MZRacing

JAPAN DOMESTIC

  • 2019/03/29

Team NOPRO takes ST-5 class victory and ST-2 3rd place podium

Over March 23 (Sat) to 24 (Sun) the opening round of the Super Taikyu series, the 5 Hours of Suzuka was held at Suzuka Circuit. In the ST-5 class, the NOPRO Demio SKY-D (# 37 Ijiri Kaoru / Seki Yutaka / Tsuji Kazundo) took class victory, while in the ST-2 class the NOPRO Axela SKY-D (# 17 Tatsuya Tanigawa / Tatsuya Nogami / Yuhi Otani / Toshihiko Nogami) came 3rd. With this Team NOPRO won a double podium.

 

■ Seven Mazdas competed

 

A total of 53 S-Tai machines gathered at the Suzuka Circuit on Friday for the chilly weekend. This year’s entry list includes import FIA GT3, GT4 and TCR-class machines, as well as multiple foreign drivers such as Harrison Newey, Darren Turner, and drivers from around Asia. It definitely appears that the series has been transformed into a more diverse series.

 

Mazda has two cars from Team NOPRO, another in the form of the 2017 ST-5 class champion, the #88 Murakami Motors Roadster (Hiroyuki Murakami / Naoki Yamatani / Yasunori Nakajima / Taro Kiritani). These were joined by regular Roadster competitors, including two from LOVE DRIVE RACING (# 50 Marie Iwaoka / Hiroko Komatsu / Sayaka Kato / Rika Nakamura, #78 Ryohei Tanaka / Satoshi Osaki / Junko Fujii).

 

Furthermore, OVER DRIVE, which has been running with a Demio until last year, switched to a #66 roadster (Riku Hashimoto / Katsuhiko Tsutsui / Takayuki Takechi) from this year, and the #101 Demio 15MB (Hiroshi Yoshida / Kota Sasaki / KENBOW) of HM Racers is a new entry.

 

The TC CORSE’s #54 Roadster RF (Shoya Kato / Kenichi Ohara / Takuya Hiraki) has entered the ST-4 class.

 

■ Roadster grabs top time in ST5 qualifying

 

Due to the regulation changes, each ST-5 Roadster car was obliged to increase its weight by 20kg, and it was thought that they might struggle in qualifying. However, after qualifying for the A/B drivers was completed, the new #66 Odula Roadster had taken pole position with the top time in the ST-5. The #78 LOVE DRIVE Roadster secured second place on the grid, and the #88 Murakami Roadster took 4th. The #37 NOPRO Demio came would start from 7th, the #101 Hiromatsu Demio from 9th, and the #50 LOVE DRIVE Roadster from 10th.

 

■ ST5 Race – the Roadsters, Demios and Fits engage in a fierce back and forth battle

 

In the final race, the formation lap started at 12:30 on the 24th, and when the green light was lit at 12:35 minutes. With all eyes on the ST-5 class the #66 roadster led for the first few laps, but occasionally relinquished to the lighter fits. Later, the two Fits, the #78 LOVE DRIVE roadster, and the #37 NOPRO Demio formed the top group, while the #88 Murakami Roadster and #66 Odula Roadster followed behind.

 

However, the #66 Roadster then went off the course, bunkering in and losing time. The #78 Roadster, which had been struggling, was given a penalty stop and was dropped down the order due to a pit work violation.

 

■ Demio Diesel wins with good fuel efficiency

 

The fuel-efficient #37 NOPRO Demio topped the midfield, and the #88 Murakami Roadster was also positioned to aim for the podium. However, it was pushed off course by an ST-X machine at spoon curve, crashed and forced to retire.

 

As a result, #37 NOPRO Demio took its first Suzuka victory in three years.

 

The 66 Odula Roadster finished 4th, and the #101 Hiromatsu Demio ended in 6th. The #78 LOVE DRIVE Roadster stopped on the track having run out of gas at the end of the race. The #50 LOVE DRIVE roadster was unable to finish due to drivetrain problems and retired.

 

The ST-2 class’s #17 NOPRO Axela SKY-D persevered throughout the tough race and finished in class 3rd. The TC CORSE, which entered its Roadster RF into the ST-4 class, continued to suffer from engine control problems and started from pit road. Seemingly unable to resolve its engine problems, it was forced to retire.

 

Text and Photos by MZRacing

PAGE TOP

©  MZRacing. All Right Reserved.

SITEMAP