OYAMA, Japan - There were some flashes of brilliance from the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 in the final round of this year's SUPER GT series held at Fuji Speedway this weekend. Although a podium finish proved elusive, three Nissans finished in the top 10 and the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli rounded off the season at 6th in the rankings to make it a solid end to a tumultuous season.
Starting from 6th on the grid, Quintarelli got off to an impeccable start in the #23 GT-R, overtaking the #64 NSX-GT at the first corner and then the #38 GR Supra shortly thereafter. He went on to pass an impressive three more rivals on the outside of Dunlop Corner to leap into the race lead before the first lap had ended. Having headed into this final round at 3rd in the rankings, it seemed that another title was within reach for Quintarelli and Matsuda.
However, as the race progressed the #23 GT-R struggled for pace and dropped back several positions before ultimately finishing the race in 9th. After grabbing two points, the pair finished at a commendable 6th in the championship.
The #3 GT-R of Kohei Hirate and Katsumasa Chiyo began from 9th on the grid and second stint driver, Chiyo engaged in a hard-fought battle with the #12 GT-R and #38 GR Supra. He went on to pass the #12 GT-R in lap 51 and was then side-by-side with the #38 GR Supra on the home straight of lap 52, before braking late at the first corner to pass on the inside. He pushed hard for the rest of the race, ultimately passing the checkered flag in 6th. The #12 GT-R, which had begun from 8th on the grid followed behind in 7th.
Following the race Chiyo related, 'I pushed as hard as I could right until the end of the race. The team was really fast in the pits and I think this race really summed up a year of hard work.'
In the GT300 class the Realize Nissan Automobile Technical College GT-R began from 7th and displayed an impeccable performance to finish 2nd and secure the GT300 class championship.
The NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT500 ends the season with two race victories plus a 2nd place podium finish. The NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 saw three race wins, three podium finishes and ultimately a season title making it a solid year for the Nissan teams.
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