Super GT Series: Tachikawa, Ishiura victorious at Fuji Speedway
Lexus drivers Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura are the winners of the 500-km race today at Fuji Speedway, the second round of the 2019 Super GT Series. It was the first Super GT event this year at Fuji, the second would be the 500-mile race in August and then season-closing non-championship race in November.
Tachikawa and Ishiura won the race in the #38 Lexus LC500 of Lexus Team Zent Cerumo, giving the first win to Lexus in 2019. For Tachikawa, it’s his ninth Super GT victory at Fuji and 19th Super GT win in a career. Ishiura also has an impressive record with eight Super GT wins, four at Fuji Speedway.
All three GT500 manufacturers had their representatives on a podium. Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quaintarelli were the fastest qualifiers but finished the race in the second place in the #23 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R. Reigning champions Naoki Yamamoto and Jenson Button completed a podium after finishing third in the #1 Raybrig Honda NSX-GT.
There were also three different manufacturers represented on the GT300 class podium. Katsuyuki Hiranaka and Hironobu Yasuda took the victory in the #11 Gainer Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Shinichi Takagi and Nirei Fukuzumi caught the second place in the #55 ARTA Honda NSX GT3 while Takashi Kogure and Yuya Motojima completed the podium in the #88 JLOC Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Due to bad weather conditions, the race started behind the Safety Car which stayed on the track for two laps. Nick Cassidy was the fastest starter in the #37 KeePer Tom’s Lexus, taking the lead in front of polesitter Ronnie Quintarelli. In the following laps, Cassidy lost two positions to Quintarelli and Tachikawa before the race was red-flagged because of a thunderstorm. Tachikawa took the lead just a few moments before the Safety Car was deployed.
On the restart, Tachikawa defended his lead while Cassidy overtook Quintarelli for P2. On lap 24, Cassidy was back in the lead. Soon after that, Tachikawa also lost position to Quintarelli, who then took the lead from Cassidy.
The battle for victory continued after pitstops, with Matsuda and Ishiura in leading cars. On the half-point of the race, with 250 km to go, Ishiura took the lead from Matsuda, later handing the car back to Tachikawa. In the end, Tachikawa crossed the finish line 19.693 seconds ahead of Quintarelli.
Photos: Super GT Series,