Yamamoto: I can't take credit for Dandelion success

Jamie Klein
·2-min read

In last month's Fuji Speedway finale season, Yamamoto delivered Dandelion's first drivers' title in Japan's premier single-seater category since Richard Lyons' 2004 success in only his second season with the squad since making the move across from Team Mugen.

It followed Dandelion's teams' championship success last year with Yamamoto and Nirei Fukuzumi, its first in seven years after a period of never finishing inside the top three.

Despite ending the Honda-powered outfit's 16-year wait for a second drivers' title, Yamamoto was eager to play down his contribution to Dandelion's recent success.

"There is no particular difference in the sense of accomplishment," replied Yamamoto when asked if his third title felt different to his previous two because of changing teams.

"I would be cheeky to suggest that I built the team; it has a long history. Because of the data left by the previous drivers, we were able to fight for the championship last year, and this year we were able to win the championship.

"However, to be honest, we were not able to have a strong race even though we had a fast car at some key points, so I tried my best to steer the team to become a strong team by any means possible, and I think I took the initiative."

Naoki Yamamoto(DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING)

Naoki Yamamoto(DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING)<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
Naoki Yamamoto(DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING)Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio

Yamamoto was also keen to pay tribute to his engineer Kimitoshi Sugisaki, with whom he joined forces last year when he made the switch from Mugen to Dandelion.

"I couldn't have won this championship without all the mechanics and team staff who prepared a great car for me, and above all, Sugisaki-san," said Yamamoto.

"Last year, I cried [after losing the title in the final round], but I also made Sugisaki-san cry, and he kept apologising to me, so I knew exactly how he felt.

"I worked hard until the chequered flag to make him feel happy that he could work with me this year, so I think I was able to repay his efforts a little."

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