Nick Cassidy has held onto second place in Japan’s SUPER GT series in his Lexus LC 500, despite only finishing tenth at the latest round at Sugo.
The Aucklander had worked his way up to sixth place by the half way distance of the 300 kms race, despite carrying the heaviest weight handicap of any car in the field and a five percent fuel restriction thanks to his and co-driver Ryo Hirakawa’s good results earlier in the season.
I had a great stint, making progress through the field and pitted from directly behind the eventual winner,” said Cassidy. “Unfortunately, Safety Car confusion mixed up the laps of the front runners and ruined a lot of car’s races – us included. The end results were like a lottery.”
Repeated safety car interventions when Cassidy pitted to hand over to Hirakawa saw them drop to tenth place a lap down.
A puncture in the closing laps blunted Hirakawa’s chances of making up any places and required another pit stop.
The race was won by former Formula One driver, Heiki Kovalainen and his codriver Kohei Hirate, who made the most of the safety car to leap frog to the front in their Lexus LC 500 and maintain the marque’s 100 percent winning record.
The next round of championship is another 300 kms race at Fuji in a fortnight’s time.
Sugo 300 kms, Round 4 Super GT series
1, H Kovalainen, K Hirate (Lexus LC500) 81 laps;
2, S Motoyama, K Chiyo (Nissan GTR) 81 laps;
3, K Oshima, A Caldarella (Lexus LC500) 80 laps
10, N Cassidy, R Hirakawa (Lexus LC500) 79 laps.
Championship points. -
1, Oshima, Caldarella, 41 points;
2, Cassidy, Hirakawa, 37:
3, J Rossiter (Lexus LC500) 36;
4, Kovalainen, Hirate, 35.