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Autopolis Pole For Porsche Center Okazaki

C.S.I Racing captures GT4 class pole

The fourth round of the Super Taikyu Series powered by Hankook at Autopolis International Racing Course starts at 11:00 JST (local time), 3:00 BST / 4:00 CEST / Saturday 22:00 EDT. You can watch the five-hour race live and uninterrupted on Super Taikyu TV in the video link below, and live timing is also available to follow along with.

In a warm, humid, mid-afternoon qualifying session, the #16 Porsche Center Okazaki 911 GT3-R of Hiroaki Nagai, Yuta Kamimura, and Yuichi Nakayama scored their second overall and ST-X (GT3) class pole position of the season.

Nagai was the fastest gentleman driver in the A Driver segment of qualifying, setting the early pace with a lap of 1’51.807, the only driver in his group to break the 1 minute 52 second threshhold. The top four drivers in the B Driver segment were separated by just four-tenths of a second, and fourth placed Kamimura’s time of 1’49.643 was quick enough to secure the pole for his team, their first since the season opener at Twin Ring Motegi.

The #290 Floral Racing with ABSSA McLaren 720S GT3 qualified in second place. There was a last-minute substitution of gentleman drivers before the event – Teruhiko Hamano replacing Tadao Uematsu, alongside Keita Sawa, Shintaro Kawabata, and Yuji Ide. The #31 apr Racing Lexus RC F GT3 (Hideki Nagai/Koki Saga/Kazuto Kotaka) qualified in third, ahead of the #777 D’station Racing Aston Martin AMR Vantage GT3 (Satoshi Hoshino/Tomonobu Fujii/Tsubasa Kondo) in fourth, the championship leaders carrying 70 kilogrammes of success weight this weekend.

Followed by the two Nissan GT-Rs, the #9 MP Racing GT-R (Joe Shindo/Yusaku Shibata/Masami Kageyama/Keiichi Inoue) in fifth, then the #81 Daishin GTNET GT-R (Noboyuki Oyagi/Takayuki Aoki/Kiyoto Fujinami/Ryuichiro Oyagi), winners of the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours, in sixth.

Seventh overall and winners of ST-1 class pole position, was the #2 KTM Cars Japan X-Bow GTX (Taiyou Iida/Hiroki Katoh/Kazuho Takahashi/Hiroki Yoshimoto), ahead of the ST-Q class #28 ORC/ROOKIE Racing Toyota GR Supra (Naoya Gamou/Daisuke Toyoda/Yasuhiro Ogura/Kenta Yamashita) which lines up eighth overall on the grid. Second fastest in the ST-1 class was the #38 muta Racing Toyota GR Supra (Sena Sakaguchi/Ryohei Sakaguchi), who was over two and a half seconds adrift of the KTM, but still quick enough for tenth overall.

The ST-Z (GT4) class pole position went to Corolla Shin-Ibaraki (C.S.I) Racing and their #311 Fabulous/GRMI Toyota GR Supra GT4, driven by Hirokazu Suzuki, Kimiya Sato, and Yusuke Shiotsu.

Suzuki narrowly took the top spot in the “A” segment ahead of the #500 Team 5Zigen Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Ryuichiro Otsuka, by just 0.036 seconds. The “B” segment was a GR Supra benefit, with all four Toyotas covered by six-tenths at the top of the board. Sato, in fourth, was quick enough to secure the pole on aggregate.

It’s C.S.I Racing’s second ST-Z pole in succession, they took pole with their #311 GR Supra in the second round at Sugo, but withheld their ST-Z entry from the most recent Fuji 24 Hours.

Second fastest in the class was the returning #111 Hiroshima Toyopet Racing GR Supra (Toshiyuki Matsuda/Yuga Furutani/Yasutaka Hinoi/Ryo Hirakawa), back after withdrawing from Fuji due to concerns over COVID-19 spikes. Furutani was the quickest in the “B” segment, quick enough to secure eleventh on the grid overall. They’ll line up ahead of the #885 Hayashi Telempu Shade Racing GR Supra (Hiro Hayashi/Katsuyuki Hiranaka/Ai Miura), then the 5Zigen AMG GT4 of Otsuka, Toshihiro Kaneishi, Jake Parsons, and Yu Kanamaru. The championship-leading #3 Endless AMG GT4 (Yudai Uchida/Hideki Yamauchi/Togo Suganami/Ryo Ogawa) qualified sixth in class, 17th overall.

The #97 Racer M&K Racing Honda Civic TCR (Mitsuhiro Endo/Shinji Nakano/Syun Koide) took ST-TCR pole position with a 14th place qualifying result.

In the second group, the production categories were led by the ST-2 class #6 Shinryo Racing Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X (Tomohiro Tomimasu/Yasushi Kikuchi/Masazumi Ohashi), which qualified 23rd overall.

The Lancer had nearly a four second margin to the #225 Kobe Toyopet Motorsports Toyota GR Yaris (Seita Nonaka/Hibiki Taira/Miki Onaga/Kengo Ichijo), which starts 28th.

The #39 Air Buster/Winmax Lexus RC 350 (Yusuke Tomibayashi/Kazuya Oshima/Hirotaka Ishii) qualified 24th overall, taking the ST-3 class pole by half a second ahead of the #52 Saitama Toyopet GreenBrave Toyota Crown RS (Naoki Hattori/Hiroki Yoshida/Kohta Kawaai) behind them.

C.S.I Racing doubled up on class pole positions, with their #310 GR Garage Mito Inter Toyota 86 (Sho Tsuboi/Shinya Hosokawa/Fuma Horio) edging out the #884 Shade Racing 86 (Yuji Kunimoto/Keishi Ishikawa/Eijiro Shimizu) for the ST-4 class pole (33rd overall).

The aggregate times of Tsuboi/Hosokawa and Kunimoto/Ishikawa were separated by just 0.052 seconds!

The ST-5 class pole (38th overall) went to the #456 Avantech Racing Team Mazda Roadster (Riku Hashimoto/Kousei Kanto/Tatsuya Osaki/Koji Obara), ahead of the #72 Nihon Automobile College Roadster (Makoto Kanai/Anna Inotsume/Tatsuya Okahara).

The hydrogen powered #32 ROOKIE Racing Toyota Corolla Sport H2 Concept qualified 37th, placing them just ahead of all the ST-5 class runners. Masahiro Sasaki set a best lap of 2’09.992. Sasaki, Takuto Iguchi, Takamitsu Matsui, and Toyota president Akio “Morizo” Toyoda will aim to finish the five-hour race after successfully taking the chequered flag at the Fuji 24 Hours.

QUALIFYING RESULTS >>

Images courtesy of Naoyuki Hata and the Super Taikyu Organisation (STO)