The competition was ferocious within a red-hot SUPER GT round 3 held at Suzuka Circuit this weekend, where the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R of multiple title holders Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli prevailed over an intense grapple for the top spot to take their first victory of the season.
Although he briefly dropped down one position from their 2nd placed qualification early in the race, starting driver, Quintarelli skillfully used GT300 class traffic to retake his spot at the hairpin of lap 13. He then powered on to strongly pass the race leader at Dunlop Corner in the following lap.
Despite a handful of safety car dispatches chipping away at their margin throughout both drivers’ stints, along with incessant pressure coming from the rear, Matsuda tenaciously defended the lead after taking the wheel for the second half of the race. His perseverance paid off when he passed the checkered flag with an over 3 second margin over the rest of the competition.
Matsuda went on to say, “The car set up and the tires were incredible today. It’s been a while since we had a win and I was feeling a bit under pressure, so it’s a real relief to come away with victory today.” Quintarelli added, “I knew Matsuda would be able to return to the race in the lead. I’m so glad to get our first win in a while.” NISMO Team principal, Yutaka Suzuki concluded, “The performance of the car was even better than we expected throughout the entirety of race week. We will definitely be carrying this momentum into the next rounds.”
The CRAFTSPORTS MOTUL GT-R of Kohei Hirate and Katsumasa Chiyo also moved up from a 10th place start to finish 6th and grab their third top ten finish in a row for this season.
It wasn’t just in the GT500 class where the GT-R shone this weekend. In the GT300 class the GAINER TANAX GT-R NISMO GT3 fought back from 7th to take class victory making it a commanding performance for Nissan in both categories at Suzuka.
The SUPER GT action continues next month at Twin Ring Motegi on September 12th– 13th.