Suzuka Test Session 4 – ARTA lead both classes in final session

Autobacs Racing Team Aguri took top honors in both categories in the final test session at Suzuka Circuit for the Super GT series, in preparation for the 45th running of the International Suzuka 1000km.

Tomoki Nojiri and Kosuke Matsuura set the benchmark for GT500 in the ARTA Honda NSX-GT, while the team’s sister car, the ARTA BMW M6 (Shinichi Takagi / Takashi Kobayashi), was quickest in GT300.Conditions improved dramatically from session three, but due to the persistent heavy rain, this fourth session was delayed, and ultimately shortened to a 1 hour 20 minute session from its original 2-hour window.

Nojiri’s best time of 1:55.503 was six tenths of a second better than that of the second-placed Wako’s LeMans Lexus RC-F of Kazuya Oshima and Andrea Caldarelli. Two Hondas got into the top three, as the Raybrig Team Kunimitsu NSX (Naoki Yamamoto / Takuya Izawa) was just 0.004 seconds behind the Wako’s RC-F.

Three more Lexuses filled positions four through six, the Denso SARD RC-F (Heikki Kovalainen / Kohei Hirate), the KeePer TOM’s RC-F (James Rossiter / Ryo Hirakawa), and the au TOM’s RC-F (Daisuke Ito / Nick Cassidy) which was quickest on Saturday morning.

The top Nissan was the seventh-placed Calsonic Impul GT-R of Hironobu Yasuda and J.P. Oliveira, with a gap of 1.819 seconds to Nojiri’s fastest lap.

Curiously, Bridgestone Potenza runners locked out the top ten positions in the wet weather. The S Road MOLA GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama / Katsumasa Chiyo) was the top Michelin runner in 11th, ahead of the Forum Engineering GT-R (Daiki Sasaki / Masataka Yanagida) which led the Yokohama Advan runners, and the sole Dunlop-shod Epson Nakajima Racing NSX (Daisuke Nakajima / Bertrand Baguette) was thirteenth.

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In GT300, Takashi Kobayashi headed the field with a 2:08.228 in his ARTA BMW on the same Bridgestone tyres that excelled in GT500. Dunlop had a good showing as well, with the Hitotsuyama Audi R8 of Richard Lyons and Tomonobu Fujii finishing second-fastest by two-tenths of a second.

The leading JAF GT300-spec car was the Subaru BRZ (Takuto Iguchi / Hideki Yamauchi), on Dunlop tyres, third-fastest in the session.

Despite a crash at the underpass exiting the Degner curves, the number 31 apr Toyota Prius GT of Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama still went fourth-fastest despite bringing out one of several red flags in the final session.

Early on, the ZENT Cerumo RC-F of Yuji Tachikawa stopped at the entry to the First Corner – bringing out a Safety Car to engage in some “real-world training” after a scheduled safety car training session was cancelled due to the weather.

Both Racing Project BANDOH cars, the GT500 WedsSport RC-F and the GT300 Upgarage Toyota 86, also went off-course during the session.

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