2006 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Round 8, the SUPER GT in Kyushu 300 km
Victory Goes to XANAVI NISMO Z in First Win of the Season
The SUPER GT in Kyushu 300 km, Round 8 of the 2006 AUTOBACS SUPER GT,
took place at the Autopolis (one lap 4.674 km) in Oita Pref. on October
14, and the XANAVI NISMO Z driven by Satoshi Motoyama and Tsugio
Matsuda won their first victory of the season in the GT500 class.
The race started at 14:00 under fair skies. At the start, Tsugio
Matsuda in the XANAVI NISMO Z dashed out of third position on the grid to
pass the two cars in front of him to lead the race in the early stages.
After the routine pit stop Satoshi Motoyama took over the wheel from
Matsuda and continued to run in the lead. In the final stages of the
race, Motoyama was pursued fast and hard by Shinya Hosokawa in the RAYBRIG
NSX but managed to hold him off and give the Nissan ace team its
long-awaited first victory of the season.
With the 8th round over and one race remaining in the season the top
position in the drivers' title race is now owned by the
S.Philippe/S.Hosokawa team, who finished 2rd today. But there are still six other
driver pairs who have a shot at the title and nothing will be decided until
the final race at Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka Pref.) on November 4 and 5.
In the GT300 class, the Privee Zurich Shiden team won their first GT
victory. With their win this time, drivers Kazuho Takahashi and Hiroki
Katoh now lead the drivers' title ranking. In the last race of the
season they will have a final showdown with the Amemiya AsparaDrink RX7 and
the enable ADVAN VEMAC320R teams.
Due to an illegality that was found in the Raybrig NSX pit work, a
30-second penalty was added to the team's finishing time. This result
moved the TAKATA DOME NSX into 2nd place and the RAYBRIG NSX into 3rd
No. 23 XANAVI NISMO Z [GT500]
Satoshi Motoyama: "It has happened rather late in the season but I'm
relieved that we finally won a race. Thinking that this was our last
chance to win, Matsuda and I promised each other that we would win when we
came here. We were able to win because of the efforts of all the staff.
Yesterday the Honda was faster than us but we came out today with the
aim of winning the race and recording the fastest lap. It was a race
that we had to keep pushing the whole way with all our concentration but I
was confident we were going to win. Today we achieved our aim of going
into the final round of the season with a chance to win the title. And
as long as we have a chance, we are going to do our best in the last
race, even if we have to make the car run faster than it is now."
Tsugio Matsuda: "A lot of things went well this time. I have won here
at Autopolis this year in Formula racing as well, so I felt the omens
were good. I got a good start in the race, and although I was hit when
the ARTA machine (No. 8) ran wide on one turn, but our machine didn't
suffer any damage. After No. 8 went into the pit, I was able to run at my
own pace. Motoyama-san ran 40 laps with the tires already in bad
condition. He did a great job. There are things I can learn from him. In the
last race of the season we are going to push hard for as many points as
we can get."
No.2 Privee Zurich Shiden [GT300]
Kazuho Takahashi: "I told Kato-san to "Build at least one lap gap
before coming back for the pit stop" (laughs). Since it's a new car there
have been lots of problems at the beginning of the season and it is a
disadvantage being slow on the straights, but we have finally come this
far. Even though we are on top in the ranking now we are only 5 points
ahead of the 2nd ranker. But, if we lose this chance, who knows what will
happen next year. So, we are going to do our best in the next race."
Hiroki Katoh: "It was only decided this morning that I would be
starting as the first driver. The starting that had been a problem until now
went well this time and I was able to race at my own pace. Still, I was
exhausted by the time I turned the wheel over to Takahashi. I was
concerned about the second half of the race but I just had to take a rest
for a while. With five laps remaining I came back to the pit and it was
really tense and exciting (laughs). It was a thrill to get our first
win. The satisfaction is even greater because this is the first victory
after breaking in and developing this new car. The last race is at the
Fuji Speedway, which is not a good track for Shiden, but we don't intend
to run defensively."
All news/photos used with permission of the SuperGT Series. No reuse without written permission.