After a disappointing first round at Fuji last month for Nissan’s revised GT-R challenger, the Yokohama-based marque appeared to make a step forward for the series’ second visit to the track, as two of its cars cracked the top five in qualifying.
Hiramine and Daiki Sasaki put the Bridgestone-shod Impul Nissan in fourth, outqualifying the flagship NISMO car of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda by just 0.004s.
But come the race the GT-R contingent suffered compared to its rivals, as the #12 Impul car slipped to sixth on the road before a 40-second post-race penalty for Sasaki colliding with a GT300 Nissan dropped it down to 11th and out of the points.
“We didn’t expect to be P4 in qualifying,” Hiramine told Motorsport.com. “I didn’t know if we would even get through Q1. But in free practice we had good pace, no issues, so we could adjust the set-up step-by-step and finally for qualifying we found a good set-up.
“In the race the team let me do the start, and it was quite good, I enjoyed it a lot. The car was okay in my stint, but we had not enough speed in a straight line compared to Toyota and also Honda. We did the maximum we could, P6 was our pace.”
GT500 rookie Hiramine took the start in the #12 machine, marking his first race outing in SUPER GT’s top class as Impul’s race…