September 30, 2020

Baguette to contest Fuji Super GT opener after all

Baguette had been expected to miss the first race of the 2020 season owing to Japan’s strict restrictions on foreign travellers entering the country in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, having been forced to skip last month’s Fuji pre-season test.

His place for the test in the #17 Honda NSX-GT alongside Koudai Tsukakoshi was taken by SUPER GT novice Yu Kanamaru.

However, an entry list for the Fuji race on July 18-19 names Baguette alongside Tsukakoshi as the Belgian driver has been granted entry to Japan.

It’s understood that Beguette was able to re-enter the country on humanitarian grounds, and has tested negative for COVID-19. He is currently serving a 14-day quarantine, but will complete this in plenty of time before the race.

His situation is in contrast to that of fellow European-based GT500 driver Heikki Kovalainen, who told Motorsport.com last week that he still isn’t able to travel to Japan.

Indeed, the Finnish driver’s place on the entry list in the #37 SARD Toyota GR Supra is taken as expected by reigning SUPER GT champion Kenta Yamashita, who deputised for Kovalainen during the Fuji test and set the fourth-fastest time.

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In the GT300 class, the entry list confirms that Hitotsuyama Audi driver Christopher Mies will be missing the Fuji race. His place alongside Shintaro Kawabata is taken by Tsubasa Kondo.

Likewise, JLOC Lamborghini regulars Dennis Lind and Andre Couto will miss the race. Yuya Motojima moves to the #88 Huracan GT3 to join ex-Honda GT500 driver Takashi Kogure, while Tsubasa Takahashi and Shinnosuke Yamada pair up in the sister #87 car.

However, Aston Martin factory driver Nicki Thiim is listed as racing alongside Tomonobu Fujii in the D’station Racing Vantage GT3 despite missing the Fuji test.

Of the teams that were absent for the test, Panther arto Team Thailand (Lexus RC F GT3) is not on the entry list, but R’Qs Motor Sports (Mercedes-AMG GT3) is listed, making for a total of 29 runners in the GT300 class and 44 cars in total.

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