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Autopolis - Hard week-end for Andrea Caldarelli

Autopolis - Hard week-end for Andrea Caldarelli


The 2013 AUTOBACS SUPER GT Series has just two more rounds to go including this weekend’s 7th Round, “SUPER GT in KYUSHU 300km” which now came to Autopolis International Racing Course, located in the Aso region of Kyushu, the third biggest island of Japan. The track here is characterized by a blend of both mid-speed and high-speed corners, added with hard undulations which make tyre management difficult for everyone. Also by the geographical factors, such as the grounds naturally landscaped over the outer rim of a crater, – which are among some features quite exclusive to the Aso mountains, – climatic conditions here are known to be very unstable year round. As a matter of fact, also this race weekend through, weather was by all means a large factor!

From 9:00am in the morning, 25 minutes each of qualifying procedures, starting with the GT300 class, then followed by the GT500 class began. Hardly any team got their running done the previous day, so literally speaking everyone was there to try in the qualifying “unrehearsed”. Also due to the quick rearrangement in the time-schedule, a special measure was taken to appoint only one (1) driver a team be in charge of the qualifying pursuit. (Usually, both (2) drivers in the team must drive in the quali.) As to the tyres, two (2) sets of marking tyres were allowed, but out of which one (1) set chosen by the draw had to be used as starting tyres for the Race, which is quite an irregular rule.
At 9:25am, with clouds in the skies drifting rapidly by strong winds, also under occasional rain, in such a “damp” condition the qualifying session by 15 cars of the GT500 class finally got under way.
LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S, No. 37 was driven by Andrea’s teammate Daisuke Ito, who after 25 minutes of time-attacking marked a 7th position time (1’38.573).

The clock ticked 14:00, the time to start the race. With 22 degrees Celsius of air temperature, and the track at 24 degrees C, – also despite some rain clouds in the skies above, “Dry” continued to be declared over the course. All the cars followed the given formation lap procedures like usual, and thus the race started off!
Andrea Caldarelli, appointed to be the starting driver on KeePer TOM’S SC430 No. 37, took a fine start from the 7th grid but because of machine and tyres not matching so well, gradually fell to P10 by the 15th lap. Staying in that position for some while more, Andrea finished the 27th lap for an early pit-in, and handed the machine over to Daisuke Ito. By then, fine mists of rain were falling upon the entire course, but still not as far as anyone switching over to rain tyres. Ito kept running in P8 for a while, but as coming to the 49th lap was passed by one car and down to P9 at this point and also to the very last of the race.


“My stint was quite a difficult one. Just after five laps or so, pick-up (*marble on the tires) became terrible and the machine balance was also not quite right. Driving like that was really not easy. This is a problem we had from the Free Practice sessions, but having to go straight into the Race today without being able to finish up settings and preparation, could bring us no better race results.”

Andrea Caldarelli background