Nick Cassidy takes pole for first Fuji ‘Dream Race’, Loïc Duval second

Nick Cassidy takes pole for first Fuji ‘Dream Race’, Loïc Duval second

Photo: DTM

Lexus Team KeePer TOM’s Nick Cassidy scored pole for the first of two DTM and SuperGT races at Fuji Speedway, Japan,  beating Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Loïc Duval by over three tenths with a time of 1 minute 41.827 seconds.

The New Zealand driver’s time was unchallenged for the majority of the session, despite a second separating the top ten drivers.

As the green light became illuminated at the end of the long pit lane, drivers headed out on to the greasy circuit.

The incredibly heavy rain that affected the Friday practice session looked to be steering clear of race one qualifying, but a light rain all morning left the circuit in slippery state.

All drivers chose to head out on the Hankook wet tyre, opting not to risk an incident trying to generate heat in slicks.

When the first competitive times came in Audi Sport Team Rosberg’s René Rast jumped to fastest, with a time of 1 minute 43.741, but a minute later Cassidy would go considerably faster, lowering the bar with a 1 minute 41.827 second time.

As the SuperGT drivers set their times, Rast was bumped down to tenth as Duval grabbed a provisional front row start with 12 minutes to go. Seventh in the DTM standings in 2019, Duval’s time of 1 minute 42.158 seconds, would remain the fastest of the DTM competitors.

Despite drivers attempting to improve their times in the second half of the session there was little change to the running order.

SuperGT 2019 runner-up Cassidy will start from pole alongside the Audi of Duval, Honda Team Kunimitsu’s Naoki Yamamoto will start third with a time of 1 minute 42.215 seconds, and will be joined on the second row by Nissan NISMO driver Ronnie Quintarelli, only 0.143 seconds further back.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s Mike Rockenfeller rounds out the top five, the 2013 DTM champion one of a handful of drivers to improve on their second runs. The German’s time of 1 minute 42.527 seconds was less than four tenths slower than fastest DTM runner Duval.

Two-time DTM champion, and 2019 victor, Rast will start from 14th on the grid, and was able to improve on his early session pace despite a running wide at T10. His time of 1 minute 43.387 seconds was some 1.56 seconds slower than pole and 1.229 seconds slower than Duval’s best.

Audi Sport Team Japan’s Benoît Treluyer will line up 16th with a time of 1 minute 43.447 seconds, the Frenchman, like many, unable to improve on his initial run.

BMW Team RBM’s Kamui Kobayashi will start this afternoon’s race from 18th on the grid, with a time of 1 minute 43.667 seconds, exactly four-hundredths faster than two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann who lines up 19th.

The final DTM car of Alex Zanardi completes the grid after setting a time of 1 minute 45.211 seconds.

Race one at Fuji starts at 1433 local time, 0633 CET (0533 GMT).

Qualifying result

1 37 Nick CASSIDY LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S Lexus LC500 9 1:41.827 0.000
2 28 Loïc DUVAL Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi RS5 DTM 11 1:42.158 0.331
3 1 Naoki YAMAMOTO TEAM KUNIMITSU Honda NSX-GT 10 1:42.215 0.388
4 23 Ronnie QUINTARELLI NISMO Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 10 1:42.358 0.531
5 99 Mike ROCKENFELLER Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline Audi RS5 DTM 10 1:42.527 0.700
6 17 Koudai TSUKAKOSHI KEIHIN REAL RACING Honda NSX-GT 10 1:42.609 0.782
7 24 Jann MARDENBOROUGH KONDO RACING Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 11 1:42.724 0.897
8 3 Frederic MAKOWIECKI NDDP RACING with B-MAX Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 11 1:42.785 0.958
9 19 Sho TSUBOI LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH Lexus LC500 9 1:42.810 0.983
10 36 Yuhi SEKIGUCHI LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S Lexus LC500 10 1:42.887 1.060
11 6 Kenta YAMASHITA LEXUS TEAM LEMANS WAKO’S Lexus LC500 10 1:42.927 1.100
12 12 Daiki SASAKI TEAM IMPUL Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 10 1:43.064 1.237
13 8 Takuya IZAWA ARTA Honda NSX-GT 9 1:43.121 1.294
14 33 René RAST Audi Sport Team Rosberg Audi RS5 DTM 10 1:43.387 1.560
15 38 Yuji TACHIKAWA LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO Lexus LC500 10 1:43.412 1.585
16 21 Benoït TRÉLUYER WRT Hitotsuyama Team Audi Sport Audi RS5 DTM 9 1:43.447 1.620
17 39 Yuichi NAKAYAMA LEXUS TEAM SARD Lexus LC500 10 1:43.583 1.756
18 0 Kamui KOBAYASHI BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 10 1:43.667 1.840
19 11 Marco WITTMANN BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 11 1:43.707 1.880
20 64 Tadasuke MAKINO Modulo Nakajima Racing Honda NSX-GT 9 1:43.936 2.109
21 16 Hideki MUTOH TEAM MUGEN Honda NSX-GT 8 1:44.637 2.810
22 4 Alessandro ZANARDI BMW Team RBM BMW M4 DTM 10 1:45.211 3.384