Heavy rain twice interrupted the opening race of the AUTOBACS Super GT 2019 season at the Okayama circuit, with officials eventually forced to stop the race altogether before half-distance.

With just 31 laps out of the scheduled 82 completed, the race win went to Tomoki Nojiri and Takuya Izawa in their ARTA Honda NSX-GT in the GT500 class, with Morio Nitta and Sena Sakaguchi in their K-Tunes Lexus RC-F GT3 taking home the victory in the GT300 class.

The race was to start at 2:30pm local time, and opened behind the Safety Car due to the worsening conditions. The race was green-flagged on lap four, however was stopped at just Lap 10 after the #25 HOPPY Toyota 86 MC was involved in a collision with the #5 ADVICS MACH Toyota 86 MC, causing the Safety Car to be re-deployed for a lap.

Another crash on Lap 13 between the #10 GAINER Triple A Nissan GT-R and the #88 Manepa Lamborghini GT3 triggered a third Safety Car intervention and with conditions continuing to worsen, the red flag was waved and the race was stopped in the hope the rain would die down.

The race resumed at 3:45pm local time, however after another crash involving the #50 Arnage EXE Mercedes-AMG GT3 triggered the fourth deployment of the Safety Car. Officials had enough and the race was called off due to the increased risk of aquaplaning and the lack of grip the cars were facing.

In the GT300 class the victory went to the #96 K-Tunes Lexus RC-F GT3 (Morio Nitta/ Sena Sakaguchi) with second and third places going to the #55 ARTA Honda NSX-GT3 (Shinichi Takagi/ Nirei Fukuzumi) and the #52 SAITAMA Toyopet GreenBrave MARK X MC (Shigekazu Wakisaka/ Hiroki Yoshida) respectively.

In the GT500 class the victory went to the #8 ARTA Honda NSX-GT (Tomoki Nojiri/ Takuya Izawa) with second and third places going to the #23 MOTUL AUTECH Nissan GT-R (Tsugio Matsuda/ Ronnie Quinterelli) and the #12 CALSONIC MOTUL Nissan GT-R (Daiki Sasaki/ Jame Rossiter) respectively.

As the race was ended before it was 75% complete, half championship points will be awarded.

The next round of the Super GT Series takes place on May 3-4 at the Fuji Speedway.

Drivers Team / Entry Result Pts
1. Tomoki Nojiri
Takuya Izawa

Autobacs Racing Team Aguri 1:53:35.505 10
2. Tsugio Matsuda
Ronnie Quintarelli

NISMO + 1.227 7.5
3. Daiki Sasaki
James Rossiter

Team Impul + 2.781 5.5
4. Kohei Hirate
Frederic Makowiecki

NDDP Racing + 4.210 4
5. Mitsunori Takaboshi
Jann Mardenborough

Kondo Racing + 5.773 3
6. Yuji Kunimoto
Sho Tsuboi

Lexus Team WedsSport Bandoh + 8.603 2.5
7. Hideki Mutoh
Daisuke Nakajima

Team Mugen + 11.099 2
8. Yuji Tachikawa
Hiroaki Ishiura

Lexus Team ZENT Cerumo + 11.500 1.5
9. Kazuki Nakajima
Yuhi Sekiguchi

Lexus Team au Tom’s + 12.207 1
10. Narain Karthikeyan
Tadasuke Makino

Modulo Nakajima Racing + 13.614 0.5
11. Heikki Kovalainen
Yuichi Nakayama

Lexus Team SARD + 14.904
12. Ryō Hirakawa
Nick Cassidy

Lexus Team KeePer Tom’s + 16.620
13. Kazuya Oshima
Kenta Yamashita

Lexus Team LeMans Wako’s + 17.635
14. Koudai Tsukakoshi
Bertrand Baguette

Keihin Real Racing + 31.856
15.  Jenson Button
Naoki Yamamoto

Team Kunimitsu 1 lap behind

Image via Masahide Kamio

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Keegan Bennett

Journalist - Japanese Motorsport at MotorsportM8

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