October 23, 2020

Fuji Super GT: Fukuzumi delivers ARTA Honda pole

Ex-Formula 2 racer Fukuzumi posted a time of 1m27.130s to put the #8 NSX-GT he shares with Tomoki Nojiri almost half a second clear of the opposition in the Q2 pole shootout, helped by only carrying 8kg of success ballast this weekend.

The #12 Impul Nissan GT-R, the only car in the GT500 field carrying no success handicap, set the pace in practice in the hands of Daiki Sasaki and was also the car to beat in Q1, when Kazuki Hiramine set the benchmark time of 1m28.032s.

That time was just enough for Hiramine to edge out Nojiri, but the roles were reversed in Q2 as Sasaki could only manage a 1m27.620s, 0.490s down on Fukuzumi’s time.

Tomoki Nojiri, Nirei Fukuzumi(#8 ARTA NSX-GT)

Tomoki Nojiri, Nirei Fukuzumi(#8 ARTA NSX-GT)

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Third-fastest was the Bandoh Toyota GR Supra driven by Yuji Kunimoto, a further 0.068s behind Sasaki, with early pacesetter Jann Mardenborough making it an all-Yokohama second row in the Kondo Racing Nissan in fourth.

Heikki Kovalainen was fifth-fastest in the SARD Toyota followed by Ronnie Quintarelli in the #23 NISMO GT-R, the heaviest car in Q2 with its 50kg success handicap.

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Completing the top eight were Kohei Hirate in the NDDP/B-Max Nissan and the remaining Yokohama runner, the Mugen Honda of Hideki Mutoh.

Not surprisingly, all six cars carrying fuel restrictors struggled on SUPER GT’s most power-dependent circuit, and were all eliminated in Q1.

The closest to scraping through was Hiroaki Ishiura in the #38 Cerumo Toyota, which will start from ninth, followed by the two TOM’S GR Supras of Yuhi Sekiguchi and Nick Cassidy and the second #14 Cerumo car of Kazuya Oshima.

Naoki Yamamoto could only muster 13th in the #100 Team Kunimitsu Honda, while the points-leading #17 Real Racing Honda, the only car in the field carrying a stage three fuel restrictor, was 15th and last in the hands of Koudai Tsukakoshi, 1.6s off the pace.

GT300: Second pole for Inging

Inging Motorsport scored its second pole of the season thanks to Kazuko Kotaka, who went almost four tenths clear of the field in the Toyota 86 MC he shares with Ryohei Sakaguchi.

#6 ADVICS muta MC86

#6 ADVICS muta MC86

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Yuichi Nakayama had topped his Q1 group in the #31 apr Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport, but teammate Koki Saga fell 0.385s short of Kotaka in Q2 and had to settle for second.

Third-fastest was Togo Suganami aboard the Motegi-winning LEON Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which is one of three carrying the maximum 100kg success handicap versus just 9kg and 15kg respectively the top two qualifiers.

Likewise shrugging off its 100kg of ballast was the works-entered Subaru BRZ in fourth, while the Saitama Toyopet Toyota GR Supra GT300 that won the season-opening race at Fuji was fifth-fastest despite its 75kg handicap and the Cars Tokai Dream28 Lotus Evora MC that won the second Fuji race was eighth with its 93kg penalty.

The championship-leading Gainer Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 could manage only 11th, one place ahead of the ARTA NSX GT3 – which was fastest in its Q1 segment courtesy of Toshiki Oyu before slipping to 12th in the hands of veteran teammate Shinichi Takagi.

GT500 qualifying results:

Pos. No. Team/Car Drivers Q1 Q2
1 8 ARTA Honda

Japan Tomoki Nojiri

Japan Nirei Fukuzumi

1m28.063s 1m27.130s
2 12

Impul Nissan

Japan Daiki Sasaki

Japan Kazuki Hiramine

1m28.032s 1m27.620s
3 19 Bandoh Toyota

Japan Yuji Kunimoto

Japan Ritomo Miyata

1m28.111s 1m27.688s
4 24 Kondo Nissan

United Kingdom Jann Mardenborough

Japan Mitsunori Takaboshi

1m28.218s 1m27.809s
5 39 SARD Toyota

Japan Yuichi Nakayama

Finland Heikki Kovalainen

1m28.362s

1m28.088s
6 23 NISMO Nissan

Italy Ronnie Quintarelli

Japan Tsugio Matsuda 

1m28.308s

1m28.310s
7 3 NDDP/B-Max Nissan

Japan Kohei Hirate

Japan Katsumasa Chiyo

1m28.541s

1m28.481s
8 16 Mugen Honda

Japan Hideki Mutoh

Japan Ukyo Sasahara

1m28.326s 1m28.493s
9 38 Cerumo Toyota

Japan Hiroaki Ishiura

Japan Yuji Tachikawa

1m28.683s  
10 36 TOM’S Toyota

Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi

France Sacha Fenestraz

1m28.755s  
11 37 TOM’S Toyota

New Zealand Nick Cassidy

Japan Ryo Hirakawa

1m28.776s  
12 14 Cerumo Toyota

Japan Kazuya Oshima

Japan Sho Tsuboi

1m28.829s  
13 100 Kunimitsu Honda

Japan Naoki Yamamoto

Japan Tadasuke Makino

1m28.856s  
14 64 Nakajima Honda

Japan Takuya Izawa

Japan Hiroki Otsu

1m28.946s  
15 17 Real Racing Honda

Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi

Belgium Bertrand Baguette

1m29.688s  

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