No 25 Toyota 86 MC Vi­vaC bags GT300 class

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOCHIGI PRE­FEC­TURE: The Toyota camp had rea­sons to re­joice at the 2016 AUTOBACS SU­PER GT se­ries, as a thrilling en­counter in the fi­nal round (Round 8) re­sulted in a vic­to­ri­ous No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC pass­ing the check­ered flag, with No. 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT com­pet­ing bril­liantly for a sec­ond spot fin­ish. The much-awaited con­test was held on a dry course and un­der bright, clear skies at the Motegi Twin Ring in Tochigi Pre­fec­ture, Ja­pan.

With this mo­men­tous win and over­all sec­ond win of the sea­son, the No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC- ex­pertly driven by Takeshi Tsuchiya and Takamitsu Mat­sui through­out the se­ries also bagged the GT300 class Driv­ers and Team Cham­pi­onship ti­tles.

The early stages of the all-im­por­tant race be­longed to No. 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT driven by Koki Saga and Yuichi Nakayama that glided com­fort­ably in the lead­ing po­si­tion through the first turn and be­yond. Early threat to its spot came from com­peti­tor car No. 65 that made fu­tile at­tempts to ex­ploit any gaps. Well be­hind in the com­pe­ti­tion, the even­tual win­ner of the race had a luke­warm start to the race.

No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC lost ground in the open­ing laps and its driver Takeshi Tsuchiya seemed vis­i­bly re­luc­tant to in­crease pace. This cau­tion hinted to­wards a pos­si­ble tac­ti­cal ma­neu­ver that would con­trib­ute to a strong come­back, and ul­ti­mately a vic­tory for the team.

Lap 15 into the race marked a pit stop for most cars, but fore­go­ing the reg­u­la­tory halt was of much tac­ti­cal in­ter­est to the No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC that was now lag­ging be­hind in the tenth spot. It headed to­wards the pit lane but took only half the time com­pared to com­peti­tors by skip­ping the tire change and bring­ing Takamitsu Mat­sui on the driver’s seat. He im­me­di­ately started mak­ing an ef­fect on the pro­ceed­ings by over­tak­ing com­pet­ing car No. 65 be­fore it could warm up ad­e­quately with the fresh tires. His abil­ity to han­dle the heated con­test with calm per­se­ver­ance was par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive in the last leg of the race, as part­ner Takeshi Tsuchiya com­mented in the post-race press con­fer­ence: “It was great to see how cool Takamitsu Mat­sui was as he caught up with the leader. I hope we can con­tinue to bring up young driv­ers like him.”

No. 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT, still go­ing strong in the leader’s po­si­tion, mir­rored the ‘no-tire change’ tac­tic and only switched from Koki Saga to Yuichi Nakayama in a bid to fin­ish strong. Hav­ing re­served its full-throt­tle for the fi­nal stages of the race, No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC came back from be­hind to clock an in­cred­i­ble speed with the lead­ers of the pack. What then en­sued was a close con­test for the ul­ti­mate prize. Takamitsu Mat­sui held on to the pace while his com­peti­tor Yuichi Nakayama tried in vain to hold off the charge. Fi­nally, in lap 34 of the nail-bit­ing con­test, No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC passed No. 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT on a ‘V’ cor­ner, and re­tained the mar­ginal lead till it sped passed the check­ered flag. The ju­bi­lant win­ner was trailed by the sec­ond best racer by a frac­tion of a sec­ond, com­plet­ing the race with a gap of 0.929 sec­onds.

Takayuki Yoshit­sugu, Chief Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mid­dle East and North Africa Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice, Toyota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion, said: “We are over­joyed with this cham­pi­onship win by the No. 25 TOYOTA 86 MC Vi­vaC team and the podium fin­ish by the No. 31 TOYOTA PRIUS apr GT team. We con­grat­u­late the Toyota team for their ex­cel­lent and in­spir­ing per­for­mance through­out the cham­pi­onship. Fin­ish­ing on a high will lend the driv­ers and the sup­port staff a world of con­fi­dence and mo­men­tum for the next cham­pi­onship.”

Yoshit­sugu added: “Par­tic­i­pat­ing and ex­celling in such rac­ing ini­tia­tives lays the foun­da­tions in our jour­ney to­wards build­ing im­pres­sive, ‘ever-bet­ter’ cars that bring sat­is­fac­tion and a smile on our cus­tomers’ faces. We thank our rac­ers and cus­tomers who be­stow their con­fi­dence in us, and strengthen our re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts with their in­sights and feed­back to push the lim­its of en­gi­neer­ing.”

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