a real Ã¢â‚¬ËœvictoryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Satoshi Motoyama, the driver of the #23 Z. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But Matsuda fought well and the team did a great job in bringing us back to the field in a favorable condition. I too pushed hard and it was the best race possible under the circumstances. If we could keep such potential, I am very sure we can win races from now on.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Tsugio Matsuda, the starting driver of the #23 Z added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“The team let me take the wheel at the start and I was glad to hand over to Satoshi after overtaking 2 cars. It was unfortunate the car lost a position, but there really wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t anything for us to do about it. The car is getting stronger, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In the GT300 class, the Kiccho Houzan DIREZZA Z (#46 Kota Sasaki /Taku Bamba) won the category and the ENDLESSADVAN CCI Z (#13) with Masami Kageyama and Tomonobu Fujii followed in 2nd place. The Nissan Z cars were remarkable in both classes.