Nissan and Honda fastest in GT 500 and GT 300 classes respectively

Petaling Jaya, 15 June 2013 - Tyre management and what is shaping to become a tyre war will be absolutely critical in deciding the outcome of round three of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Series at Sepang International Circuit tomorrow (16 June 2013) as teams.

That was the common sentiment shared by both pole position team drivers in the GT 500 and GT 300 classes ahead of tomorrow's 54-lap two-hour race in which tyre manufacturers Bridgestone and Michelin have both been dominant.

Calsonic IMPUL GT-R's Tsugio Matsuda and Joao Paulo Lima De Oliveira were fastest around the 5.543km Sepang International Circuit with a time of 1 minute: 55. 456 seconds in the GT 500 class as the final qualifying session of the day benefitted from perfectly ambient dry weather.

"We were very worried about the initial set-up of the car earlier in the day but we looked at the telemetry data, made a few critical changes and managed to improve our lap times.It's going to be a long race tomorrow and it will be important to manage the tyres well and not push the tyres over the edge before the end of the race," said De Oliveira.

He singled out the closest challengers will likely come from Lexus Team Zent Cerumo drivers Yuji Tachikawa and Kohei Hirate who was second fastest in qualifying with a time of 1 min:55.589 sec. The Lexus Team KeePer Tom's Daisuke Ito and Andrea Caldarelli meanwhile, clocked 1 min: 55.688 sec and will start tomorrow's 54-lap race from third position on the grid.

"We will definitely have to careful with Lexus. The straights in Sepang are very long and they seem to have an advantage in these sectors."

After scoring its first victory in round 2 at the Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka, Japan, the Malaysian-backed Petronas Toms SC430 pair of Kazuki Nakajima and James Rossiter meanwhile, had to settle for 11th position, with a time of 1 min: 56.552 sec.

The Malaysian round of the 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Series is being organised by JPM Motorsport. Formerly known as the All-Japan Grand Touring Car Championship (JGTC), the Super GT Series is a grand touring car race series promoted by the GT Association (G.T.A.).

The battle for supremacy in the GT 300 class, is also shaping to become a closely contested one with ARTA CRZ GT's Shinichi Takagi and Takashi Kobayashi securing pole position with a time of 2 min: 03.374 sec. A second Honda CRZ will line-up alongside on the front row of the grid driven by the pair of Hideki Mutoh and Yuhki Nakayama of Team MUGEN, while in third position is the Subaru of R&D Sport's Tetsuya Yamano and Kota Sasaki.

The car seems to be very well suited to Sepang, and hopefully Kobayashi and I will be able to bring it across the finish line with a good result," said senior driver Takagi.
"The Subarus are very strong. They've already secured two pole positions so far in three rounds of the series and they are incredibly strong. Ultimately, I hope the weather remains and it doesn't rain because that would be a very big difference to the outcome of the race."