Good evening, everybody!
Today I’d like to share with you the team comments regarding the last race of the 2013 season!
■ Director Suzuki Yasuaki
I’m afraid all I can say about today’s race is that we’ve completely lost to the Gainer. No matter what, we had to come in ahead of them to reach our goal, but we just weren’t able to pull in front. Even though the tires provided by Dunlop seemed like a perfect match, and were were even able to pull off speeds as fast as the first race.
Looking back on the year, it’s my personal opinion that we just have to let what happened at Suzaku go, but the flat tire at Fuji, our starting position at Sepang, and our no-point finish at Sugo – I think these are the three things that really put us behind. With 2 wins in a row, we really gritted our teeth to become champion when the opportunity presented itself. Had things gone in our favor, we would have been gradually gaining points from the start and pulling ahead of rival teams. But as it stood, this race was our first and last shot of becoming champion, and as I said before, taking back the throne with just this one shot would be difficult.
■ Director Istuo Ohashi
From the perspective of the team, I think we did everything we could and pulled off a good race. As there was really nothing else we could do to give us an advantage, all we could do was use the no-tire-change strategy and hope for the best. And though the opportunity to pull ahead did present itself, we weren’t really able to pull it off. I think the car, tires, and drivers were all at their tip-top in terms of performance. We also ran with just enough gasoline to lower overall weight and shave off as many seconds as possible. But the cars in 1st-3rd places were still just a bit faster.
From the very start of the season, our straightaway speed was too slow, and we had bad luck after bad luck, giving us a lot of races that left a bad taste in our mouth, but we were able to pull off those 2 consecutive wins in the end. As we had been able to maintain those kind of speeds from the beginning, if there is a next year I think we’ll be off to a good start.
■ Sporting Director Ukyo Katayama
Today was really disappointing, wasn’t it. I really thought we had one last thread of hope. The most unfortunate part is that our strategy wasn’t very effective given the flow of the race. It’s not a lack of foresight on the team, but more that things can go any which way in the heat of the race.
Looking back on the past year, the restrictor incident, the flat tire at Fuji – there were a lot of painful moments. But we’ve also learned a lot from our experience this season, and if there is a next year I definitely want to put it to good use.
■ Driver Nobuteru Taniguchi
With cars out there seriously driving to win, Kataoka drove hard to quickly pass up everyone that wasn’t contending in the first stint, but was unfortunately only able to gain one spot. This is of course a race, but with the championships hanging in the balance no one was going to give him an opening. Due to the nature of the Motegi track, it’s really difficult for the Z4 to pass. Even though we opted not to change the tires in the pit, we were unable to catch up to the top three cars.
Comparing this last year to the others, I think our fighting spirit was weak. Add to that the flat tire at Fuji, disqualification at Suzuku, and other races with unfortunate finishes. Everyone really tried had to pull together as a team, but the championship was way beyond our reach.
■ Driver Tatsuya Kataoka
Today’s race went perfectly. With everyone on the team working as hard as they could, we were able to finish in 4th place. Regarding this past season, we had some pretty bad luck at Round 2: Fuji with the flat tire and at Round 5: Suzuka with the disqualification, and if this hadn’t happened I think we really would have had a chance. But like it or not we gave it all that we had and this is what we were able to pull off. So though it may be frustrating, we’ve got to take it for what it is and use that frustration to fuel our ambitions for next year. With everyone was cheering us on and lending us their support, we were unable to reign as champion, so I guess this just wasn’t our year.