Published on August 20th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Weider Modulo HSV-010 Wins The 42nd International Pokka Sapporo 1000km
The “42nd International Pokka Sapporo 1000km”, Round 5 of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series was held at the Suzuka Circuit (one lap 5.807 km x 173 laps) in Mie Pref. on August 18. Amid numerous accidents to be expected in a race of this length, the Weider Modulo HSV-010 driven by Naoki Yamamoto and Frederic Makowiecki won the GT500 class race for their first win of the season. In the GT300 class, the SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT (Tetsuya Yamano/Kota Sasaki/Takuto Iguchi) team won its first GT race with the BRZ.
In the early morning, a drizzle of rain had fallen on Suzuka Circuit, but by the afternoon the mid-summer sun had returned and the air temperature had risen to 34 degrees C. A large crowd of 36,000 spectators was on hand to see the start of this long-standing race event at 12:30 in the afternoon. For the competitors, the goal lay 1,000 km away. Despite being an endurance race, with these tough high-performance SUPER GT machines the idea of running a steady endurance race may sound good in theory, but in actuality there are near-sprint high-speed battles going on all over the track.
From pole position the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Ronnie Quinarelli) took the early lead, followed by the 2nd– and 3rd-place qualifiers, the Weider Modulo HSV-010 (Naoki Yamamoto) and the PETRONAS TOM’S SC430 (Kazuki Nakajima). Yamamoto in the Weider Modulo HSV-010 was passed at one point by Nakajima in the PETRONAS TOM’S SC430 to drop into 3rdposition, but from there he showed spectacular driving to power his LEXUS SC430 past the Nissan GT-R and take the lead.
One-third of the way into the race on lap 66 a GT300 class machine broke down and came to a stop. It was an accident that produced a small fire in the machine. The Safety Car was brought out to control the race until the machine could be removed. For nine laps the cars ran in line behind the SC. The Weider Modulo HSV-010 took this opportunity to make a pit stop that dropped it back to 3rd position again. But now, Makowiecki was at the wheel of the Honda HSV-010 GT and he drove it magnificently to pass the lead MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Masataka Yanagida) on lap 116 to reclaim the lead.
Once in the lead, Makowiecki and then Yamamoto never let the pursuing AUTECH MOTUL GT-R get close, as they ran on to victory. For the team it was the first win in a year, and for both Yamamoto and Makowiecki it was a memorable first GT500 class victory. For the Honda HSV-010 GT it was the second win in two races, the third of the season and ninth GT500 win overall.
In the GT300 class race, the pole-starting SUBARU BRZ R&D SPORT driven by Kota Sasaki never let the pack get close as it ran on at a pace all its own. After Sasaki, teammates Takuto Iguchi and Tetsuya Yamano also ran their stints to perfection. But, during Sasaki’s final stint there was breakage in the car’s rear aerodynamic parts that caused him to lose speed. A pit stop for repairs allowed the GSR HATSUNEMIKU BMW (Nobuteru Taniguchi) to take the lead. When Sasaki returned to the race with the repaired machine, he was able to regain his original speed and caught and passed the BMW in the last 13 laps. The SUBARU BRZ went on to the win, its first in its second year of SUPER GT competition.