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Super GT Round 1 – Suzuka, March 18
Hondas – Then Lexus At The Flag

Honda NSXs occupied the first four places on the grid for the opening round of the 2007 series, but it was a Lexus that took the chequered flag first – that of Yuji Tachikawa / Toranosuke Takagi (ZENT SC430).

Ralph Firman had good reason to feel aggrieved though, because Daisuke Ito was leading starting the last lap, in the NSX started from pole by Firman. But Ito’s engine failed, and 40 seconds later, the #38 Lexus swept past for the win.

Firman led comfortably from the start, the race run in the dry, but with a cool wind blowing. Dramas unfolded as early as the first corner, Michael Krumm in the #22 Nissan colliding with the #39 SARD Lexus of Hiranaka. Firman simply drove away at the front in the #8 ARTA NSX, setting the fastest lap as early as lap 3. Second, third and fourth were the two Hondas of Michigami and Schwager, and the eventual winner. Loic Duval had already spun (on lap 10) in another of the Hondas, but this one would recover to finish best of the NSXs. Motoyama was running fifth in the best of the Nissans, this the car shared with Richard Lyons.

Takagi and Motoyama were the first to pit for the driver change, and both Bridgestone runners saved time by only changing rear tyres. But with the stops over, it was still a Honda 1-2-3, Ito in #8 from Kogure in #18 then Hosokawa in #100.

Hosokawa was the first of the three Hondas to be removed: he crashed, promoting Tachikawa and Lyons to third and fourth.

That became second and third, when the #18 Honda was seen belching flames on lap 45 (of 52). So it was heading for a reasonably well spaced out Honda – Lexus – Nissan finish, until the final Honda drama on lap 52, the last. “Entering the last lap I heard over the radio that the leader was slowing down,” commented Tachikawa, “and I thought there might be a chance.”

“This is a competition that can't be won by speed alone,” said Tora Takagi. “It takes strong teamwork, luck and the drivers' skill. I think that is why we won.” He was clear though that the Hondas’ rivals need to find some more speed.

The best-placed Honda of Duval and Carbone manged third despite that lap 10 spin and a drive-through penalty for not cutting the engine at the pit stop. Firman and Ito were classified twelfth.

Nissan at least took the GT300 class, the oddly named ENDLESS ADVAN SENZAIKAKUMEI Z coming home first, having led almost throughout. Second was the unusual Shiden of Katoh / Takahashi, 12 seconds down at the flag.

Result
GT500
1 38 ZENT CERUMO SC430 Yuji Tachikawa / Toranosuke Takagi 1:43'25.744 52 BS

2 23 XANAVI NISMO Z Satoshi Motoyama / Richard Lyons 0'03.427 52 BS
3 32 EPSON NSX Loic DUVAL / Fabio CARBONE 0'28.302 52 DL
4 6 Forum Eng. SC430 Tatsuya Kataoka / Bjorn Wirdheim 0'34.527 52 BS
5 22 MOTUL AUTECH Z Michael Krumm / Tsugio Matsuda 0'35.031 52 BS
6 17 REAL NSX Katsutomo Kaneishi / Toshihiro Kaneishi 0'35.402 52 BS
7 1 Houzan TOM'S SC430 Juichi Wakisaka / Andre Lotterer 0'38.233 52 BS
8 35 BANDAI DUNLOP SC430 Naoki Hattori / Peter Dumbreck 0'59.264 52 DL
9 25 ECLIPSE ADVAN SC430 Takeshi Tsuchiya / Manabu Orido 1'06.699 52 YH
10 3 YellowHat YMS MobaHO ! TOMICA Z Sebastien Philippe / Masataka Yanagida 1'07.112 52 BS
11 12 CALSONIC IMPUL Z Benoit Treluyer / Kazuki Hoshino 1'28.535 52 BS
12 8 ARTA NSX Daisuke Ito / Ralph Firman 1Lap 51 BS
13 18 TAKATA DOME NSX Ryo Michigami / Takashi Kogure 8Laps 44 BS
Not Classified (GT500: 36 Laps)
100 RAYBRIG NSX Dominik Schwager / Shinya Hosokawa 22Laps 30 BS
24 WOODONE ADVAN Clarion Z J.P.L. De Oliveira / Seiji Ara 45Laps 7 YH
39 DENSO SARD SC430 Andre Couto / Katsuyuki Hiranaka 51Laps 1 BS

GT300
1 13 ENDLESS ADVAN SENZAIKAKUMEI Z Masami Kageyama / Tomonobu Fujii 1:43'45.767 48 YH

2 2 Privée KENZO Asset Shiden Kazuho Takahashi / Hiroki Katoh 0'12.678 48 YH
3 101 TOY STORY apr MR-S Kazuya Oshima / Hiroaki Ishiura 0'20.404 48 MI
4 88 AKTIO MURCIE RG-1 Marco Apicella / Koji Yamanishi 0'28.065 48 YH
5 62 WILLCOM ADVAN VEMAC408R Shinsuke Shibahara / Haruki Kurosawa 0'32.703 48 YH
6 110 GREEN-TEC BOXSTER GT Takuya Kurosawa / Hidetoshi Mitsusada 1'32.664 48 YH
7 5 KUMHO Proµ MACH-GO 320R Tetsuji Tamanaka / Hironori Takeuchi 1'33.418 48 KH
8 31 apr MR-S Kyosuke Mineo / Yuya Sakamoto 1'35.157 48 MI
9 7 RE AMEMIYA RX-7 Hiroyuki Iiri / Ryo Orime 1'36.790 48 YH
10 4 EBBRO 350R Tetsuya Tanaka / Shinsuke Yamazaki 1'39.265 48 YH
11 26 YUNKER-POWER TAISAN PORSCHE Shinichi Yamaji / Nobuteru Taniguchi 1'39.845 48 YH
12 87 MARUHON MURCIE RG-1 Yasutaka Hinoi / Atsushi Yogo 1Lap 47 YH
13 46 Houzan DUNLOP Z Kota Sasaki / Naoki Yokomizo 1Lap 47 DL
14 19 WedsSport Celica Akira Iida / Yuhi Sekiguchi 1Lap 47 YH
15 83 YOKOYAMA ADVAN UEMATSU RD320R Tadao Uematsu / Ryohei Sakaguchi 1Lap 47 YH
16 666 Rakuten BOMEX 320R Shogo Suho / Junichiro Yamashita 2Laps 46 YH
17 47 Houzan DUNLOP Z Shigekazu Wakisaka / Shogo Mitsuyama 2Laps 46 DL
18 43 ARTA Garaiya Morio Nitta / Shinichi Takagi 2Laps 46 MI
19 333 Mario ADVAN ISHIMATSU PORSCHE Katsuo Kobayashi / Takashi Inoue 2Laps 46 YH
20 70 Gaishano Gaikokuya ADVAN PORSCHE Hiroshi Koizumi / Kazuyoshi Takamizawa 3Laps 45 YH
21 77 CUSCO DUNLOP SUBARU IMPREZA Tetsuya Yamano / Takayuki Aoki 7Laps 41 DL
22 11 TOTAL BENEFIT JIM CENTER F360 Masayuki Ueda / Hideshi Matsuda 8Laps 40 YH

Not Classified (GT300: 33 Laps)
55 DHG ADVAN FORD GT Daisuke Ikeda / Taku Bamba 17Laps 31 YH
9 LEYJUN DUNLOP MT900 OSAMU / Guts Jyonai 25Laps 23 DL
118 FINA GLAD SpecialOlympics GT3R Takashi Miyamoto / Shozo Tagahara 26Laps 22 YH