Kazuki Nakajima has taken a lights-to-flag win at Suzuka for the first race of the season in Super Formula. The Tom’s driver, dominated the race, finishing ahead of Yamamoto and Kunimoto.
The first round of the Super Formula had Kazuki Nakajima (Team Tom’s) starting from pole position, ahead of champion Yuji Kunimoto (Inging) and Naoki Yamamoto (Team Tom’s). The best rookie was the Red Bull junior driver, Pierre Gasly (Team Mugen) who was starting from eight place.
It was a sunny day in Suzuka, the air temperature was going up before the start of the race. Kazuki Nakajima kept the lead ahead of Yamamoto. Already in the first lap, many drivers came to the pits for the mandatory pit stop, André Lotterer (Team Tom’s) was the first one to do so. The German almost lose a position with Daisuke Nakajima (Nakajima Racing) during the pit stop.
The following lap was the time for Ishiura (Inging), Gasly (Team Mugen) and Yamashita (Kondo Racing), and a lap later, Yuji Kunimoto and Jann Mardenborough (Team Impul) decided to do the mandatory pit stop as well.
So 12 of 19 cars already stopped, in the lead was Kazuki Nakajima, ahead of Yamamoto and Tsukakoshi (Real Racing).
A few laps later, Kobayashi joined the pits to only change the rear tyres, the driver of KCMG was able to be in front of Gasly, who with warmer tyres, easily overtook him. Then it was the time for Izawa (Team Dandelion Racing) who was able to stay in front of the Frenchman after the pits.
But Kobayashi, now with the tyres in a good temperature, passed Gasly at 130R turn.
Meanwhile Tsukakoshi who was running third, after complete the pit stop went out behind Lotterer. But this happened before the spun of Kazuya Oshima (Team Le Mans) at Spoon turn. This caused the safety car and forced Kazuki Nakajima and Yamamoto to pit.
With all the drivers completing the mandatory pit stop, Kazuki Nakajima led ahead of Naoki Yamamoto, Yuji Kunimoto, Hiroaki Ishiura and André Lotterer.
After the re-start of the race despite some battles on track no body was able to beat Kazuki Nakajima who took the victory, his first in the series since Autopolis 2015.
The next round of Super Formula will be in one month at Okayama International Circuit.
|1||37||Kazuki Nakajima||Vantelin Team Tom’s||35 Laps|
|2||16||Naoki Yamamoto||Team Mugen||5,086|
|3||1||Yuji Kunimoto||P.Mu/Cerumo · Inging||8,823|
|4||2||Hiroaki Ishiura||P.Mu/Cerumo · Inging||9,408|
|5||36||André Lotterer||Vantelin Team Tom’s||10,8|
|6||10||Koudai Tsukakoshi||Real Racing||11,266|
|7||64||Daisuke Nakajima||TCS Nakajima Racing||16,907|
|8||41||Takuya Izawa||Docomo Team Dandelion Racing||18,307|
|10||15||Pierre Gasly||R||Team Mugen||21,561|
|11||7||Felix Rosenqvist||R||SUNOCO Team LeMans||22,115|
|12||19||Yuhi Sekiguchi||Itochu Enex Team Impul||23,691|
|13||65||Narain Karthikeyan||TCS Nakajima Racing||24,204|
|14||4||Kenta Yamashita||R||Kondo Racing||24,893|
|15||50||Takashi Kogure||B-MAX Racing Team||28,398|
|16||40||Tomoki Nojiri||Docomo Team Dandelion Racing||36,289|
|17||3||Nick Cassidy||R||Kondo Racing||1 Lap|
|18||20||Jann Mardenborough||R||Itochu Enex Team Impul||4 Laps|
|19||8||Kazuya Oshima||SUNOCO Team LeMans||14 Laps|