Autopolis Super Formula: Nojiri beats Yamamoto to win

Jamie Klein
·4-min read

After making his mandatory tyre stop early, poleman Nojiri spent the bulk of the 41-lap race in fourth as Yamamoto, Nick Cassidy and Ukyo Sasahara went for long first stints.

Yamamoto led after the second of two safety car periods and set a metronomic pace at the head of the field, quickly gapping Cassidy and putting himself in a position to threaten Nojiri - who held a net lead but struggled for pace immediately after the restart.

Eight laps after the restart, Yamamoto had put 15 seconds between himself and Nojiri, and by lap 30 the gap was out to over 20 seconds.

Yamamoto was just over 25 seconds clear when he pitted with two laps to go at the end of lap 39, and although he emerged clearly behind Nojiri he set a blistering pace on his fresh tyres and closed down a four-second deficit to just 0.6s at the chequered flag.

After Cassidy and Sasahara made their stops, Nakajima Racing's Tadasuke Makino, who was challenging Nojiri for the net lead before the second safety car, was promoted to third and maintained that position for his first Super Formula podium.

Next up were the best of the Toyota finishers, Yuji Kunimoto (KCMG) and Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing), followed by series returnee Nobuharu Matsushita (B-Max).

Matsushita had fought his way up from sixth on the grid to fourth with a strong start, but lost out to Kunimoto and Yamashita during the pitstop phase.

TOM'S driver Cassidy slotted in seventh ahead of his substitute teammate Ritomo Miyata, who briefly got ahead when Cassidy was struggling on cold tyres only for the reigning champion to swiftly return the favour.

Nirei Fukuzumi (Dandelion) was the big loser of the second safety car period, as he had run second behind Nojiri early on but slid all the way to 11th, finally recovering to ninth.

Toshiki Oyu (Nakajima) completed the top 10 after serving a drive-through penalty for illegally retaking his start position after stalling on the grid before the formation laps.

From 19th on the grid after his qualifying crash, points leader Ryo Hirakawa could only manage 12th in the end, although he had been running 10th before dropping to the rear of the field during the pitstop phase due to a slow stop.

Impul driver Hirakawa nonetheless still leads the championship, albeit by a reduced margin of 11 points over Cassidy.

Sasahara (Mugen) ended up 14th after his stop, having also stalled on the grid at the start.

Charles Milesi was 15th for B-Max on his Super Formula debut, a place ahead of Tatiana Calderon on the Colombian's return to the series.

Sacha Fenestraz's miserable run of luck continued as he lost his rear-left wheel on lap five, causing the first safety car, while a race-ending puncture for podium challenger Sho Tsuboi (Inging) was the cause of the second caution period on lap 12.

Race results:

1

16

Japan
Japan

Tomoki Nojiri

Team Mugen

41

2

5

Japan
Japan

Naoki Yamamoto

DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing

41

0.664

3

64

Japan
Japan

Tadasuke Makino

TCS Nakajima Racing

41

9.736

4

18

Japan
Japan

Yuji Kunimoto

carrozzeria Team KCMG

41

10.760

5

3

Japan
Japan

Kenta Yamashita

Kondo Racing

41

11.455

6

50

Japan
Japan

Nobuharu Matsushita

Buzz Racing with B-Max

41

12.114

7

1

New Zealand
New Zealand

Nick Cassidy

Vantelin Team TOM'S

41

13.274

8

36

Japan
Japan

Ritomo Miyata

Vantelin Team TOM'S

41

17.520

9

6

Japan
Japan

Nirei Fukuzumi

DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing

41

19.661

10

65

Japan
Japan

Toshiki Oyu

TCS Nakajima Racing

41

23.593

11

19

Japan
Japan

Yuhi Sekiguchi

ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL

41

24.380

12

20

Japan
Japan

Ryo Hirakawa

ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL

41

25.276

13

38

Japan
Japan

Hiroaki Ishiura

JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING

41

28.273

14

15

Japan
Japan

Ukyo Sasahara

Team Mugen

41

29.400

15

51

France
France

Charles Milesi

Buzz Racing with B-Max

41

36.401

16

12

Colombia
Colombia

Tatiana Calderon

ThreeBond Drago CORSE

41

37.326

17

14

Japan
Japan

Kazuya Oshima

ROOKIE Racing

41

37.795

18

7

Japan
Japan

Yuichi Nakayama

carrozzeria Team KCMG

41

56.079

19

39

Japan
Japan

Sho Tsuboi

JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING

11

30 Laps

20

4

France
France

Sacha Fenestraz

Kondo Racing

4

37 Laps

View full results