Six Honda teams qualify for Suzuka 8 hours top 10 trial

Six Honda teams qualify for Suzuka 8 hours top 10 trial

Free practice sessions for the Suzuka 4 Hours held on the previous day were marred by intermittent showers, which lingered into Friday morning as the two-hour free practice session for the Suzuka 8 Hours commenced at 8:10 am. 

From 12:10 pm, team riders were designated as blue, yellow and red for two separate 20-minute qualifying sessions each. In the F.I.M. Endurance World Championship (E.W.C.), starting grid positions are determined by the average best lap of each team’s three riders. Two riders from the top ten teams then proceed to the Top 10 Trial to be held on August 6 to determine the final starting grid.

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Free practice

In the morning’s free practice session, Team H.R.C. (Tetsuta Nagashima / Takumi Takahashi / Iker Lecuona) led the field as Tetsuta Nagashima set the fastest lap time of 2 min 5.823 s, which went unchallenged. 

The third fastest was ♯73 S.D.G. Honda Racing (Teppei Nagle / Naomichi Uramoto / Ikuhiro Enokido) with 2 min 6.838 s. In the 2 min 7 s range, ♯5 F.C.C. T.S.R. Honda France (Josh Hook / Gino Rea / Mike Di Meglio) was sixth-fastest, ♯17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing (Kosuke Sakumoto / Kazuma Watanabe / Taiga Hada) was seventh, and ♯72 Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA (Sodo Hamahara / Daijiro Hiura / Yuki Kunii) was eighth. 

One second slower, ♯9 Murayama.Honda Dream. R.T. was tenth-fastest with 2 min 8.130s. The weather improved by midday when the skies were much brighter. The track was dry primarily when Blue riders were up for their first qualifying session. 

Nagashima (#33) clocked 2 min 6.659 s on his second lap, followed by an extremely fast 2 min 4.942 s, faster than the lap record of 2 min 5.1682 s set by Jonathan Rea in 2018.

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Weather

The sun was shining as the first Yellow rider’s qualifying session began. Takahashi (#33) went through the pit road, timing his entry into the track for his hot lap. Takahashi’s 2 min 7.238 s placed him fifth, and on the fourth lap, he improved by nearly a second to 2 min 6.494 s. The top 3 remained the same, while Hiura (#72) improved his position to sixth with a 2 min 7.204 s lap. Rea (#5) was one place behind with 2 min 7.204 s.

Rain began to fall as the Red riders prepared for their first qualifying session. Lecuona (#33) returned to the pits. Later in the session, the sun shone as the showers continued, and riders began to return to the track with seven minutes remaining. In the end, De Meglio (#5) was the fastest rider with 2 min 10.556 s.

The rain had stopped when the second Red riders qualifying session began. As the track nearly dried up, the rain started again. ♯104 TOHO Racing (Ryuichi Kiyonari / Takuma Kunimine / Hiromichi Kunikawa) rider Kunimine set the fastest time of 2 min 11.831 s. Lecuona (#33) set a lap time of 2 min 15.174 before returning to the pits. Overall, Di Meglio (#5) was the fastest, Kunimine (#104) was third, Lecuona (#33) was seventh, and Kunii (#72) was ninth.

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Best laps

The results of the averaged best laps from the Blue, Yellow and Red rider sessions were in #33. Team H.R.C. was the fastest. ♯17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing was fourth, ♯5 F.C.C. T.S.R. Honda France fifth, ♯72 Honda Dream RT SAKURAI HONDA seventh, ♯73 S.D.G. Honda Racing eighth, and ♯25 Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing ninth. These teams progress to tomorrow’s Top 10 trial.

In the Top 10 Trial, two riders from each team have timed hot laps, determining the top ten places on the starting grid. Eleventh onwards are unchanged from today’s Qualifying results. #88 Honda Asia-Dream Racing with SHOWA (Md Zaqhwan Bin Zaidi / Gerry Salim / Helmi Bin Azman) will start the race from the 16th grid.

The night session was held under heavy rain. ♯5 F.C.C. T.S.R. Honda France was seventh-fastest, ♯17 Astemo Honda Dream SI Racing was ninth, ♯73 S.D.G. Honda Racing 11th, ♯33 Team H.R.C. 13th, and ♯25 Honda Sofukai Suzuka Racing 14th.

via Suzuka Honda

 

 

 

 

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