Cassidy right in contention in Japan’s SUPER GT series

Nick Cassidy is staying right in the hunt for Japan’s SUPER GT Championship after finishing sixth in the Fuji 300 kms race last night in his Lexus LC500 with team-mate Ryo Hirakawa.

The pair are only two points behind Englishman James Rossiter who finished fourth in the latest round of Japan’s major series. “It went much better than expected,” said Aucklander Cassidy, “We weren’t thinking about scoring points because of our weight handicap.”

Nick Cassidy has stayed right in the hunt for Japan’s SUPER GT title in his Lexus LC500.

The pair also have a five percent fuel restriction, thanks to their successes early in the season when they led the series for the first three rounds.

Hirakawa qualified seventh on Saturday, while Cassidy concentrated on full tank fuel runs during practice in preparation for the race.

The pair ran as high as fifth and only slipped back to sixth in the final few laps only 15 seconds behind first time winners, Tomoki Nojiri and Takashi Kobayashi.

“We certainly did not expect to be anywhere near this competitive,” said Cassidy. “Our race pace was really strong. To head to Suzuka well in the fight is a bonus.” The Suzuka 1000 kms in three weeks’ time is Japan’s equivalent of Bathurst, where Cassidy will even have a slight advantage as a couple of his rivals will now have to carry slightly more handicap ballast.

Then for the final two rounds of the series, all the extra weight is removed putting Cassidy and Hirakawa in a strong position with the car back in the same specification as the start of the season.

SUPER GT series, Round 5, Fuji 300 kms
1, T Nojiri, T Kobayashi (Honda NSX)
2, T Matsuda, R Quintarelli (Nissan GTR)
3, Y Tachikawa, H Ishiura (Lexus LC500)
6, N Cassidy, R Hirakawa (Lexus LC500)

Championship Points. 
1, J Rossiter (Lexus LC500) 44;
2, K Oshima, A Caldarelli (Lexus LC500) 43;
3, Cassidy, Hirakawa, 42;
4= Tachikawa, Ishiura & Matsuda, Quintarelli, 41.

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Nick Cassidy is a New Zealand racing driver. Since 2008 Cassidy has been racing in the formula racing series. After driving in Formula First championships, he started in Formula Ford championships in New Zealand and Australia. In 2009 he became runner-up in the New Zealand Formula First championship and 2010 he was runner-up in the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship. Both times he was Rookie of the year. He is double Toyota Racing Series champion, V8 Supertourers Endurance champion and currently leads the Super GT championship in Japan.