Baguette and Hiramin reached the final round of the season 2.5 points behind Nissan NDDP No. 3 Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi, who scored two wins compared to one for the Imbol crew before Motegi.
But the Nismo-run team withdrew from the competition almost immediately after the start of the race as Chiu fielded Tomoki Nojiri’s Arta Honda for a run into Turn 5, taking a penalty kick from the car for the offense.
With Chiyo and Takaboshi only recovering for fourth place, and Real Racing Honda duo Nobuharu Matsushita and Koudai Tsukakoshi only finishing fifth in the other car in contention for the title, second place was enough for Baguette and Hiramine to win the 2022 GT500 title.
It was Nissan’s first championship victory since the success of Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugu Matsuda in 2015, as well as the first drivers’ title for Team Impul since 1995.
Nissan’s Motegi celebrations are doubled by Kiyoto Fujinami and Joao Paulo de Oliveira with their GT300 title win in dramatic fashion in the #56 Kondo Racing Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
At the start, Makino took the lead from the pole position at Kunimitsu Honda, while Bagitt Bandoh Toyota briefly passed Yuji Kunimoto before dropping back to third.
In the back, Nogiri tried to make his way past the Nissan Qiu into Turn 5, only to have to get off the track and into the turn.
The accident turned out to be crucial in determining the outcome of the tournament, with Chiyo being held responsible for causing the collision and then being awarded a penalty by the hosts.
This dropped him all the way to 12th in the standings and out of the scoring positions, putting the Impul crew in a prime position to win the title.
By the time Chiyo came to the waiting lane to service his car, a major drama had unfolded at the bottom of the arrangement which eventually necessitated a safety car. Sho Tsuboi (#36 TOM’S Toyota), Daiki Sasaki (Kondo Nissan), and Yuichi Nakayama (SARD Toyota) were all involved in a multi-car backlog with the #30 apr and #25 Tsuchiya GT300 cars, with many final damages sustained as a result of.
Ronnie Quintarelli’s #23 Nismo Nissan was also involved in a separate crash on the same lap, and before the lane was cleared, the April 31 Toyota Yoheki Nakayama crashed into the rear of the Toyota Mach #5 team starting/finishing straight, extending the safety car’s run even further. So.
The race only resumed on lap 21 of 63, with Makino remaining in pole position ahead of Kunimoto and Baguette, with Nobuharu Matsushita re-starting in fourth after capitalizing on early race drama to climb from 12th. .
Team Kunimitsu Honda retained the lead after Yamamoto took over from Makino but Bandoh Toyota dropped the order during the pitstop, to upgrade Hiramine in formerly driven Nissan Baggett to second place.
Hiramin approached Yamamoto twice during the remainder of the race but was unable to make a move, allowing Team Kunimitsu to score its first win of the season in just over a second.
But while Hiramin and Baggett missed out on the win, we were able to secure the title in the first year of the new Nissan Z, continuing the Yokohama manufacturer’s trend of winning the championship every time a new car submitted to the championship in the past two decades.
Third place in the race went to Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita at Rookie Racing Toyota, ensuring that the three constructors are represented on the podium at Motegi.
Chiyo’s penalty kick initially knocked the NDDP Nissan crew out of the scoring positions, but the 35-year-old Takaboshi and his teammate were able to pull off an impressive recovery drive, and Real Honda overtook Tsukakoshi on lap 51 to claim fourth place.
Team Real emerged as Impul’s main contender after the early NDDP drama, but Tsukakoshi lost places to both Yamashita and Yamashita after grabbing the car from Matsushita during the team’s mandatory stop, and eventually finished in a disappointing 5th place.
Sasha Finstraz and Ritomu Miata ranked sixth in the #37 Toyota Toms in what was the Frenchman’s last Super GT outing, with Banduh Toyota of Kunimoto and Sina Sakaguchi seventh on the flag after starting the race from the front row.
Nojiri and Nirei Fukuzumi were only able to finish eighth at ARTA Honda after dropping the rankings on the opening lap after Nojiri’s accident with Chiyo, while the top ten were rounded out by #36 TOM’s Toyota of Sho Tsuboi, Giuliano Alessi, Cerumo Toyota Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura .
More to follow