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SUPER GT: Nissan Z best it’s felt all year

Jamie Klein

Quintarelli and his team-mate Tsugio Matsuda took their best starting position of the 2022 season so far in eighth place as the Italian driver managed to get the #23 car through Q1 for the first time this season.

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Although Matsuda’s Q2 lap was 1.3 seconds away from Bandoh Toyota driver Sena Sakaguchi’s pole benchmark, Quintarelli was optimistic about the team’s chances of making up for ground in Sunday’s 100-lap race.

That’s partly due to some changes to the #23 car’s set-up in the wake of NISMO colleagues Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi’s landslide win at Suzuka last time.

“The car felt good since the second part of the morning [free practice] “I think it was the best thing the car felt all season,” Quintarelli told Motorsport.com. I pushed and I felt the car was there.

“We worked on the set-up, we had some information from car #3, because [up to now] each crew went their separate ways. So this time we mixed their lineup with our lineup and it felt good.

“The car felt really good in Sector 2, in fast corners, but it was missing something in the last sector, in low speed corners.”

Quintarelli said he had to get through Q1 instead of Matsuda after the Japanese driver’s penalty, which meant he was unable to participate in the second half of the morning’s free practice, including the 10-minute GT500 segment which is usually seen as dress serves. rehearsal for qualifying.

He admitted that he and Matsuda, with 11 points to make up for championship leaders Chiyo and Takaboshi, face some key races at Fuji and Suzuka in their hopes of vying for the title.

“I was hoping Tsugio would be P5″ [in Q2], but he couldn’t bring the sectors together,” said Quintarelli. “With P5 I would have confidence. With P8 we have to work a little harder, but I’m still optimistic.

“I would say that this race and the next one at Suzuka are both very important. We need to get big points. At Suzuka the #3 car was so fast, so here or [at the next] suzuka [race] we have to come back.

“With this set-up, I think we can be very strong on Suzuka. That’s why I say Suzuka is also a very important race.”

Baguette bullish on Impuls race pace

One place for the NISMO car on the starting grid for Sunday’s race is the #12 Impul Z shared by Bertrand Baguette and Kazuki Hiramine.

While unable to challenge the Yokohama-swept cars blocking the front row in Q2, Baguette said he was pleased to be so close to the pace of the fastest Bridgestone-swept car, and believes the tire choice of the team before the race must put them in good order for a backlash.

“If we look at what we did in round 2 [at Fuji]where we didn’t make it to Q2 and we were struggling for the race pace, it was a good day,” Baguette told Motorsport.com.

“In Q2, the Bridgestone cars were all within three tenths more or less, but there are a number of different tire choices among the Bridgestone users, so it will depend on the pre-race conditions.

“Given our choice, we can be happy with our position. The warmer it is, the better for us. Our pace on high fuel consumption and used tires was pretty good, so I’m confident for the race.”

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