Suzuka 1000km Hour 1: ZENT RC-F charges to the lead

BMW Team Studie did not even take the green flag. The #7 Studie BMW M6 (Seiji Ara/Jorg Muller/Augusto Farfus) was ruled as a DNS due to a pre-race engine failure.

Hideki Mutoh led the GT500 field to green under a somewhat routine start in his #15 Drago Modulo NSX, save for Yuhi Sekiguchi going two wheels on the damp grass in the #19 WedsSport RC-F and having it not end in tears.

From 2nd on the grid, Koki Saga in the #31 Toyota Prius GT sunk like a stone after starting the race on wet tyres while all of his rivals started on slick tyres, pitting on lap 5 and putting them out of sequence.

12 laps into a fierce battle between Joao Paulo de Oliveira in the #12 Calsonic GT-R and Yuji Tachikawa in the #38 ZENT Cerumo RC-F, Tachikawa used a bump draft to overhaul the Calsonic GT-R for third place in the first corner.

Things were looking good for the #46 S Road GT-R until it began to rapidly lose track position after being overtaken by Tachikawa for 2nd. Satoshi Motoyama pitted the GT-R on lap 16 to give the car to Mitsunori Takaboshi.

Just a few moments later, the #24 Forum Engineering GT-R (Masataka Yanagida) and the #6 Wako’s RC-F (Andrea Caldarelli) tangled in the S Curves, leaving the Forum Eng. GT-R stuck in the gravel, losing over a lap. More time was lost when Yanagida tried to get the car back on track, only to steer the car back into the gravel.

Tachikawa continued to put the pressure on Mutoh, finally taking the lead at the Casio Triangle on lap 22 as the tyres on the Drago NSX began to fall away.

Mutoh gave up 2nd to Oliveira out of Spoon Curve on lap 26, pitting the car that lap to hand the car over to co-driver Oliver Turvey.

Tachikawa pitted the leading ZENT RC-F from the lead on Lap 28, handing the car to Hiroaki Ishiura. Two laps later, the Calsonic GT-R pitted, Oliveira handing the car over to Hironobu Yasuda.

There was drama on lap 26 for the GT300 front runners. As the Subaru BRZ (Takuto Iguchi) and Gainer GT-R (Ryuchiro Tomita) exited the pits together, Tomita hit Iguchi in the S Curves, spinning the BRZ which suffered almost no damage despite gently nudging the tyre barriers. One lap later, the class-leading #18 Upgarage 86 MC pitted, pole winner Yuhki Nakayama handing over to Shinnosuke Yamada.

Running Order after 31/173 laps

GT500

1st: #38 ZENT RC-F (Tachikawa/Ishiura)

2nd: #12 Calsonic GT-R (Yasuda/Oliveira)

3rd: #46 S Road GT-R (Motoyama/Takaboshi)

4th: #19 WedsSport RC-F (Sekiguchi/Kunimoto)

5th: #15 Drago NSX (Mutoh/Turvey)

 

GT300

1st: #2 Syntium Lotus (Takahashi/Katoh/Makino)

2nd: #33 Excellence Porsche (Yamano/Sakamoto)

3rd: #25 VivaC 86 (Tsuchiya/Matsui/Yamashita)

4th: #21 Hitotsuyama Audi R8 (Fujii/Lyons)

5th: #48 Dijon GT-R (Takamori/Tanaka/Aoki)

 

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