Ex-Formula 2 racer Fukuzumi posted a time of 1m27.130s to put the #8 NSX-GT he shares with Tomoki Nojiri almost half a second clear of the opposition in the Q2 pole shootout, helped by only carrying 8kg of success ballast this weekend.
The #12 Impul Nissan GT-R, the only car in the GT500 field carrying no success handicap, set the pace in practice in the hands of Daiki Sasaki and was also the car to beat in Q1, when Kazuki Hiramine set the benchmark time of 1m28.032s.
That time was just enough for Hiramine to edge out Nojiri, but the roles were reversed in Q2 as Sasaki could only manage a 1m27.620s, 0.490s down on Fukuzumi's time.
Tomoki Nojiri, Nirei Fukuzumi（#8 ARTA NSX-GT）
Third-fastest was the Bandoh Toyota GR Supra driven by Yuji Kunimoto, a further 0.068s behind Sasaki, with early pacesetter Jann Mardenborough making it an all-Yokohama second row in the Kondo Racing Nissan in fourth.
Heikki Kovalainen was fifth-fastest in the SARD Toyota followed by Ronnie Quintarelli in the #23 NISMO GT-R, the heaviest car in Q2 with its 50kg success handicap.
#6 ADVICS muta MC86
Yuhki Nakayama had topped his Q1 group in the #31 apr Toyota Prius PHV GR Sport, but teammate Koki Saga fell 0.385s short of Kotaka in Q2 and had to settle for second.
Third-fastest was Togo Suganami aboard the Motegi-winning LEON Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which is one of three carrying the maximum 100kg success handicap versus just 9kg and 15kg respectively the top two qualifiers.
Likewise shrugging off its 100kg of ballast was the works-entered Subaru BRZ in fourth, while the Saitama Toyopet Toyota GR Supra GT300 that won the season-opening race at Fuji was fifth-fastest despite its 75kg handicap and the Cars Tokai Dream28 Lotus Evora MC that won the second Fuji race was eighth with its 93kg penalty.
The championship-leading Gainer Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 could manage only 11th, one place ahead of the ARTA NSX GT3 - which was fastest in its Q1 segment courtesy of Toshiki Oyu before slipping to 12th in the hands of veteran teammate Shinichi Takagi.
GT500 qualifying results:
|1||8||ARTA Honda|| |
|3||19||Bandoh Toyota|| |
|4||24||Kondo Nissan|| |
|5||39||SARD Toyota|| |
|6||23||NISMO Nissan|| |
|7||3||NDDP/B-Max Nissan|| |
|8||16||Mugen Honda|| |
|9||38||Cerumo Toyota|| |
|10||36||TOM'S Toyota|| |
|11||37||TOM'S Toyota|| |
|12||14||Cerumo Toyota|| |
|13||100||Kunimitsu Honda|| |
|14||64||Nakajima Honda|| |
|15||17||Real Racing Honda|| |