Text: JP Cariño / Photos: JP Cariño | posted July 16, 2009 00:00
Hasemi Tomica Ebro GT-R takes a runaway victory
Round 4 of the Super GT series took the racers to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia as they were greeted with variable weather conditions from the start of the practice sessions. In qualifying, the MOTUL Autech GT-R of Satoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer took pole position over the HASEMI TOMICA EBBRO GT-R and the ROCKSTAR DOME NSX for the GT500 class. For the GT300 class, It was the number 46 S Road MOLA Z of Kazuki Hoshino and Masataka Yanagida which took top spot over the JIMGAINER ADVAN F430 and the WedsSport IS350 teams.
In the GT500 class, drama ensued for the pole sitting MOTUL Autech GT-R as they experienced transmission problems on the formation lap right before the start of the race. This meant that they had to start from the pits and all advantage gained from qualifying was lost. When the lights turned green on the rolling start, the HASEMI TOMICA EBBRO GT-R piloted by Ronnie Quintarelli immediately stretched its legs and built a two second gap over its nearest rivals.
Second place was closely contested between the ROCKSTAR DOME NSX and IMPUL CALSONIC GT-R. On lap 30, Quintarelli handed over driving duties to his teammate Hironobu Yasuda who droved superbly and was never contested after building a 20 second lead over the rest of the field till the chequered flag. This win marked the end to a long drought of victories for the Hasemi Racing Team.
Second place honors went to the KEIHIN NSX of Toshiro Kaneishi and Koudai Tsukakoshi. This is their first trip to the podium for this season and they also won the "Jsport Best Overtake" award which made them 500,000 yen richer. Rounding up the podium finishers was the ARTA NSX of ex F1 driver Ralph Firman and Takuya Izawa.
The GT 300 class didn't fall short of incidents as race pole qualifier, the No. 2 I.M JIHAN CO. LTD APPLE Shiden was forced to start the race at the back of the grid due to a handicap weight infraction. But luck was on the team's side as a crash occurred during the starting lap knocking out several of their opponents, clearing out the middle field for starting driver, Hiroki Katoh to move up to 10th place. He outmaneuvered the other drivers one lap at a time that by lap 9 he placed smoothly in 3rd position. With a strategic early pit stop on lap 20, the team transitioned efficiently rolling into 9-sec margin victory, a great come from behind feat by the prototype racecar and its drivers. Runner ups to the victors are the WedsSport IS350 of Manabu Orido/Tatsuya Kataoka and the M7 MUTIARA MOTORSAMEMIYASGC 7 of Nobuteru Taniguchi/Ryo Orime.
Once again Sepang has demonstrated their capability of holding a high profile race series aside from Formula One. The series now moves to Sugo in Japan for round 5 of this highly anticipated series.