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Honda Scores First Pole for New Civic at Fuji

Real Racing duo Kakunoshin Ohta and Koudai Tsukakoshi top qualifying for SUPER GT’s Golden Week classic…

Photo: SUPER GT

Honda scored its first SUPER GT pole position with the all-new Civic Type R-GT, as Real Racing duo Kakunoshin Ohta and Koudai Tsukakoshi topped qualifying at Fuji Speedway.

Having posted the fastest lap in practice on Friday morning, Ohta proceeded to set the pace in the first segment of qualifying, ending up with a best time of 1:26.709 and leading an all-Honda top three.

Tsukakoshi was only third-fastest in Q2, outpaced by the NISMO Nissans of Katsumasa Chiyo and Atsushi Miyake, but his effort of 1:27.222 was enough for the No. 17 Real Honda to take the top time on aggregate by 0.408 seconds.

The No. 3 Nissan of Mitsunori Takaboshi and Miyake was second on aggregate, with Takaboshi only fifth-fastest in Q1, ahead of the sister No. 23 car in which Chiyo set the fastest time of Q2, a 1:27.077, but was only eighth-fastest in Q1 when Ronnie Quintarelli was at the wheel.

ARTA’s No. 8 Honda had been second after Q1 courtesy of Tomoki Nojiri’s best lap, but slipped to fourth in the final reckoning after Nobuharu Matsushita could only set the fifth-best time of Q2.

The Impul Nissan of Bertrand Baguette and Kazuki Hiramine was fifth on aggregate ahead of the Team Kunimitsu Honda of Naoki Yamamoto and Tadasuke Makino.

Toyota endured a session to forget, as the best of the GR Supras, the No. 14 Rookie Racing car of Kazuya Oshima and Nirei Fukuzumi, ended up down in seventh after a spin for Oshima in Q2.

The Okayama-winning No. 36 TOM’S Toyota of Sho Tsuboi and Kenta Yamashita was only 10th-fastest, carrying the maximum 46 kg of success ballast.

Ren Sato set his best lap in Q2 aboard the No. 16 ARTA Honda under yellow flags following Oshima’s spin, losing a lap that would have put he and teammate Hiroki Otsu second and dropping to 14th in the process.

JLOC Lamborghini Takes GT300 Pole

In GT300, the No. 88 JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Takashi Kogure and Yuya Motojima was fastest in both legs of qualifying en route to a comfortable pole position.

Yuya Motojima set the tempo in Q1 with a lap of 1:36.084, which Kogure narrowly bettered in Q2 with a 1:36.066 to produce an aggregate time of 3:12.150 for the No. 88 car, which is equipped an upgraded air intake this weekend.

That was 0.482 seconds up on their nearest rival, the Goodsmile Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, in which Tatsuya Kataoka topped his Q1 segment before Nobuteru Taniguchi set the fourth-best time in Q2.

Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daiki Sasaki line up third on the grid in the Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, boosted by a 30 kg weight break since the opening round at Okayama, ahead of the LEON Racing Mercedes of Naoya Gamou and Takuro Shinohara.

Inging Toyota GR Supra pair Hibiki Taira and Yuui Tsutsumi were fifth despite carrying 44 kg of success ballast for their win at Okayama.

D’station Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo showed promise as Tomonobu Fujii lost a lap good enough for third in his Q1 segment due to a track limits violation, which put he and new teammate Charlie Fagg in the lower group of Q2.

But SUPER GT debutant Fagg proceeded to produce the best lap of all in GT300, a 1:35.835, to lift the No. 777 car up to 19th on aggregate times.

Gainer’s new Nissan Z made its competitive debut in Q1 with Ryuichiro Tomita an encouraging fourth in that segment, but the car didn’t leave the garage in Q2 and is therefore set to start the race from the pits.

The three-hour Fuji race begins Saturday at 1:30 p.m. local time (12:30 a.m. EDT).

RESULTS: GT500/GT300 (1-16)/GT300 (17-27)

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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