Nissan wins again in Super GT at Sugo
MEDIA RELEASE: Nissan has continued its run of success in Super GT in 2016 winning its third consecutive race of the year with the No.24 Forum Engineering ADVAN GT-R using a daring strategy to claim victory.
Masataka Yanagida and Daiki Sasaki took the victory which follows the success of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli who claimed the opening two races of year.
Despite light rain overnight, all cars started on dry rubber with veteran Yanagida taking charge of the first stint from ninth place on the grid behind the wheel of the #24 GT-R.
Contact actually forced the No.24 further back down the order but after 10 laps Yanagida had come back to 11th and by lap 26 he had risen as high as sixth place when an accident occurred at the final corner.
At this point the team elected to gamble to not change tyres and when Yanagida switched to Sasaki on lap 30, they had much quicker pit stop –only requiring fuel.
By the time all other competitors had completed their routine pit stops Sasaki was sitting in the lead.
From then on his rivals pushed hard on their fresh tires, but Sasaki was still faster in the final corner and would not give anyone an opening to get past.
Despite enormous pressure, Sasaki was still in front with six laps remaining when a red flag brought the race to an end early, sealing the win.
“SUGO is a course that presents very few overtaking opportunities and I take pride in being able to conserve tires.” Sasaki said.
“I won’t deny that the tire conditions got a little difficult towards the end but even if the race had continued for the last few laps I’m confident I could have held the competition at bay until the end, somehow or another.”
Matsuda and Quintarelli battled their 80kg success ballast en route to a ninth place finish while an additional pit stop hampered Katsumasa Chiyo and Satoshi Motoyama – pushing them back to 13th.
As for the No.12 GT-R, a race incident saw it stop on the course in the middle of the race and ultimately retire.
In the GT300 class, the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Jann Mardenborough) started from 21st on the grid, but recorded a phenomenal comeback drive to finish in fifth place.
Although they unfortunately lost their top spot in the point rankings, they are still sitting comfortably in second, not far behind the leader.