Nick Cassidy has finished a solid seventh overall in the FUJI GT 500km race, the second round of the 2018 AUTOBACS SUPER GT series. The 110 lap race took place at Fuji Speedway and was won by the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli in a come-from-behind victory aided by fast pit work.
“It was a tough weekend for our car,” commented Cassidy. ” I’m confident we’re still in the game though, so all good”
After qualifying ninth, his co-driver Ryo Hirakawa started the race. Hirakawa dropped a place on the opening lap, but once the race settled down he reclaimed ninth, only to drop the position just before he pitted on lap 40.
Cassidy turned in an aggressive but clean drive during the race’s middle laps when he pulled the pair up from tenth to fifth place before handing the car back to Hirakawa for the final stint.
Among Cassidy’s conquests was former Formula 1 World Champion, Jensen Button, who passed for seventh place on lap 43 of the 110 lap event.
By the time he handed back to Hirakawa on lap 70 Cassidy had climbed to fifth. The defending champion’s team lost a place during the pit stop and Hirakawa held sixth until three laps from the finish, when he was out maneuvered by Jann Madenborough.
Despite the seventh place finish, Cassidy and Hirakawa were the highest placed podium finishers from the first round, all of which had to carry ballast weight which is designed to make the competition closer.
The winner of that race last month Koudai Tsukakoshi and Takashi Kogure could only finish 11th, while Button came home ninth..
Round three takes place at Suzuka 19-20 May 2018.
Race Results (Top 10)
1. Ronnie Quintarelli/Tsugio Matsuda (Nissan) 110 laps
2. Heikki Kovalainen/Sho Tsuboi (Lexus) +9.738
3. Hiroaki Ishiura/Yuji Tachikawa (Lexus) +23.450
4. James Rossiter/Yuhi Sekiguchi (Lexus) +33.144
5. Kazuya Oshima/Felix Rosenqvist (Lexus) +35.326
6. Jann Mardenborough/Daiki Sasaki (Nissan) +36.316
7. Nick Cassidy/Ryo Hirakawa (Lexus) +38.510
8. Tomoki Nojiri/Takuya Izawa (Honda) +1:02.192
9. Jenson Button/Naoki Yamamoto (Honda) +1:17.582
10. Satoshi Motoyama/Katsumasa Chiyo (Nissan) +1 lap
Points after 2/8 rounds
1/ #23 Tsugio Matsuda/Ronnie Quintarelli 26
2/ #17 Koudai Tsukakoshi/Takashi Kogure 21
3/ #100 Naoki Yamamoto/Jenson Button 17
4/ #39 Heikki Kovalainen/Sho Tsuboi 15
5/ #1 Nick Cassidy/Ryo Hirakawa 15
6/ #38 Yuji Tachikawa/Hiroaki Ishiura 15
7/ #6 Kazuya Oshima/Felix Rosenqvist 14
8/ #36 James Rossiter/Yuhi Sekiguchi 8
9/ #24 Joao Paulo de Oliveira/Mitsunori Takaboshi 5
10/ #12 Daiki Sasaki/Jann Mardenborough 5