Calsonic Impul GT-R finishes 4th in GT500 class
Nismo powered teams produced strong finishes in the 7th round of the 2016 Super GT Series at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand with the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R finishing in 2nd after running a strong and consistent race, while the #13 Calsonic Impul GT-R finished 4th.
The Nismo team's top GT300 contender, the #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Jann Mardenborough) started from 2nd on the grid. Meanwhile, The #3 B-MAX NDDP GT-R (Kazuki Hoshino / Jann Mardenborough) had a good start with Hoshino gaining the lead in the opening lap. Although both competitors briefly fell back a few positions when making their routine pit stop, Mardenborough drove hard during the second half and finished second with only a slim margin from the race leader.
For the GT500 class, the #12 “Calsonic Impul GT-R” (Hironobu Yasuda / Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira) was the top Nismo finisher in 4th place after having meted a drive through penalty. The car started 3rd on the grid but lost significant time due to the penalty where the tires picked up a lot of 'marbles' reducing much needed traction.
Beginning from 3rd place on the grid, Oliveira took the wheel of the #12 Calsonic Impul GT-R for the first stint. On lap 7 he rose to 2nd. Oliveira was able to keep the 5-second gap between the third place car and stuck on the heels of the leader. The distance between them would widen and close with each encounter with the back-markers but Oliveira steadfastly maintained their place in 2nd and continued to tick off laps.
On lap 37, they made a routine pit stop but was later penaziled for a pitline infraction. That left second stint driver, Hironobu Yasuda incurring a drive through penalty which made them drop back to 6th place. Yasuda did his best to bounce back and eventually finished 4th.
“I really wanted to wash away the disappointment of Suzuka here but 4th place is pretty frustrating. We picked up a lot of marbles when we carried out our drive through penalty and this caused us to lose even more time. Towards the end I managed to pass the #39 and right at the closing stages I was able to overtake the #64 to get us into 4th but to be honest it was a disappointing race. We have no choice but to achieve consecutive victories at Motegi,” said Hironobu Yasuda, #12 driver.
Meanwhile the #46 S Road Craftsports GT-R of Satoshi Motoyama and Katsumasa Chiyo had a mixed result. The start saw veteran Motoyama take control for the start of the race but settings didn’t quite seem to match the conditions and they fell down the order and finished in 12th. The #24 Forum Engineering Advan GT-R (Daiki Sasaki / Masataka Yanagida) braved a strategy of not changing tires in order to work their way up the order. After Yanagida handed the wheel over to Sasaki, it became clear that the tires are not in good condition any longer for it to work. They were then forced to make an irregular pit stop which resulted to 13th place.
The #1 Motul Autech GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda / Ronnie Quintarelli), burdened with at least 100kg of handicap weight, the heaviest allowed under current regulations, was running strongly in the points sphere. However, the car was entangled with the other GT300 machines and got hit after it spun out forcing the team to retire.
Despite the dismal result, Matsuda and Quintarelli retained their top position in the GT 500 driver rankings, while the Nismo team trail Team Tom's by 9 points in the team championship.
In the GT 300 class, Hoshino and Mardenborough find themselves in possible contention of the championship trailing merely 6 points behind the series leader, and the Nismo team is also 6 points behind the team standings.