ARTA’s Takashi Kobayashi took advantage of changeable conditions at Okayama to put his Honda on the GT500 pole position, while a late Naoya Gamou flyer put the LEON AMG on pole in GT300.
In GT300, it was young Okayama native Naoya Gamou who set a time quick enough to put his LEON CVSTOS Mercedes AMG GT3 on pole. The 26 year old set a flyer of 1:25.044 early in the session, before a red flag was called out after Hiroaki Nagai had a shunt in the #30 Prius. When the qualifying session resumed with 5 minutes remaining Takamitsu Matsui in the VivaC Toyota and Nobuteru Taniguchi in the Goodsmile Mercedes both frantically attempted to upstage Gamou. This was to no avail though, as neither were able to get within a tenth of the LEON Mercedes. The Goodsmile Mercedes did beat the Toyota to the other spot on the front row, however, meaning the German marque lock out the front row at Okayama.
Yuichi Nakayama was the only other driver within a second of Gamou, putting his Lexus RC F GT3 on the outside of the second row. It was also a succesdful qualifying session for JLOC. Their Manepa Lamborghini will line up 5th alongside the sole R&D Sport Subaru, while their Stop Channel entry lines up 7th alongside the Gainer Mercedes. It was a poor qualifying session for both the apr Prius and the Gainer Nissan, the two cars lining up 9th and 10th respectively. However, it was worse for the NDDP Nissan, which failed to make it out of Q2 and will take the start in 16th place, despite being championship contenders.
In GT500, rain played a part in Q2. However Q1 had its fair share of talking points with Nissan embarrassingly not having the pace for a single car to make it through to Q2. Then, in Q2, an awkwardly timed red flag led to only two cars setting a time in the 1:20 range. These were Takashi Kobayashi in the ARTA Honda, whose time was good enough for pole, and Kazuya Oshima in the Wako’s Lexus. In the end the Lexi capitulated, and the rest only got in banker laps. The Mugen Honda will line up in third, alongside the team KeePer TOM’s RC F, who before qualifying were perhaps favourites for this race. The Zent Cerumo and au Lexi follow in 5th and 6th places.
The race starts tomorrow at 1430 local time, or 0630 in the UK.
Photo from Autosport WEB