Yamamoto left to rue ‘what-ifs’ after Autopolis defeat

Jamie Klein
·1-min read

Dandelion driver Yamamoto came up just six tenths shy of victory in Sunday’s fourth round of the season, as he almost made his strategy of running a very long first stint pay off.

Having slipped from third on the grid to fifth after a poor start, Yamamoto found himself at the front of the queue when the cars ahead pitted around the time of the second safety car on lap 12 of 41, and opted not to pit along with Nick Cassidy and Ukyo Sasahara.

The two-time series champion quickly gapped Cassidy while also building a buffer over fourth-placed Nojiri, the best of those that had already made their stop.

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 left to ponder what could have been if he had stopped sooner, as his fresh tyres took less than time than he had anticipated to get up to temperature.

“At the end, I wanted to reduce as much as possible the number of laps I ran with cold tyres, but I didn’t think the warm-up would be so good that I could catch Nojiri so much,” he said.

“If I’d pitted two laps before, I might have come out ahead. But that’s just another ‘what-if’.

“In any case, I was the fastest of those running in clean air, and I was feeling very confident, so I want to make use of this pace to escape from the rest of the field and win in the remaining races at Suzuka and Fuji.”

Tomoki Nojiri(TEAM MUGEN)

Tomoki Nojiri(TEAM MUGEN)<span class="copyright">Masahide Kamio</span>
Tomoki Nojiri(TEAM MUGEN)Masahide Kamio

Masahide Kamio