First and Second Place for Nissan at SUPER GT Opening Race at Suzuka –
The XANAVI NISMO
GT-R (#23), starting from the second on the grid and driven by Satoshi
Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer, won the first race of the 2008 Super GT
series in Japan in front of more than 32,000 spectators. Michael Krumm
and Masataka Yanagida brought the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#22) home in the
2nd place for a historic debut race weekend for Nissan.
At 2pm local time, 42 GT race cars started the formation lap led by
a Nissan GT-R Safety Car under perfect race conditions. The two NISMO
GT-Rs, starting from the front row, made a clean start. Unfortunately,
the CALSONIC GT-R (#12) in third place on the grid was hit from behind
on the first lap and was taken out of the race for repairs.
Krumm in the #22 car, started from the pole position and crossed the
control line at the end of lap one followed by Treluyer behind the
wheel of the #23 GT-R. The Nissan pair continued to dominate the rest
of the race ahead of the Lexus SC 430 in the third place, creating a
gap of more than four seconds by lap forty.
Both leading Nissan’s pitted for tires and a driver change in the
middle of the 52 lap race and subsequently changed the race order.
Yanagida who took over #22 car from Krumm choose harder tires than
Motoyama in the #23 car. XANAVI NISMO GT-R (#23) with more tire grip on
softer rubber passed the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (#22) in the hair-pin corner
on lap 24 and went on to win the race.
The WOODONE ADVAN Clarion GT-R (#24) driven by Brazilian Joao-Paulo
de Oliveira and Seiji Ara completed a steady race performance to finish
in 5th position. The YelloHat YMS TOMICA GT-R (#3) driven by Ronnie
Quintarelli from Italy and Naoki Yokomizo was in 6th position towards
the end of the race but pulled out of the race on lap 42 due to
Motoyama: “Before the race we felt a bit of pressure to
make a debut win for the GT-R but believed that we could win because
the car was fantastic and the team had done a great job. Combination
with Benoit was also very good and we proved to be the strongest pair.
I’m really happy that we won the race in the GT-R’s very first race.”
Treluyer: “Our team and the car have been perfect all through the
weekend. It was a shame that we did not take a pole position due to my
mistake. We know competition will be tougher but believe we can win
again since the GT-R is very fast.”