By Johan Laubscher
The first GT300 race was held at the JAF Grand Prix Fuji Sprint Cup this morning, a special non-championship event for the Japanese Super GT and Super Formula. Richard Lyons was behind the wheel of the #21 Hitotsuyama Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra and he was able to recover following a difficult qualifying session.
As was the case during the bulk of the 2013 Super GT season, the sole Audi entry in the GT300 class this weekend is the #21 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Hitotsuyama Racing. Their regular two-man driver line-up of Akihiro Tsuzuki and Richard Lyons will be behind the wheel this weekend. They had a season of ups and downs as they worked against bad luck and a negative Balance of Performance, but they never gave up and worked hard all season long, despite the setbacks.
The Fuji Sprint Cup is split into two sprint races per category. Each car has two drivers and each driver will do one of the two sprint races individually. The two Super GT classes are also split for the races, running GT500 and GT300 separately in the sprints.
It was a difficult qualifying session which saw the R8 LMS ultra relegated to the rear of the field, as has been the case in Super GT all season long. Richard Lyons qualified nineteenth for the first race and Akihiro Tsuzuki qualified twenty-first for the second race.
The first GT300 race got underway on Saturday morning. Hitotsuyama Racing pushed hard with Richard Lyons and the race concluded with the #21 Audi R8 LMS ultra having recovered up to thirteenth place by the finish, up from the nineteenth starting position. The first race was won by the #3 S Road NDDP Nissan GTR GT3 ahead of the #11 GAINER DIXCEL Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3 and the #55 ARTA Honda CR-Z.
Photo credit: Audi Sport Communication / Media