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NISSAN GT-R finishes 9th in Fuji Round

Nissan GT-R Motorsports – SUPER GT 2008 Round 3 Race Report –

Round 3 of the 2008 SUPER GT took place on May 4th (Sunday) at Fuji Speedway (1 lap: 4.563kms), located in Oyama town, Shizuoka prefecture. All five NISSAN GT-R entries were saddled with added weight for the race in the form of a “Special Performance Adjustment”. The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R was the top qualifier in 10th, the car completing the race in 9th place.

The race, occurring in the middle of the Golden Week holidays, attracted 56,900 race fans to Fuji Speedway in warm but overcast and breezy conditions, the 500-kilometre event getting underway at 14:00. The NISSAN GT-R entries, after scoring consecutive 1-2 finishes in the first two rounds of the season, all finished down the order in qualifying after the imposition of the “Special Performance Adjustment”.

The lightest among the GT-Rs, the #24 KONDO Racing machine of Joao Paolo de Oliveira and Seiji Ara started 12th, but by the end of the opening lap had jumped to ninth. Starting driver Oliveira ran consistently, moving up one more position to eighth on lap 22. After all entries had made their routine pit stops and driver changes, the order settled down again on lap 40, and the car was running ninth. Seiji Ara continued the consistent pace, but on lap 66 a tyre blew, necessitating an unscheduled return to the pits and lost time. He went back out on track, but was unable to claw back the positions and ended the day 11th.

The #12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/Sebastien Philippe) started the day in 10th, but fell to 13th in the opening laps. Shortly after, a racing accident with the #22 GT-R caused the car to fall to 15th. The machine would rise as high as 7th in the latter stages but spun on its own on lap 81, settling into 10th and eventually finishing 9th.

Meanwhile the #3 YellowHat Tomica Moba Ho! GT-R suffered from mechanical problems, ending the race is the same position it started, 15th.

Neither of the two NISMO entries was able to reach the heights of the two previous races. NISSAN’s ace car, the #23 XANAVI NISMO GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama/Benoit Treluyer), was imposed the heaviest success ballast yet for its two consecutive wins. This, plus the Special Performance Adjustment, meant the car couldn’t show its previous prowess, and started 13th.

Every lap, the #23 machine was two seconds slower than the top cars, and though they saved their tyres and fuel with a one-stop strategy, the gap to the front was so big they were unable to improve their pace, finishing the day 14th.

Their teammates in the #22 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Michael Krumm/Masataka Yanagida) started 16th. The conditions in the car were favourable, and they were expected to move up in the early stages. However, a few problems, including making contact with the #12 car, the careless mistake by Yanagida resulting in a 10-second Stop and Go penalty, saw Krumm finish 10th – a points-scoring position. Unfortunately, on the last lap he made contact with another car while fighting for position, receiving a 35-second penalty, demoting the car to 12th.

Team Director Yoshitaka Iijima’s comments after the race:

It was an unfortunate result today. The #22 car was beset with misfortune and mistakes, but ran well. Therefore I regret that the drivers received three penalties. As for the #23 machine, it was just too heavy with the Special Performance Adjustment. We simply weren’t able to show the performance of the car all weekend. In SUPER GT, the regulations don’t allow a winner to keep on winning. Also, this time the Special Performance Adjustment was heavier than expected. However, from here the situation changes. We’ll reflect on this ahead of the next round at Sepang where we’ll be doing our level best for all of our fans.

Source: Nissan

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