Fuji SUPER GT: Nissans lock out front row for 500-mile race

Nissan locked out the front row for SUPER GT's Fuji 500-mile race after the qualifying session was ended prematurely following a major crash for Honda runner Koudai Tsukakoshi

Fuji SUPER GT: Nissans lock out front row for 500-mile race

Tsukakoshi's Real Racing Honda suffered a braking problem on the approach to Turn 1, slamming the barriers hard and bringing out a red flag.

Just 20 seconds remained in qualifying when the red flag was deployed, meaning the session was not restarted and the result was declared based on lap times set prior to the intervention.

The factory-entered NISMO GT-R of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugoi Matsuda assumed its third pole position of the season, courtesy of Matsuda's time of 1m28.519s.

Frederic Makowiecki and Kohei Hirate qualified second in the similar Michelin-shod B-Max Nissan, 0.130 seconds down on the polesitting car.

Nissan is the only one of the series' three GT500 manufacturers yet to win a race this season, despite largely topping pre-season testing and scoring poles at three of the five rounds so far.

The Bandoh Lexus of Sho Tsuboi and Yuji Kunimoto, which secured its first podium of the season in Thailand in June, qualified three tenths off the pace in third.

Fuji specialists Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura set the fourth-fastest time in the Cerumo Lexus, heading the #36 TOM'S Lexus of Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi.

Jann Mardenborough, who led last year's Fuji 500-mile round until a late technical issue, qualified sixth in the #24 Kondo Nissan he shares with Mitsunori Takaboshi.

The Nakajima Honda team enjoyed its best qualifying of the season by taking seventh, with Narain Karthikeyan and Tadasuke Makino at the wheel.

The Real Racing Honda of Tsukakoshi and Bertrand Baguette was eight, having not set a timed lap prior to Tsukakoshi's major off.

Reigning champions Jenson Button and Naoki Yamamoto were knocked out in Q1, the Kunimitsu Honda duo qualifying 10th for the bonus-points race.

The points-leading LeMans Lexus of Kenta Yamashita and Kazuya Oshima will start 11th, three places ahead of its chief championship rival, the #1 TOM'S Lexus LC500 of Nick Cassidy and Ryo Hirakawa.

Both cars were saddled with heavy success ballast, including fuel-flow restrictors that limit the top speed on Fuji's long straight/finish straight.

Toyota on pole in GT300 class

GT300 pole honours went to the #52 Saitama Toyopet Toyota Mach X MC, with Hiroki Yoshida and Shigekazu Wakisaka delivering a lap time of 1m37.316s.

The factory-supported #7 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, whose full-season line-up of Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Tomonobu Fujii has been bolstered by Darren Turner for the Fuji round, qualified 10th, one place ahead of the championship-leading #55 ARTA Honda NSX GT3 of Nirei Fukuzumi and Shinichi Takagi.

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