May 4, 2022
3 min Reading
Round 2 of the 2022 SUPER GT was held on May 4th at Fuji Speedway under pristine, clear spring weather which belied the hectic race that was to unfold. Immediately after the start, there was a fierce battle for the lead, with the #3 Z driven by Katsumasa Chiyo moving up to 2nd in the first lap before falling back to 3rd position in the following lap. The #23 Z and #12 Z also gained positions in the first part of the race.
On lap 27, the #12 Z was the first in the GT500 class to pit in, while the #3 Z and #24 Z made their first pit stops on lap 35, and the #23 Z on lap 36. On lap 43, just as all GT500 class cars were completing their first pit stop, a GT300 class car crashed, bringing out a full course yellow (FCY), followed by the safety car (SC). Then, after 6 laps behind the SC, the race was red-flagged at the end of lap 49 to repair the damaged barriers. At this point the #3 Z was 4th, the #23 Z 8th, the #12 Z 9th, and #24 Z 12th.
After repairing the tire barrier, the race resumed at 4:25 p.m. with the SC leading the way. After another 3 laps, the race was restarted and an intense scuffle for the lead ensued. On lap 53, the #3 Z moved up to 2nd place and showed strong momentum to close in on the race leader. The #12 Z also moved up to 7th on lap 53 and increased its pace to a point where it could join the battle for the top position. On lap 55, a front running car was penalized and at this time the #12 Z was 6th and the #23 Z 7th. On lap 59, Takaboshi in the #3 Z was within striking distance of the race leader and was hot on its heels on the main straight when a slow running GT300 class car suddenly appeared in front of him when the leader shifted to the left. With no option but to swerve to avoid a collision, he lost control and made contact with the wall. This accident caused the race to be red-flagged again, and it took time to repair damage to the guardrail.
At this point the #12 Z was in 5th, the #23 Z in 6th, and #24 Z in 10th. At 6:10 pm, the race resumed behind the SC, but the official cut off time of 6:20 pm arrived with the SC still leading, and the race ended after 62 laps. Just before the end of the race, the first and second-placed cars were handed penalties, officially lifting the #12 Z to 3rd, the #23 Z to 4th, and the #24 Z to 8th. The #12 Z’s 3rd place finish was the second consecutive podium for the Z.
Following the race, Kazuki Hiramine stated: “I am very happy that Takaboshi is OK. We were able to finish 3rd and score some points, which is good. There is not much time left until the next race at Suzuka, but I would like to work on the aspects that I learned from this race." Bertrand Baguette added: “I am very happy that Takaboshi was not injured. In terms of the race, we struggled a bit, but the tires warmed up very well and we were able to drive very strongly. A 3rd place finish, but I am satisfied with this result."
Six NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 cars competed in the GT300 class, with the #10 TANAX GAINER GT-R, which began from 2nd, taking its first win of the season. The #34 BUSOU raffinee GT-R, competing for the first time this season, also showed good pace and moved up a position to achieve a 1-2 finish for the GT-R NISMO GT3.