Hirakawa resigned to chance of second Fuji title defeat

Jamie Klein
·2-min read

Impul Toyota driver Hirakawa heads into Sunday's decider level on points with Naoki Yamamoto as the pair prepare for a rerun of their battle in the closing stages of last month's dramatic SUPER GT finale.

On that occasion, it was Honda man Yamamoto that came out on top as long-time leader Hirakawa ran out of fuel within sight of the chequered flag.

Ryo Hirakawa(ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL)

Ryo Hirakawa(ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL)<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
Ryo Hirakawa(ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL)Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio

But he told Motorsport.com that losing the SUPER GT crown through no fault of his own has given him a philosophical approach to this weekend's pivotal race.

"It’s hard to comment [on the title situation]," Hirakawa said. "It was the same [in SUPER GT] and I think you just have to accept whatever happens.

"[In the second Suzuka race] I had luck on my side [compared to Yamamoto and Cassidy], but I don’t know what will happen at Fuji. If you get lucky, you get lucky."

Drivers' standings ahead of Fuji:

1

Japan

 Ryo Hirakawa

Impul/Toyota

55

55

2

Japan

 Naoki Yamamoto

Dandelion Racing/Honda

55

55

3

Japan

 Tomoki Nojiri

Mugen/Honda

47

48

4

New Zealand

 Nick Cassidy

TOM'S/Toyota

46

49

5

Japan

 Kenta Yamashita

Kondo Racing/Toyota

34

34

Asked if revenge was on his mind this weekend, Hirakawa replied: "If it’s possible, of course it would be great, but I don’t want to be greedy. I just hope I can finish the season with a good result, but anyway I will give it everything and accept whatever happens.

"Of course it was frustrating, what happened in Super GT. I did everything I could. And I’ll likewise do my best in Super Formula at Fuji."

Hirakawa pointed out that he set the fastest time during pre-season testing at Fuji way back in March, before the season was halted amid the global health crisis.

"I think it’s good we can settle it there," he said. "During the March test I had a good feeling and I set the top time. So I feel I can do very well."

Following the events of Suzuka, Hirakawa and Yamamoto now have two non-scores each this year, meaning that the new-for-2020 dropped score rule will not impact their battle.

On the other hand, outside title contenders Cassidy and Tomoki Nojiri, however will both have to discard their worst scores after Fuji, as Cassidy scored three points for pole even though he didn't finish the second Suzuka race.

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