Fuji Dream Race: Duval gets pole after Nakajima penalty

Mugen Honda driver Daisuke Nakajima was fastest in qualifying second leg of the SUPER GT x DTM Dream Race at Fuji, but Audi's Loic Duval will start on pole.

Fuji Dream Race: Duval gets pole after Nakajima penalty

After heavy overnight rain, Sunday morning's qualifying shootout took place on an entirely wet track, and it was Naoki Yamamoto who led for much of the way on a 1m47.118s.

With two minutes left on the clock, Nakajima deposed his fellow Honda runner with a 1m47.003s, although that was soon bettered by Duval, who again emerged as the strongest of the visiting DTM contingent in the Phoenix-run Audi RS5.

Duval was first to dip beneath the 1m47s mark with a 1m46.940s after the chequered flag flew, but the Frenchman was denied pole by Nakajima's final effort of 1m46.696s.

It meant Duval matched his qualifying position from Saturday's first race, although he didn't take the start after aquaplaning into the barriers on his sighting lap.

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Narain Karthikeyan also improved on his final lap to put the Nakajima Racing Honda in third ahead of Yamamoto's Team Kunimitsu NSX-GT.

Yamamoto, third in Saturday's first race, is one of only two SUPER GT drivers to be taking part in Sunday's action, with teammate Jenson Button absent.

Audi's Rene Rast was second-best of the DTM runners in fifth ahead of Koudai Tsukakoshi (Real Racing Honda), who finished second behind Nick Cassidy in Saturday's opener.

Marco Wittmann (BMW) and Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) ensured the top eight was evenly split between SUPER GT and DTM runners, while Ryo Hirakawa (TOM'S) was best of the Lexus contingent in ninth ahead of Hiroaki Ishiura (Cerumo Lexus).

Of the remaining DTM runners, Kamui Kobayashi (BMW) was 13th, Benoit Treluyer (Audi) was 15th and Alex Zanardi (BMW) was 22nd and last.

Nissan struggled badly for pace, with NISMO driver Tsugio Matsuda its top representative down in 17th place.

UPDATE: Nakajima was handed a five-place grid penalty as a result of the Mugen squad's chassis change which followed Hideki Mutoh's practice crash on Friday.

It means Audi driver Duval will start on pole ahead of the Hondas of Karthikeyan and Yamamoto, while Nakajima drops to sixth behind Rast's Audi and Tsukakoshi's Honda.

Session results:

Pos. Driver Car Time
1. Japan Daisuke Nakajima Mugen Honda NSX-GT 1:46.696
2. France Loic Duval Phoenix-Audi RS 5  1:46.940
3. India Narain Karthikeyan Nakajima Honda NSX-GT 1:47.034
4. Japan Naoki Yamamoto Kunimitsu Honda NSX-GT 1:47.118
5. Germany Rene Rast Rosberg-Audi RS  1:47.151
6. Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi Real Honda NSX-GT 1:47.308
7. Germany Marco Wittmann RBM BMW M4  1:47.327
8. Germany Mike Rockenfeller Abt-Audi RS 5  1:47.396
9. Japan Ryo Hirakawa TOM's Lexus LC500  1:47.484 
10. Japan Hiroaki Ishiura Cerumo Lexus LC500  1:47.764
11. Japan Kazuki Nakajima TOM's Lexus LC500  1:47.925
12. Japan Tomoki Nojiri ARTA Honda NSX-GT 1:47.940
13. Japan Kamui Kobayashi RBM BMW M4  1:48.008
14. Japan Yuji Kunimoto Bandoh Lexus LC500 1:48.051
15.  France Benoit Treluyer  WRT-Audi RS  1:48.102
16.  Finland Heikki Kovalainen  SARD Lexus LC500  1:48.129
17.  Japan Tsugio Matsuda  NISMO Nissan GT-R  1:48.520
18.  Japan Kohei Hirate  B-Max Racing Nissan GT-R  1:48.789
19.  United Kingdom James Rossiter  Impul Nissan GT-R  1:49.066
20.  Japan Kazuya Oshima  LeMans Lexus LC500  1:49.567
21.  Japan Mitsunori Takaboshi  Kondo Nissan GT-R 1:49.947
22.  Italy Alex Zanardi  RBM BMW M4  1:50.558
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