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Rachit Thukral

Super GT Okayama: Toyota locks out front row for season opener

Returning to the track he won at last year alongside teammate Kenta Yamashita, Oshima posted a time of 1m17.251s right at the end of the 10-minute Q2 pole shootout to beat Yuichi Nakayama’s SARD Toyota by one-and-a-half tenths.

In a qualifying session dominated by Toyota, with four of the GR Supras progressing to the second leg of qualifying, Tadasuke Makino provided the strongest challenge in the Kunimitsu Honda but ultimately had to settle for third on the grid.

Having sat second for much of the qualifying with a time that was just 0.001s slower than Yuji Kunimoto’s benchmark in the Bandoh Toyota, Makino managed to go fractionally quicker on his final lap but was nearly three tenths off the ultimate pace.

Yuji Tachikawa qualified fourth in the Cerumo Toyota, ahead of the best of the new Nissan Z cars, the #24 Kondo Racing machine of two-time GT500 champion Kohei Hirate.

Giuliano Alesi was sixth in the #36 TOM’S Toyota in his first qualifying session as a GT500 driver, beating the second Nissan of Impul driver Bertrand Baguette, although Alesi's teammate Sho Tsuboi had topped the times in Q1.

Kunimoto’s fastest time, which had put him fourth-fastest in the Bandoh Toyota, was later deleted due to a track limits infraction, leaving him eighth and last among the Q2 runners.

Both the NISMO-entered Nissan Zs were eliminated in the first part of qualifying, with Tsugio Matsuda ninth in the #23 car and Mitsunori Takaboshi only managing the 14th-quickest time in the #3 machine.

Reigning Super Formula champion Tomoki Nojiri was 10th-fastest for Honda squad ARTA, while the similarly Bridgestone-equipped Real Racing entry of Koudai Tsukakoshi was another surprise dropout in 12th.

The only Toyota not to make it into Q2 was the #37 TOM’S Supra of Sacha Fenestraz, with the Frenchman posting a time of 1m17.950s to end up 13th on the grid.

The 15-car GT500 grid will be propped up by the Mugen Honda after Toshiki Oyu was forced to bring the Red Bull-sponsored machine to the pits halfway through qualifying due to technical issues.

Subaru on GT300 pole

SUBARU BRZ Shakedown (Photo by: / Japan)

Subaru picked up where it left off in 2021, with Takuto Iguchi and Hideki Yamauchi taking pole position for last year’s championship-winning R&D Sport team.

Yamauchi broke the circuit lap record with a time of 1m24.286s in the #61 Subaru BRZ to comfortably outqualify the closest of his rivals, Shinichi Takagi in the #96 K-Tunes Lexus RC F.

Newcomer Riki Okusa qualified the #10 Gainer Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 third, with fellow rookie Kakunoshin Ota in the #18 UpGarage Honda NSX GT3 making it four different manufacturers in the top four.

2020 GT300 champion Joao Paulo de Oliveira missed out on a spot on the second row of the grid by just 0.034s in the #56 Kondo Nissan, while the Pacific CarGuy Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 ended up only sixth on the grid with Naoki Yokomizo despite topping its Q1 group with Kei Cozzolino at the wheel.

The new BMW M4 GT3 made a solid debut in Super GT, with factory driver Augusto Farfus qualifying seventh for Team Studie.

ARTA was one of the leading GT300 teams that failed to progress into the second segment of qualifying, with Hideki Mutoh’s time of 1m25.798s leaving the #55 Honda crew 23rd on the grid.

  • Stream every qualifying session and race of the 2022 Super GT season only on
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