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Alesi gets another Super Formula start after surprise win

by Ida Wood

Photo: Suzuka Circuit

World Endurance Championship commitments for Toyota-contracted drivers means Super Formula Lights drivers Giuliano Alesi and Kazuto Kotaka will be racing in Super Formula again at Sportsland SUGO next weekend.

Alesi, currently second in the SF Lights points with seven podiums from eight races, has stood in for former Formula 1 driver Kazuki Nakajima at TOM’S for the past two SF rounds and in remarkable circumstances ended up winning at Autopolis.

The 21-year-old former Ferrari junior took pole for what would be just his second series start, then ended up winning in a rain-shortened race to now sit fifth in the series standings.

While Alesi has doubled up with his SF Lights committments for the same team, Kotaka has prioritised SF when his initial plan was to be Alesi’s team-mate in the support series.

He’s driven in place of Kamui Kobayashi at KMCG for the first three rounds, and his adaption to the series at short notice hasn’t been quite as strong. So far his best finish is a 15th, achieved on his debut, and he’s last in the standings.

B-MAX Racing signing Yves Baltas has still not entered Japan, so Nobuharu Matsushita will drive again for the team instead.

In SF Lights, Albirex Racing’s Lucca Allen once again features on the entry list but the same occurred for the first two rounds where he ended up not competing due to budget issues. He is however in Japan, so is not ruled out by quarantine. The team has also not nominated a replacement driver as it did for those first two rounds.

B-Max Engineering meanwhile has brought Takashi Hata back into its line-up after he raced at Suzuka earlier in the year.