Giuliano Alesi took his first two Super Formula Lights wins at Sportsland SUGO.
TOM’S driver Alesi claimed his first pole in Formula 3-level single-seaters, and then led lights-to-flag in soaking wet conditions in race one.
From the off he and B-MAX Racing’s Teppei Natori sprinted away, as those behind did well to avoid the stalled car of Toda Racing’s Ren Sato.
In the first few laps the gap between Alesi and Natori ebbed and flowed as their tyres got up to temperature, before Alesi established a constant gap until halfway through the 24-lap race when the safety car was called out after DRAGON crashed at the downhill right-hander at the end of the lap.
He got going, despite his car embedding itself into the barriers, but then opted to retire in the pits. Albirex Racing’s Lucca Allen – making a delayed first appearance of 2021 – span off at the same corner and also got himself out to retire.
The top two were already lapping drivers before the safety car, and they sprinted away on the restart to finish 1.161 seconds apart in the fog. Hibiki Taira was a distant third and Shunsuke Kohno was fourth, while Atsushi Miyake claimed fifth after spending half of the race defending from Seita Nonaka and Sato.
Race two on Sunday was in the dry, and it was a simple win for Natori who started on pole and after holding off Sato following a slow start was never challenged. Taira had Alesi and Miyake all over his gearbox for the duration of the race but never gave them an opportunity to pass and finished third.
Taira’s TOM’S team-mate Seita Nonaka exited the race on lap one after contact with Kohno exiting the first corner of the race which sent the RS Fine driver into a roll. Kohno had got pincered between two drivers, and wheel-on-wheel contact with Nonaka then led to the rear of his car being pitched skywards. The early laps of the race ran behind the safety car as a result of the incident.
Alesi started from the front again for race three, and led lights-to-flag for his second win. Natori got passed by Taira for second place at the start, but reclaimed the spot on lap two and trailed Alesi to the finish.
Taira held off Miyake for third, while Kohno triumphed in a battle with Sato for fifth.
Race 1 (24 laps)
1 Giuliano Alesi TOM’S 41m22.237s
2 Teppei Natori B-MAX Racing +1.161s
3 Hibiki Taira TOM’S +16.531s
4 Shunsuke Kohno RS Fine +22.291s
5 Atsushi Miyake Rn-sports +33.371s
6 Seita Nonaka TOM’S +33.833s
7 Ren Sato Toda Racing +34.458s
8 Takashi Hata B-Max Engineering +52.690s
9 Nobuhiro Imada B-Max Engineering +1m05.751s
10 Masayuki Ueda Rn-sports +1 lap
Pole: Alesi, 1m30.045s
Fastest lap: Alesi, 1m31.333s
Race 2 (19 laps)
1 Natori 30m06.010s
2 Sato +2.883s
3 Taira +10.023s
4 Alesi +10.699s
5 Miyake +12.157s
6 Lucca Allen Albirex Racing +22.106s
7 Imada +29.684s
8 DRAGON B-Max Engineering +35.338s
9 Hata +42.602s
10 Ueda +45.328s
P: Natori, 1m30.107s
FL: Natori, 1m13.925s
Race 3 (19 laps)
1 Alesi 23m57.208s
2 Natori +1.858s
3 Taira +13.428s
4 Miyake +13.647s
5 Kohno +18.487s
6 Sato +18.809s
7 Nonaka +20.118s
8 Allen +26.821s
9 DRAGON +51.198s
10 Imada +53.577s
FL: Natori, 1m14.745s
1 Natori 95 2 Alesi 66 3 Miyake 38.5 4 Sato 37 5 Taira 35.5 6 Kohno 16.5 7 Nonaka 15 8 Seiya Jin 5 9 Imada 1 10 Allen 1