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2011 Super GT Season - Round 1 - Okayama GT 250km

Race Report

During this series of pit stops there was one change in position as the No.12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, now driven by Matsuda, effectively moved ahead of the others. When Duval in the No.1 Weider HSV-010 returned to the pit for the routine stop three laps later, the team's plan was to skip the tire change in order to save time and move up toward the front considerably. However, a problem in setting the seat belt after the driver change caused a big delay. This dropped No.1 behind No.17 KEIHIN HSV-010 of Tsukakoshi when it returned to the track, rather than in front of it as had been planned.

Next it was the No.32 EPSON HSV-010 driven by Ryo Michigami that returned to the pit at the end of lap 35 with the intent of turning the wheel over to Yuhki Nakayama without making a tire change. Just after Nakayama got out on the track, however, he collided with the No.39 Denso SARD SC430 of Takuto Iguchi and had to return to the pit again.

Then, after a long stint, it was time for Treluyer in No.23 Motul Autech GT-R to make the pit stop at the end of lap 42. Taking the wheel from Treluyer, teammate Satoshi Motoyama was able to return to the race in good position in 6th place.

Just after that, something happened in the battle for the lead. Tsukakoshi in the No.17 KEIHIN HSV-010 had been chasing Matsuda in the No.12 Nissan GTR at a faster pace and was already on his tail by lap 45, where he made a braking mistake going into the hairpin turn and did a half-spin that sent his car colliding into Matusda's No.12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R. This caused Matsuda to spin as well. Tsukakoshi in car No.17 recovered first and took the lead, but three laps later the decision was made to give him a drive-through penalty as the one responsible for the collision.

On the same lap 47 where Tsukakoshi was given his penalty, the battle for 3rd was heating up. Yamamoto in car No. 100 Raybrig HSV-010 passed the No.36 PETRONAS TOM'S SC430 of Nakajima in the Atwood Curve. When Tsukakoshi in the No.17 KEIHIN HSV-010 returned to the pit lane for the drive-through penalty, the No.100 Honda HSV-010 moved up to second position. From this point on, Yamamoto in car No.100 began to close the gap slowly on the No.12 Nissan GT-R of Matsuda, but the gap was too big for him to catch the Calsonic IMPUL GT-R before it took the checkered flag for victory.

This result gave the No.12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo Lima de Oliveira its first win of the season when the race ended on lap 68. Second place went to the No.100 Raybrig HSV-010, which was the highest finish ever for the driver pair of Takuya Izawa and Naoki Yamamoto. Finishing 3rd after having a second win in their sights at one point was the No.17 KEIHIN HSV-010 team of Toshihiro Kaneishi and Koudai Tsukakoshi.

By finishing 5th in this race, the No. 23 Motul Autech GT-R pair of Satoshi Motoyama and Benoit Treluyer remains atop the season ranking. Six points behind them in 2nd place in the ranking stands the No.12 Calsonic IMPUL GT-R, while the No.36 Lexus SC430 moves up into 3rd place in the ranking.

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