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NISMO Nissans Romp to 1-2 Finish at Fuji

Mitsunori Takaboshi, Atsushi Miyake deliver first SUPER GT victory for updated Nissan Z GT500 in Golden Week classic…


Nissan scored a one-two finish in the second round of the SUPER GT season at Fuji Speedway as Mitsunori Takaboshi and Atsushi Miyake dominated the series’ first-ever timed race in the No. 3 NDDP NISMO Z.

Takaboshi and Miyake never looked threatened at the head of the field over the course of the three-hour Golden Week contest, as Takaboshi swept ahead of poleman Koudai Tsukakoshi in the Real Racing Honda Civic Type R-GT at the first corner.

The sister No. 23 NISMO Nissan of Katsumasa Chiyo and Ronnie Quintarelli came through for second place, 13 seconds behind at the finish, with Tsukakoshi and Kakunoshin Ohta claiming the final spot on the podium.

Takaboshi was able to break away from the rest of the GT500 field in the opening stint after going around the outside of Tsukakoshi to grab the lead at Turn 1, with Chiyo remaining stuck in third place behind the No. 17 Honda in the early laps.

That was until lap 23 of an eventual 117, when Chiyo managed to pass Tsukakoshi at Turn 1 for second, by which point he had fallen just over three seconds behind Takaboshi in the sister car.

Takaboshi and Tsukakoshi both stayed on board their respective cars for the second stint, but Chiyo handed over to Quintarelli on his stop on lap 38.

The Italian driver struggled throughout his stint, dropping behind not only Tsukakoshi in the fight for second but also the No. 8 ARTA Honda of Tomoki Nojiri on lap 71 before pitting to hand the No. 23 Nissan back to Chiyo.

Takaboshi pitted from the lead on lap 75 to hand over to Miyake, with the ARTA car, now in the hands of Nobuharu Matsushita, emerging as the No. 3 car’s nearest rival as the Real Honda lost time in the pits while Tsukakoshi changed over to Ohta.

The No. 23 car’s pace improved for the final stint, Chiyo passing Matsushita for second on lap 79 to restore the NISMO 1-2 at the head of the field.

But by this stage, Miyake was some 36 seconds in the clear, and the GT500 rookie was able to simply wind down the remaining laps with no pressure to score his first top-class win and a fourth for Takaboshi, as well as a first for the new Z NISMO base model.

The battle for third then raged between Honda pair Matsushita and Ohta, with Ohta running off track at one stage, until Matsushita suddenly slowed with barely a handful of laps left with what was later suspected to be a gearbox problem.

That promoted Tsukakoshi and Ohta back to the final step on the podium, the duo giving the new Civic Type R-GT its second third-place finish in as many races.

Best of the Toyota GR Supras was the points-leading No. 36 TOM’S crew of Sho Tsuboi and Kenta Yamashita, who shrugged off their 46 kg success handicap to claim fourth ahead of the Cerumo Toyota of Hiroaki Ishiura and Toshiki Oyu.

Impul Nissan pair Bertrand Baguette and Kazuki Hiramine slipped to sixth behind both Toyotas in the closing stages.

Tsuboi and Yamashita remain in the lead of the championship on 31 points, four clear of Takaboshi and Miyake, while Chiyo and Quintarelli are a further five points back in third.

ARTA was unable to get either of its cars to the finish as the No. 16 car of Hiroki Otsu and Ren Sato had dropped out of the race earlier on with a power steering failure.

There was further drama at the checkered flag when the Nakajima Honda suffered a spectacular tire failure on the start/finish straight, although Riki Okusa was still able to take the finish in 12th place.

JLOC Lamborghini Takes Dominant GT300 Win

In the GT300 class, there was no stopping the No. 88 JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2, as Takashi Kogure and Yuya Motojima took a routine win from pole – their second in the space of three races, following their win in last year’s Motegi season finale.

With the JLOC car disappearing out of sight of its rivals early on, much of the intrigue focused on the battle for second, as teams with diverging strategies fought for position at the end of the race.

From 10th on the grid, the Saitama Green Brave Toyota GR Supra of Hiroki Yoshida and Seita Nonaka was able to work its way up to second place with some exceptionally quick pitwork, not taking tires at the second stop.

But that gave Yoshida a tough time defending position on old tires against two FIA GT3 runners on more conventional strategies, the Goodsmile Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo and the Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.

In the end, it was the Kondo machine of Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daiki Sasaki that came through to grab second, with de Oliveira passing both the Goodsmile car of Nobuteru Taniguchi and then a defenceless Yoshida late in the race.

Yoshida was nonetheless able to hang on to third in the car he shares with Seita Nonaka, with Taniguchi and Tatsuya Kataoka coming home fourth.

Pitting early and not taking tires at the first stop paid off for the apr Lexus LC500h of Kazuto Kotaka and Jin Nakamura, who completed the top five after holding off a late challenge from the Inging Toyota GR86 GT of Hibiki Taira and Yuui Tsutsumi.

Taira and Tsutsumi remain at the head of the championship on 27 points, a single point clear of JLOC pair Kogure and Motojima.


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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