07/08/2017

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Super GT Series

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Fuji

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Nick Cassidy is staying right in the hunt for Japan’s SUPER GT Championship after finishing sixth in the Fuji 300 kms race last night in his Lexus LC500 with team-mate Ryo Hirakawa.

The pair are only two points behind Englishman James Rossiter who finished fourth in the latest round of Japan’s major series. The FUJI GT 300km RACE was held at the Fuji Speedway with victory for the GT500 class going to the No. 8 ARTA NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/Takashi Kobayashi) and the GT300 class win to the No.55 ARTA BMW M6 GT3 (Shinichi Takagi/Sean Walkinshaw) – pictured

“It went much better than expected,” said Aucklander Cassidy, “We weren’t thinking about scoring points because of our weight handicap.”

The pair also have a five percent fuel restriction, thanks to their successes early in the season when they led the series for the first three rounds.

Hirakawa qualified seventh on Saturday, while Cassidy concentrated on full tank fuel runs during practice in preparation for the race.

The pair ran as high as fifth and only slipped back to sixth in the final few laps only 15 seconds behind first time winners, Tomoki Nojiri and Takashi Kobayashi.

“We certainly did not expect to be anywhere near this competitive,” said Cassidy. “Our race pace was really strong.”

“To head to Suzuka well in the fight is a bonus.” The Suzuka 1000 kms in three weeks’ time is Japan’s equivalent of Bathurst, where Cassidy will even have a slight advantage as a couple of his rivals will now have to carry slightly more handicap ballast.

Then for the final two rounds of the series, all the extra weight is removed putting Cassidy and Hirakawa in a strong position with the car back in the same specification as the start of the season.

Fellow Kiwi Jono Lester and Gulf Racing Japan teammate Kyosuke Mineo finished fifth in the GT300 class and are back in the top-10 title contention. It was a top qualifying performances that saw Lester and Mineo put their Porsche 911 GT3 R on the fourth row at Fuji Speedway. They now sit 10th overall on the GT300 points table.

Drivers and teams now head to the Suzuka 1000 km race at Suzuka International Circuit 26-27 August.

Results. –

SUPER GT series, Round 5, Fuji 300 kms
1, T Nojiri, T Kobayashi (Honda NSX)
2, T Matsuda, R Quintarelli (Nissan GTR)
3, Y Tachikawa, H Ishiura (Lexus LC500)
6, N Cassidy, R Hirakawa (Lexus LC500)

Championship Points. –
1, J Rossiter (Lexus LC500) 44;
2, K Oshima, A Caldarelli (Lexus LC500) 43;
3, Cassidy, Hirakawa, 42;
4= Tachikawa, Ishiura & Matsuda, Quintarelli, 41.

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