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2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT : Dead heat race through the final lap. ZENT CERUMO SC430 wins season opener

Written By Nathen Bridgwater on Monday, April 2, 2012 | 9:17 AM

GT-500 Winners : Yuji Tachikawa / Kohei Hirate - ZENT CERUMO SC430 w LEXUS SC430

On the afternoon of April 1, the Okayama GT 300km Race, Round 1 of the 2012 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, took place at the Okayama International Circuit in Okayama Pref. The winner in the GT500 class was the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Kohei Hirate. The winner of the GT300 class was the GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS (Audi) driven by Tetsuya Tanaka and Katsuyuki Hiranaka.

SC430, GT-R and HSV-010 battle it out in the first half


The wind was chilly but the skies were only partly cloudy with no fear of rain at Okayama Circuit for Sunday's race. As the start of the season's opening race neared, the air temperature was 10 degrees C. and the track was dry with a surface temperature of 15 degrees C. The race began from a rolling start at 2:00 and after the first lap the stage was set for 82 laps of tough competition.

Starting from pole position, the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Kohei Hirate) dashed successfully into the lead. Behind it the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 (Loic Duval) collided with the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Takuya Izawa) but still managed to emerge in 2nd position. The No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Satoshi Motoyama) followed in 3rd and the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R rose to 4th position, with the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 dropping to 5th.

Driving from pole position for the first time in a GT500 race, Hirate in the leading No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 managed to open up a 2-second margin of lead over the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430. On the fourth lap, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R mounted a fierce charge to close the gap on the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430, recording the fastest lap of the race (1'24.450) in the process.

From around the sixth lap the leaders began to come up behind the GT300 class back markers, and having dispensed with the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R began to close the gap slowly on Hirate in the lead. However, making skillful use of the back markers, Hirate managed to maintain a 4.8 second lead over Motoyama at around the 15th lap.

The gap between the two leaders began to narrow again from the 17th lap. As the margin closed visibly with each lap between these two machines fighting for the lead, behind them the No. 1 S Road REITO MOLA GT-R (Ronnie Quintarelli) was passed by the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 as it got caught behind a GT300 back marker entering the Attwood Curve on lap 23. Now in 4th position Izawa began narrowing the gap on Duval in third place. Eventually Izawa managed to pass Duval to the inside on the Mike Knight Corner on lap 28 and recover to 3rd position, but by this time the gap with the two lead machines had grown to a formidable nine seconds.


Breath-taking battle between the veteran Tachikawa and young Yamamoto

As they pulled away from the rest of the field, the margin between the leading No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 and the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R hovered within a few a few fractions of 1.5 seconds. This tightly contested battle for the lead finally saw a decisive move on the 33rd lap. Coming out of the Attwood Curve, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R began to pull up alongside the leading No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 and then managed to take the inside on the following hairpin and pass No. 38 into the lead.


As the air temperature and the track temperature continued to rise, the teams began to make their routine pit stops after the 30th lap. Among the front group, the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 and the No. 8 ARTA HSV-010 were the first to return to the pit at the end of the 34th lap, where they changed drivers to Kazuki Nakajima and Takashi Kobayashi respectively. Having hung on close to the fleeing No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, Hirate in the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 made his pit stop on lap 36 and turned over the wheel to Tachikawa.



Seeing this, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R and the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 made their pit stops on the next lap. With fast pit work, the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 managed to return to the race in front of the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 and move effectively into 2nd position. However, having been unable to pick up the pace on its first lap out of the pit as in the early stages of the race, the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Michael Krumm) was passed by the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Naoki Yamamoto) on the hairpin of lap 38. Next No. 23 was also passed by the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 (Tachikawa) on the home straight of the following lap.



When the No. 24 D'station ADVAN GT-R (Bjorn Wirdheim) finally made its delayed pit stop on lap 44, the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Yamamoto) found itself in the lead. But, just 0.7 seconds behind Yamamoto at this time came the charging No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430. The veteran Tachikawa (No. 38) put on the pressure by pulling alongside the fleeing Yamamoto (No. 100) from time to time, but by mid-stint the pace of the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 was faster and by lap 56, Yamamoto had built up a lead of up to four seconds.



That lead didn't last, however. Due to factors like the timing of encounters with back markers, the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 rapidly closed the gap again. Finally Tachikawa was able to make a move coming out of the hairpin of lap 69 and then take Yamamoto's inside on the ensuing Revolver Corner to slip into the lead.



With few laps remaining, it looked as if the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 was on its way to victory, but Yamamoto wasn't going to give up. Closing in on the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 as its tire wear worsened in the closing laps, Yamamoto overtook Tachikawa on the second of the double hairpins of lap 81 to regain the lead.



Yamamoto went on that way to enter the final lap in the lead, but Tachikawa wasn't going to give up the chance for a win either. Entering the final hairpin to the inside of the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010, Tachikawa succeeded in turning the tables again at the last moment!



In this dramatic finish that saw the lead change hands twice in the final laps, it was the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 that emerged victorious in the opening round of the 2012 series. After a strong performance, the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 settled for a somewhat disappointing 2nd place. In 3rd came the No. 17 KEIHIN HSV-010 (Koudai Tsukakoshi), having passed the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 (Nakajima) on the last corner of the 81st lap. When the No. 36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 overran the Revolver Corner on the last lap, it was passed once again and had to settle for 5th place. Finishing 4th was the No. 23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R.




GT-300 Winners : Tetsuya Tanaka / Katsuyuki Hiranaka - GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS w 
Audi R8-LMS ultra / CJJ


GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS scores come-from-behind win Audi R8 debts with an impressive victory

ENDLESS TAISAN 911 leads strongly from pole position


Before the start of the GT300 class race, it was determined that the No. 43 ARTA Garaiya (Shinichi Takagi/Kosuke Matsuura) would be unable to start the race with the tires it had used in the previous day's Q2 qualifying as regulations specified. The team was allowed to change tire, but that meant a pit start for No. 43. This put 23 machines on the dummy grid.

As the race began, the pole-sitting No. 911 ENDLESS TAISAN 911 (Naoki Yokomizo) stormed into the lead. As expected, it was followed by another Porsche, the No. 33 HAKOOK PORSHE (Masami Kageyama), with one of the debuting AudiR8 LMS Ultra machines, the No. 11 GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS (Tetsuya Tanaka), locked in close behind. Behind these three followed the new FIA GT3 type No. 88 MANEPA LAMBORGHINI GT3 (Manabu Orido) and No. 87 JLOC LAMBORGHINI GT3 (Hideki Yamauchi), but the surprise of all, the two Lamborghini machines collided with each other, sending No. 88 off the course to return to the race at the very tail of the pack, while No. 87 was given a drive-through penalty that took it out of competition for the win. Seeing how Koji Yamanishi would drive car No. 87 at a pace faster than the leaders in the second half of the race, this was very disappointing accident for the team. (Yamanishi would eventually crash in the latter stages and not finish the race.)

Running in the lead, Yokomizo in the No. 911 was pressured from behind several times by Tanaka in car No. 11, who had passed Kageyama in car No. 33 to take 2nd position. Still, Yokomizo (No. 911) was able to retain the lead until he made his routine pit stop on lap 41. In the second half of the race, the No. 911 ENDLESS TAISAN 911 (Kyosuke Mineo) would lead the chasing No. 11 GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS (Katsuyuki Hiranaka) by more than ten seconds at one point.


Dramatic upset in the closing laps! Trouble and drama fill the second half


Despite the No. 911 Porsche's formidable lead at one point, the No.11 Audi in 2nd position began to close the gap rapidly with about 30 laps remaining in the race. Mineo's pace in car No. 911 was fluctuating between 1'32 and 1'33, while Hiranaka in car No. 11 was running at a pace in the 1'31 range lap after lap and closing the gap quickly. After the 68th lap, Hiranaka was locked on to Mineo's tail.

When the No.11 GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS finally took the lead away from the No. 911 Porsche on lap 81, the ENDLESS TAISAN 911 machine, which had been suffering from poor balance, was unable to recoup.

The No. 11 GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS (Hiranaka) ran an impressive race to take the victory. With this, the Audi R8 LMS Ultra was able to win its debut SUPER GT race. For Tanaka, Hiranaka and the team, this was their first win since round eight at Autopolis in 2009. Finishing 2nd was the No. 911 ENDLESS TAISAN 911. Having lost a race they seemed sure to win in the closing stages, neither driver was able to hide his disappointment after the race.

Finishing 3rd after a race full of ups and downs was the No. 0 GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW (Nobuteru Taniguchi/Tatsuya Kataoka). Last year's championship team started the race in 7th position after a difficult qualifying. Once the race started No. 0 was able to hold its position with steady running. Finishing the first stint, Kataoka returned for the routine pit stop in 6th position. After that, the team's ace driver, Taniguchi, charged hard through the front group, while also benefiting from the accidents that took the No. 3 S Road NDDP GT-R (driven by Katsumasa Chiyo at the time of the collision and Yuhi Sekiguchi in the second half) and the No. 87 JLOC LAMBORGHINI GT3 (Yamanishi) out of competition for the lead. In the closing stages of the race Taniguchi managed to get past the No. 33 HANKOOK PORSCHE (Tomonobu Fujii) and claim the final spot on the podium.

As for the No. 31 apr HASEPRO PRIUS GT (Morio Nitta > Koki Saga) that had qualified fastest among the Japanese GT300 machines in 6th place, machine trouble forced it to make a number of pit stops. Another new machine making its debut, the No. 61 SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Tetsuya Yamano > Kota Sasaki) had to retire from the race due to drive train trouble.



Yuji Tachikawa / Kohei Hirate : Tetsuya Tanaka / Katsuyuki Hiranaka

Winner Comments

GT500 No.38 ZENT CERUMO SC430

Yuji Tachikawa : "Today's race had me pushing and concentrating 100% in each and every lap. When we lost the lead I was worried that it was going to be tough to come back. I got passed and lost the lead just before going into the final lap, but I didn't give up and kept pushing hard. At the end it was simply a battle of pride and will power. I am very glad that we were able to win here at the opening round in Okayama where the SC430 teams have often had a hard time in the past. The next round is at Fuji, where the SC430 has always done well. Even though we will be carrying a weight handicap because of today's win, I want to try to make it two victories in a row there."

Kohei Hirate : "To tell the truth, this victory has a bit of a bitter taste for me. Thanks to Tachikawa-san we were able to get the pole position and win the race today. As a result we were able to start the season off well like this, unlike in previous years. We hadn't been able to run enough test laps on a dry track, so I was just out there in my stint in the first half of the race to push as hard as I could to see how fast and how far I could run in the lead, so that we could figure out how to manage the tires and the overall race. I was just hoping that I could be among the leaders when I turned the wheel over to Tachikawa-san. That is all I had in mind as I drove today."

GT300 No.11 GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS

Tetsuya Tanaka : "Last year we were always finishing 2nd. Although we won the Fuji Sprint Cup the year before last, during the regular season we didn't have a single win. So, this is our first regular season win since changing to Dunlop tires. So, I am just simply very happy to get this win. Also, like last year, the team prepared us with a good machine but I had a crash in the preseason test that put an extra load of work on our mechanics. I hope that today's win has made up for all that. We have a faster machine this year and that made it a lot more fun to race today."

Katsuyuki Hiranaka : "In last year's opening round we ended up in 2nd place because of a spin I made. So, I was determined to make up for that today for that today. For that reason I am especially happy about this win. I was sure that it would come down to a one-on-one battle with the Porsche (No. 911) today, so after I took the wheel from Tanaka-san I was expecting to push hard get on its tail right away. But, the refueling had taken longer than usual and I found myself farther behind than I had anticipated. Still, the tires performed well and I was able to keep pushing until I got on the Porsche's tail and then go past it to in."



2012 SUPER GT - Round 1 : Okayama GT 300 km. : GT500-RACE Result


PoNoMachineDriverTime/Diff.LapsBest LapTireWH
138ZENT CERUMO SC430
LEXUS SC430 / RV8KG
Yuji Tachikawa
Kohei Hirate
2:01'21.776821'24.897BS
2100RAYBRIG HSV-010
Honda HSV-010 GT / HR10EG
Takuya Izawa
Naoki Yamamoto
0.588821'24.825BS
317KEIHIN HSV-010
Honda HSV-010 GT / HR10EG
Toshihiro Kaneishi
Koudai Tsukakoshi
14.826821'25.470BS
423MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
NISSAN GT-R / VRH34B
Satoshi Motoyama
Michael Krumm
17.566821'24.450BS
536PETRONAS TOM'S SC430
LEXUS SC430 / RV8KG
Kazuki Nakajima
Loic Duval
29.504821'24.855BS
68ARTA HSV-010
Honda HSV-010 GT / HR10EG
Ralph Firman
Takashi Kobayashi
32.165821'24.893BS
718weider HSV-010
Honda HSV-010 GT / HR10EG
Takashi Kogure
Carlo Van Dam
35.062821'25.569BS
81S Road REITO MOLA GT-R
NISSAN GT-R / VRH34B
Masataka Yanagida
Ronnie Quintarelli
36.517821'24.825MI
939DENSO KOBELCO SC430
LEXUS SC430 / RV8KG
Juichi Wakisaka
Hiroaki Ishiura
48.736821'25.419MI
1012CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R
NISSAN GT-R / VRH34B
Tsugio Matsuda
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
53.262821'25.595BS
1124D'station ADVAN GT-R
NISSAN GT-R / VRH34B
Hironobu Yasuda
Bjorn Wirdheim
1Lap811'26.006YH
1219WedsSport ADVAN SC430
LEXUS SC430 / RV8KG
Seiji Ara
Andre Couto
1Lap811'25.734YH
136ENEOS SUSTINA SC430
LEXUS SC430 / RV8KG
Daisuke Ito
Kazuya Oshima
5Laps771'25.563BS

2012 SUPER GT - Round 1 : Okayama GT 300 km. : GT300-RACE Result


PoNoMachineDriverTime/Diff.LapsBest LapTireWH
111GAINER DIXCEL R8 LMS
Audi R8-LMS ultra / CJJ
Tetsuya Tanaka
Katsuyuki Hiranaka
2:02'20.303781'31.143DL
2911ENDLESS TAISAN 911
PORSCHE 911 GT3 R / M97/79
Kyosuke Mineo
Naoki Yokomizo
3.766781'30.854YH
30GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW
BMW Z4 GT3 / P65B44
Nobuteru Taniguchi
Tatsuya Kataoka
1Lap771'31.603YH
415ART TASTE PORSCHE
PORSCHE 911 GT3 R / M97/79
Tim Bergmeister
Takeshi Tsuchiya
1Lap771'31.108YH
533HANKOOK PORSCHE
PORSCHE 911 GT3 R / M97/79
Masami Kageyama
Tomonobu Fujii
1Lap771'30.996HK
643ARTA Garaiya
ARTA Garaiya / VQ35DE
Shinichi Takagi
Kosuke Matsuura
1Lap771'32.061BS
72EVANGELION RT TEST TYPE-01 Apple Shiden
Shiden MC/RT-16 / 1UZ-FE
Kazuho Takahashi
Hiroki Katoh
2Laps761'32.616YH
830IWASAKI MODA KUROCO apr R8
Audi R8-LMS ultra / CJJ
Yuki Iwasaki
Yuya Sakamoto
2Laps761'31.951YH
921ZENT Audi R8 LMS
Audi R8-LMS / CJJ
Akihiro Tsuzuki
Cyndie Allemann
2Laps761'32.771YH
1027PACIFIC NAC IKAMUSUME FERRARI
Ferrari F430 GTC / F136GT
Yutaka Yamagishi
Takuto Iguchi
2Laps761'32.953YH
1166triple a Vantage GT2
Aston Martin V8 Vantage / V8
Hiroki Yoshimoto
Kazuki Hoshino
2Laps761'33.210YH
1252GREEN TEC & LEON SLS
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 / M159
Hironori Takeuchi
Haruki Kurosawa
3Laps751'32.253YH
13360RUNUP CORVETTE
CALLAWAY CORVETTE Z06R GT3 / LS7
Atsushi Tanaka
Yasushi Kikuchi
3Laps751'34.229YH
1485JLOC Exe LAMBORGHINI RG3
GALLARDO RG-3 / 07L1
Sakamoto Yuya
Msaki Kanou
3Laps751'33.858YH
154GSR ProjectMirai BMW
BMW Z4 GT3 / P65B44
Taku Bamba
Masahiro Sasaki
4Laps741'33.522YH
1622R'Qs Vemac 350R
Vemac RD350R / ZK348
Hisashi Wada
Masaki Jyonai
4Laps741'33.270YH
1788MANEPA LAMBORGHINI GT3
GALLARDO LP600+ GT3 / TBN
Manabu Orido
Takayuki Aoki
4Laps741'31.566YH
1820Racerbook Audi R8 LMS
Audi R8-LMS / CJJ
Michael Kim
Hideki Noda
5Laps731'33.994YH
193S Road NDDP GT-R
NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 / VR38DETT
Yuhi Sekiguchi
Katsumasa Chiyo
5Laps731'30.853YH
205MachgogogosyakenFerrari458
Ferrari 458 GT3 / F142
Tetsuji Tamanaka
Masayuki Ueda
9Laps691'33.106YH
2187JLOC LAMBORGHINI GT3
GALLARDO LP600+ GT3 / TBN
Kouji Yamanishi
Hideki Yamauchi
16Laps621'31.405YH

2012 SUPER GT : GT500 Drivers Championship Ranking


PoNo.Rd1Rd2Rd3Rd4Rd5Rd6Rd7Rd8TotalBehindWH
138Yuji Tachikawa
Kohei Hirate
2020-40
2100Takuya Izawa
Naoki Yamamoto
1515-530
317Toshihiro Kaneishi
Koudai Tsukakoshi
1111-922
423Satoshi Motoyama
Michael Krumm
88-1216
536Kazuki Nakajima
Loic Duval
66-1412
68Ralph Firman
Takashi Kobayashi
55-1510
718Takashi Kogure
Carlo Van Dam
44-168
81Masataka Yanagida
Ronnie Quintarelli
33-176
939Juichi Wakisaka
Hiroaki Ishiura
22-184
1012Tsugio Matsuda
Joao Paulo de Oliveira
11-192


2012 SUPER GT : GT300 Drivers Championship Ranking


PoNo.Rd1Rd2Rd3Rd4Rd5Rd6Rd7Rd8TotalBehindWH
111Tetsuya Tanaka
Katsuyuki Hiranaka
2020-40
2911Kyosuke Mineo
Naoki Yokomizo
1515-530
30Nobuteru Taniguchi
Tatsuya Kataoka
1111-922
415Tim Bergmeister
Takeshi Tsuchiya
88-1216
533Masami Kageyama
Tomonobu Fujii
66-1412
643Shinichi Takagi
Kosuke Matsuura
55-1510
72Kazuho Takahashi
Hiroki Katoh
44-168
830Yuki Iwasaki
Yuya Sakamoto
33-176
921Akihiro Tsuzuki
Cyndie Allemann
22-184
1027Yutaka Yamagishi
Takuto Iguchi
11-192


Images :  2012 SUPER GT - Round 1 : Okayama GT 300 km. Race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Source: SUPER GT- Official]
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