Sugo Super GT: Nojiri leads Honda 1-2-3 in qualifying

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Sugo Super GT: Nojiri leads Honda 1-2-3 in qualifying
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Honda teams locked the top three spots in the Super GT qualifying at Sugo, with Tomoki Nojiri sealing pole position in the #8 ARTA NSX-GT.

#6 Team LeMans Lexus RC F: Kazuya Oshima, Andrea Caldarelli
Tomonobu Fujii, D'station Racing
#23 Nismo Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3: Tsugio Matsuda, Ronnie Quintarelli
#25 Team Tsuchiya Toyota MC86: Takamitsu Matsui, Kenta Yamashita
Hideki Yamauchi, R&D Sport Subaru BRZ

Nojiri clocked a time of 1m10.915s around the 3.7-km track, beating Naoki Yamamoto - who drives the #100 Raybrig Honda entry alongside Takuya Izawa - by six tenths of a second.

It was the second pole position of the season for the ARTA squad, the first being set by Nojiri’s teammate Takashi Kobayashi at the season opener in Okayama.

The #17 Keihin Honda of Takashi Kogure and Koudai Tsukakoshi missed out on a front row start by just 0.022s, with the #19 WedsSport Lexus squad of Yuhi Sekiguchi and Yuji Kunimoto the highest non-Honda qualifier in fourth.

Daisuke Nakajima and Hideki Mutoh made it four Honda cars in the top five by qualifying their #16 Mugen NSX-GT in fifth place on the grid. The duo will be joined by 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button at the Suzuka 1000 km race next month.

Despite an upgraded engine, Nissan struggled to match Honda and Lexus outfits in Sugo, with Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daiki Sasaki qualifying no higher than sixth in the #23 Forum Engineering ADVAN car.

Apart from the Kondo Racing entry, none of the Nissan cars made it to the second leg of qualifying.

Championship leaders Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa were also eliminated in Q1, the #37 KeePer TOM'S Lexus duo consigned to 11th on the grid.

Toyota tops GT300 qualifying

In stark contrast to Cassidy and Hirakawa, GT300 points leaders Kenta Yamashita and Takamitsu Matsui had an untroubled qualifying session as they took the class pole with a time of 1m18.657s in the #25 Toyota 86 MC.

The VivaC duo were able to edge #18 Team Upgarage’s Yuhki Nakayama and Shintaro Kawabata by a tenth of a second despite carrying a field-high ballast of 58kg.

Akira Iida and Hiroki Yoshimoto qualified third in the #60 Lexus, with Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi putting the #61 R&D Subaru in fourth.

The #3 B-MAX NDDP Nissan of Kazuki Hoshino and Mitsunori Takaboshi was fifth in a session dominated by Japanese cars.

GT500 qualifying results:

Pos.Team/CarDriversQ1Q2
1
ARTA NSX-GT
 Tomoki Nojiri
 Takashi Kobayashi
1'11.579
1'10.915

2
RAYBRIG NSX-GT
 Naoki Yamamoto
 Takuya Izawa
1'11.869
1'11.469

3
KEIHIN NSX-GT
 Koudai Tsukakoshi
 Takashi Kogure
1'11.761
1'11.491

4
WedsSport ADVAN LC500
 Yuhi Sekiguchi
 Yuji Kunimoto
1'11.597

1'11.669
5
MOTUL MUGEN NSX-GT
 Hideki Mutoh
 Daisuke Nakajima
1'11.699
1'11.739

6
Forum Engineering ADVAN GT-R
 Daiki Sasaki
 Joao Paulo de Oliveira
1'12.136

1'11.745
7
DENSO KOBELCO SARD LC500
 Heikki Kovalainen
 Kohei Hirate
1'12.024

1'11.803
8
WAKO'S 4CR LC500
 Kazuya Oshima
 Andrea Caldarelli
1'12.163
1'12.163

9
CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R
 Hironobu Yasuda
 Jann Mardenborough
1'12.201


10
Epson Modulo NSX-GT
 Bertrand Baguette
 Kosuke Matsuura
1'12.269



11
KeePer TOM'S LC500
 Ryo Hirakawa
 Nick Cassidy
1'12.306


12
ZENT CERUMO LC500
 Yuji Tachikawa
 Hiroaki Ishiura
1'12.365


13
au TOM'S LC500
 Kazuki Nakajima
 James Rossiter
1'12.430


14
MOTUL AUTECH GT-R
 Tsugio Matsuda
 Ronnie Quintarelli
1'12.436


15
S Road CRAFTSPORTS GT-R
 Satoshi Motoyama
 Katsumasa Chiyo
1'12.595
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About this article

Series Super GT
Event Sugo
Location Sportsland SUGO
Drivers Tomoki Nojiri
Author Rachit Thukral