The #56 Kondo Racing team were third overall in class entering the longest race of the Super GT calendar after Sacha and Hiramine claimed their maiden podium in the series at the last round in Thailand.
After spending July competing in two Japanese Formula 3 rounds, Sacha spent the practice session quickly getting back to grips with the Nissan. The car also has 52 kilograms of extra weight which was added as part of Super GT’s Balance of Performance.
Sacha and his team-mate were more comfortable with the performance of the car by the time qualifying was ready to start on Saturday. Hiramine stepped in for Q1 and comfortably got the car into Q2. Despite only having one opportunity for a flying lap before having to change tyres, Sacha was able to qualify the Nissan in sixth with his fastest time.
For the race Hiramine took to the track for the start of the race before handing over the car to Sacha for the second stint. Through his consistent performance on track, Sacha helped keep the Kondo Racing team near the front of the GT300 field through his stint.
However an unfortunate safety car during his final stint just before being due to pit moved him down the order after the race restarted.
“In my last stint I felt that I was consistent and pretty fast, and I knew we had a chance for another great result.
“We were in front of the Lamborghini who won the race, and we were ready to make our pit stop, but the safety car came out before we were able to do so."
The #87 Lamborghini and others took the risk to pit just before the safety car. Sacha didn’t give up however and was able to salvage a respectable seventh position.
“I think with the safety car we lost the chance of winning the race, or at least the chance to get another podium. It was a split second strategy decision that didn’t work out for us in the end.
“Although that was a shame, it was a positive weekend for us overall. The result means that we leave Fuji second in the championship with three races left to go, which is very good news.”
Sacha and Hiramine are four and a half points away from the GT300 championship leader in Kondo Racing’s first season in Super GT.
The next race will take place at Autopolis at the beginning of September. Before then however, Sacha will travel to Twin Ring Motegi in two weeks time with the chance to become this year’s Japanese F3 champion in the penultimate round of the season.