Super GT 2010 - Fuji Sprint Cup 2

BY Burnpavement

ENEOS SC430 team's Daisuke Ito scores first win to secure the JAF Grand Prix title since moving to Toyota!

Photos: Super GT

The SUPER GT Race 2 of the JAF Grand Prix SUPER GT & Formula NIPPON FUJI SPRINT CUP 2010 was held on November 14 at Fuji Speedway (one lap 4.563 km) in Shizuoka Pref. The GT500 class was won by Daisuke Ito in the No. 6 ENEOS SC430 while the GT300 class winner was Tetsuya Tanaka in the No. 11 JIMGAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430.

The GT500 class Race 2 was held as the final contest of the weekend. It started on schedule with the formation lap at 15:10. Under heavy cloud cover, the warmth of the sunlight that had penetrated the thinner clouds earlier was gone, making the conditions chillier than it had been for Saturday's race. At the start, the pole-position winner Tsugio Matsuda in the No.12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R fell slightly behind and it was Daisuke Ito starting from second position diagonally behind him in the No. 6 ENEOS SC430 who raced into the lead. Behind him, Yuji Tachikawa in the No. 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 got pushed from behind by the No. 24 HIS ADVAN KONDO GT-R (Joao Paulo de Oliveira), causing him to lose control, running off track. In the wake of that, the No. 100 RAYBRIG HSV-010 (Takuya Izawa) also spun out and fell far back in the pack. Amidst this confusion, Takashi Kogure in the No. 18 Weider HSV-010 was able to jump way up from his 12th position start.

The first lap ended with No. 6 (Ito) in the lead, followed by No. 12 (Matsuda), No. 24 (de Oliveira) and No. 18 (Kogure). Ito who was leading in car No. 6 was able to maintain a fast pace, even while taking care in minimising tyre wear. He continued to run free in the lead, unaffected by the confusion of the fierce battles going on from behind. Meanwhile, Kogure running in fourth position at this point in car No. 18 continued his charge toward the front. He passed No. 24 (de Oliveira) on the first corner of lap three to move into third place. After that de Oliviera was also passed by No. 35 MJ KRAFT SC430 (Kazuya Oshima) on the last turn of that same lap. After overtaking No. 24 (de Oliveira), Oshima (No. 35) closed in on No. 18 (Kogure) on the lap. Moving in next to No. 18 (Kogure) on the inside on the last turn, the two cars ran side-by-side down the straight. They stayed side-by-side through the first corner and into the 100R turn, but then Kogure (No.18) managed to pull ahead again. After holding off Oshima's (No. 35) attack, Kogure (No. 18) gradually began to close in on car No. 12 (Matsuda) in second place and finally passed him on the inside in the first corner of lap nine. Then he set out after the leader, No. 6 (Ito).

Several laps later Kogure (No. 18) was right behind Ito (No. 6), but the wear he had put on his tyres began to take its toll and his pace suffered inevitably. After being passed by No. 18 (Kogure), Oshima in car No. 35 had passed car No. 12 (Matsuda) to move into third position. Then he found himself once again behind the slowing No. 18 (Kogure). In the Prius Corner of lap 17, Oshima (No. 35) made his move to pass No. 18 (Kogure) and move into second place. Next, Oshima (No. 35) had No. 6 (Ito) in his sights. But, perhaps due to the tyre wear from his hard charge in the middle stages of the race, he was unable to make that final move for the lead. After a great job of pace control over the 22-lap race, Ito in the No. 6 ENEOS SC430 brought his team their first win of the year. For Ito, this was his first GT victory since winning round 8 of the 2007 season at Autopolis in the ARTA NSX. And, it is his first win since moving to the Team Le Mans in 2008. Finishing second was Kazuya Oshima in the No. 35 MJ KRAFT SC430. Third place went to Takashi Kogure in the No. 18 Weider HSV-010 who managed to tiptoe home on his badly worn tyres.

Race 2 for the GT300 class started at 14:00. The "Yellow Dust" blown over from the continent created a misty cloud cover, but the track was completely dry for the start of the race. Machine trouble the day before forced the No. 9 911GT3R Porsche Japan (Masahiro Sasaki) to cancel its entry in Race 2. Then the No. 33 HANKOOK PORSCHE (Masami Kageyama) had an engine stall in the formation lap and was forced to start the race from the back of the grid. After the start, Kageyama (No. 33) drove hard and worked his way up through the field with impressive speed only to be struck by electrical system trouble on lap four that forced him back to the pit and out of the race. No. 26 CINE CITTA' TAISAN PORSCHE (Shogo Mitsuyama) suffered a broken shift lever just before the formation lap. A quick replacement was made and Mitsuyama was able to start the race from the pit lane, but he pulled out of the competition at the end of lap one.

In the standing start, the two machines on the front line, the No. 43 ARTA Garaiya (Morio Nitta) and the No. 5 MACH GOGOGO SHAKEN408R (Haruki Kurosawa), both made flying starts. They were both given drive-through penalties that took them out of contention for the lead. On the first corner just after the start, the No. 31 MAGICAL CARBON apr Axio (Koki Saga) ran off the track. It appeared to be the result of a collision with another car and Saga was unable to restart and thus retired. The car that emerged unscathed by all these mishaps and confusion to lead the race was the UP START MOLA Z (Naoki Yokomizo). Following in second position was the No. 3 TOMICA Z (Masataka Yanagida). This gave the Fairlady Z machines a 1-2 lead in the early stages of the race. Behind them came two FIA GT machines, the No. 25 ZENT PORSCHE RSR (Takeshi Tsuchiya) and the No.11 JIMGAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka).

After lap eight a close-fought battle developed between Tsuchiya in car No. 25 and Tanaka in No. 11, and while they were dealing with each other, the No. 2 Apple·K-one·Shiden (Hiroki Katoh) was closing in behind them. On lap 11, a fierce three-way battle raged between No. 25 (Tsuchiya), No. 11 (Tanaka) and No. 2 (Katoh), and in the midst of it, Tanaka (No. 11) passed Tsuchiya (No. 25) to move into third position. In the process, the gap between Tanaka and the two Fairlady Z machines in the lead was narrowing. Due to the difference in settings, No. 3 (Yanagida) was slightly faster on the straights. Yanagida took advantage of that speed to get past Yokomizo (No. 46) and take the lead on lap 14. Yokomizo (No. 46) raced hard to try to stay in contact, but the gap between the two Z machines widened gradually.

Behind them, Tanaka (No.11) had quickened his pace even more after passing No. 25 (Tsuchiya). Tanaka pulled up on the tail of No. 46 (Yokomizo) on the main straight of lap 17 and passed it easily before the first corner. At the same place on the next lap, Tanaka (No. 11) made it past No. 3 (Yanagida) to finally take the lead. Tanaka (No. 11) continued to run away in the lead over the following laps, while No. 3 (Yanagida) and No. 46 (Yokomizo) fell off the pace slightly in the closing laps as the gap between them, in second, third, and the leader (Tanaka) widened to about 1.5 seconds. Meanwhile, No. 25 (Tsuchiya) and No. 2 (Katoh) were gradually approaching the two Z machines as they continued to battle it out in fourth and fifth place. The gap to No. 46 in third had narrowed to about one second. There would be no changes in the order, however, before they took the chequered at the end of the race. The win went to the No. 11 JIMGAINER DIXCEL DUNLOP F430 (Tetsuya Tanaka). Just as with his teammate Katsuyuki Hiranaka, who won Race 1 the day before by making up ground lost in the early stage of the race, Tanaka also showed impressive speed once his tyres got warmed up. Finishing second came the No. 3 TOMICA Z (Masataka Yanagida) and in third the No. 46 UP START MOLA Z (Naoki Yokomizo).