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Hondas Lock Out Front Row at Okayama

KEIHIN NSX-GT qualifies on pole at Okayama ahead of ARTA NSX-GT in Honda front-row sweep…

Photo: Super GT

The KEIHIN Honda NSX-GT scored pole position in the GT500 class as the 2018 Super GT season got underway at Okayama International Circuit on Saturday, with Hondas locking out the front row. 

While it rained during Free Practice, weather conditions improved before qualifying started under cloudy skies. 

Forum Engineering’s ADVAN GT-R got the top result in Qualifying 1 after intense time attacks in the closing stages, followed by the RAYBRIG NSX-GT in second, and the KEIHIN NSX-GT in third.

Meanwhile, the 2017 championship-winning KeePer Tom’s LC500 and Heikki Kovalainen’s Denso Kobelco Sard LC500 were unable to make it past Q1 into the second session.

A sudden downpour affected conditions after the session and although it stopped before starting GT500 Q2, conditions became more challenging as the track was still wet.

The duration of Q2 has been cut by ten minutes this year and the eight cars which were advanced to Q2 entered the track one after another to warm tires.

In this session, Koudai Tukakoshi’s KEIHIN NSX-GT emerged on top almost at the checkered flag with a time of 1:26.905.

His rivals made attempts to improve, but they could not reach his time, giving the Bridgestone-shod car pole position for the season opener.

The ARTA NSX-GT was second, driven by Takuya Izawa, which meant Hondas will start from first and second.

Satoshi Motoyama was third in the Craftsports MOTUL GT-R with Michelin tires, and fourth was Kazuya Oshima who co-drives with Felix Rosenqvist in the WAKO’s 4CR LC500.

Jenson Button’s RAYBRIG NSX-GT came up to 4th just before the checkered flag but he lost the lead to Oshima and ended up qualifying fifth.

Lamborghini factory driver Marco Mapelli took the GT300 class pole in the Manepa Lamborghini Huracan GT3, on the driver’s Super GT debut.

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