Nirei Fukuzumi topped the first day of the Super Formula rookie test at Suzuka for his new Dandelion Honda team.
A late lap of 1m36.912s in an extended second session saw Fukuzumi displace his teammate and reigning champion Naoki Yamamoto’s 1m37.498s, which he set to push out Team Tom’s Toyota’s Nick Cassidy from the top spot.
Yamamoto also lost second to finish third eventually when Team Tom’s Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima improved in the final minutes with a 1m37.104s to end up second with Kondo Racing Toyota’s Kenta Yamashita (1m37.549s) slotting in fourth.
Improvements in dying stages continued to come as KCMG Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi also jumped up to fifth with a 1m37.651s which pushed Nakajima Racing Honda’s Alex Palou (1m37.722s) and Cassidy (1m37.757s) to sixth and seventh respectively.
Team Impul Toyota’s Yuhi Sekiguchi (1m37.792s) was also pushed down from the Top 3 to be eighth with Team Mugen Honda’s Tomoki Nojiri (1m37.816s) and Inging Toyota’s Hiroaki Ishiura (1m38.040s) completing the Top 10. Ishiura was the first in the 1m38s bracket.
The first session ran without any addition but the second session was first extended by 30 minutes due to rain shower expected on Day 2 and it was further extended by 10 minutes when Team Mugen Honda’s Dan Ticktum brought out the red flag in the last half hour.
The British driver’s car had to towed away for the session to re-start which saw several improvements. The test also had different spec of the Yokohoma tyres being tested with the front ones being slightly thicker than its predecessor.
Finishing just outside the Top 10 was Nakajima Racing Honda’s Tadasuke Makino with a 1m38.151s lap time. Morning session’s pace-setter Team Impul Toyota’s Ryo Hirakawa could only manage 12th with a 1m38.210s – which he clocked in the first session itself.
Kondo Racing Toyota’s Yuji Kunimoto was 13th with a 1m38.340s lap time ahead of Team LeMans Toyota’s Kazuya Oshima, who set his best of 1m38.557s in the morning session with Inging Toyota’s Sho Tsuboi (1m38.710s) rounding the Top 15.
After he was unable run in the last half hour of the session, Ticktum (1m39.040s) ended up 16th from B-Max Racing Team Honda’s Lucas Auer (1m39.648s), Team LeMans Toyota’s Ralf Aron (1m39.658s) and Charles Milesi (1m40.010s).
The standings was rounded by Real Racing Honda’s Tristan Charpentier (1m40.376s) and B-Max Racing Honda’s Harisson Newey (1m40.765s) in 20th and 21st – the former had a crash early in Session 1 bringing out the day’s first red flag.
Among the 21 runners, Oshima and Newey ran only in the morning session with Auer and Milesi having their turn in the afternoon. Team LeMans’ Yoshiaki Katayama did not feature at all during the day.