JGTC USA – Qualifying Report
© Gary Horrocks

In a last lap effort, Richard Lyons claimed the pole for the JGTC All-Star 200. The Xanavi Nismo Z was fastest for most of the hour session, but near the end the Calsonic Impul Z got on top, only to see Lyons climb back on top with a lap that actually finished after the session was over. Lyons will be partnered in the race by Satoshi Motoyama.

It is fitting that the Nissan effort takes the pole for the race here, as they are the reigning champions for this season. Nissan swept the top two grid spots, followed by a Toyota, a Honda and another Nissan. The top six times were all within a second of each other.

“The track is very different from what we’re used to because there’s many cones and not real chicanes,” said Lyons, of his first JGTC pole. “A lot of people started to cut the corners [defined by the cones]. It’s a challenge, and I’m enjoying it. I knew that I didn’t want to push too hard at the start; I just wanted to keep building up. Coming into these braking points is quite difficult, so each lap I was building up to the last lap - to do the maximum.”

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Benoit Treluyer will start second in the #12 12 Calsonic/Impul Nissan 350Z, after sitting on top of the charts until the last moments: Lyons pipped the Frenchman by less than two tenths. The Supra V8 of James Courtney and Tatsuya Kataoka (#37), the Honda NSX of Ryo Michigami and Sabastien Philippe and the Nissan 350Z of Masami Kageyama and Michael Krumm completed the top five.

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In the GT300 class, the Arta Garaiya was fastest (again): Morio Nitta set the time. They had finished the season second in the championship. The team they bettered in qualifying, the M-Tec NSX, was the season champions. The Garaiya is a Nissan powered car that is, well, unique looking.

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In all, 22 cars will take the start at 16:30. The start will be a rolling start with all cars ordered to be single file through the “mickey mouse” tire chicane, which is meant to slow the cars before entering the infield portion of the track.

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It is expected that all of the cars will be required to stop twice during the 200 mile race. The over/under on the life expectancy of the tire chicanes is in the single digits.

Car #6, a US entered Porsche, the Stutgart Per Porsche of Geoff Escalette and Blake Russer, will be allowed to start the race, even though they were outside of the required 107% qualifying rule. This is based upon the average speed of the top three cars in each class. Note – now there is some confusion on whether this car will be allowed to start after all.

As an aside, the entry lists are rather difficult to decipher. Besides the names that I’m sure I’d butcher in spelling and pronunciation, the sponsor/car listing does not name the manufacturer. Only the car. Not wrong, just different from what ‘Mericans are used to.

Qualifying Times
dailysportscar.com1, (1), Satoshi Motoyama/Richard Lyons, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:23.124, 99.610.
2, (12), Benoit Treluyer/Yuji Ide, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:23.289, 99.412.
3, (37), James Courtney/Tatsuya Kataoka, Toyota Supra, 1:23.665, 98.966.
4, (18), Ryo Michigami/Sebastien Philippe, Honda NSX, 1:23.842, 98.757.
5, (22), Masami Kageyama/Michael Krumm, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:23.932, 98.651.
6, (32), Tsugio Matsuda/Andre Lotterer, Honda NSX, 1:24.024, 98.543.
7, (100), Shinji Nakano/Hiroki Katoh/Bruce Jouanny, Honda NSX, 1:24.465, 98.028.
8, (3), Toshihiro Kaneishi/Erik Comas, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:24.554, 97.925.
9, (8), Katsutomo Kaneishi/Daisuke Ito, Honda NSX, 1:24.653, 97.811.
10, (35), Naoki Hattori/Shigekazu Wakisaka, Toyota Supra, 1:24.835, 97.601.
11, (43), Morio Nitta/Shinichi Takagi, Garaiya, 1:29.190, 92.835.
12, (16), Tetsuya Yamano/Hiroyuki Yagi/Haruki Kurosawa, Honda NSX, 1:29.956, 92.045.
13, (81), Masataka Yanagida/Naofumi Omoto, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:30.692, 91.298.
14, (19), Takayuki Aoki/Nobuteru Taniguchi/Manabu Orido, Toyota, 1:30.852, 91.137.
15, (77), Katsuo Kobayashi/Tatsuya Tanigawa, Subaru Impreza, 1:30.940, 91.049.
16, (7), Shinichi Yamaji/Hiroyuki Iiri, Mazda RX7, 1:30.959, 91.030.
17, (80), Mitsuhiro Kinoshita/Kazuki Hoshino, Nissan 350Z Turbo, 1:31.146, 90.843.
18, (63), OSAMU/Takaya Tsubobayashi, RD 320R, 1:31.384, 90.606.
19, (5), Tetsuji Tamanaka/Go Mifune, RD 320R, 1:31.645, 90.348.
20, (26), Eiji Yamada/Patric Vanschoote, Dodge Viper Comp Coupe, 1:32.914, 89.114.
21, (2), Kazuho Takahashi/Akira Watanabe/Hiroki Yoshimoto, Honda NSX, 1:33.184, 88.856.
22, (6), Geoff Escalette/Blake Russer, Porsche 911 Cup, 1:36.658, 85.662.
23, (00), Steven Bernheim, Porsche 911 Cup, 1:36.759, 85.573.

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