Hibiki Taira won twice in the second Super Formula Lights round at Sportsland SUGO, with only a technical issue denying him triple success.
took pole for race one by 0.117 seconds over Igor Fraga, and held on to the lead at the start while drama occurred behind.
Yuui Tsutsumi moved a metre then stalled from fifth place on the grid, and avoided being hit, while Yuga Furutani spun around David Vidales at the fourth corner and ended up beached in the gravel himself while Vidales was able to return to the pits.
Taira had several car lengths in hand before race control decided to put the race behind the safety car, which stayed out until the end of lap eight of 26.
There was little action following that, with Iori Kimura pressuring front-row starter Igor Fraga for second on lap 10, thinking about attempting a pass at turn one a lap later then sitting behind him for the rest of the race.
On lap 18 Syun Koide started to fill Kimura’s mirrors, but could not actually get close enough to join the fight, and then the gaps between them opened up in the remaining laps.
Taira won by 3.367s, with the top four finishing in the order they started in. Enzo Trulli finished fifth, and further back DRAGON held off Takashi Hata for ninth after Hata almost barrelled into the back of him at turn one on lap 20.
Vidales finished a distant 11th, getting a drive-through penalty for ignoring the pit exit light during the safety car period.
Taira took pole again for the shorter race two, this time by 0.070s over Kimura, and converted it into victory again.
This time he did not even have to defend on lap one, while Fraga made a very slow start from fourth but only lost one place before turn one and dropped to sixth later in the lap.
The gaps quickly opened up between the top three, although Kimura suddenly closed back in on Taira on lap five before dropping back again. By lap eight he was in a position to pressure, but the slipstream effect was never strong enough to make a lunging pass possible.
On lap nine Hata lost his front wing and went off at the final corner, and although he made it to the pits the safety car was required to collect the debris.
Taira went as early as possible on the restart and the top three split again, while there was lots of squabbling for fourth downwards. Trulli ended up taking that position, then had to resist many laps of pressure from Vidales to hold it to the finish while Taira won by 0.764s ahead of Kimura and Koide.
Race three’s front row was occupied by Taira and Fraga, and Taira led until lap 17 of 19 when his car got stuck in fourth gear.
Fraga, Trulli and Seita Nonaka went by, then Nonaka spun at the start of lap 18. Fraga won, Nonaka only lost one spot to Koide while Taira fell to 12th and last. Kimura finished eighth despite an early pitstop.
Race 1 (26 laps)
1 Hibiki Taira TOM’S 38m12.542s
2 Igor Fraga B-MAX Racing +3.367s
3 Iori Kimura B-MAX Racing +4.065s
4 Syun Koide Toda Racing +5.675s
5 Enzo Trulli TOM’S +6.501s
6 Seita Nonaka TOM’S +8.222s
7 Yuui Tsutsumi Rn-sports +11.748s
8 Nobuhiro Imada B-MAX Racing +47.436s
9 DRAGON B-MAX Racing +48.996s
10 Takashi Hata B-MAX Racing +51.956s
Pole: Taira, 1m14.680s
Fastest lap: Taira, 1m15.511s
Race 2 (19 laps)
1 Taira 26m00.659s
2 Kimura +0.764s
3 Koide +2.393s
4 Trulli +7.301s
5 David Vidales B-MAX Racing +8.127s
6 Fraga +10.076s
7 Tsutsumi +10.895s
8 Yuga Furutani TOM’S +11.389s
9 Nonaka +13.774s
10 Imada +17.882s
P: Taira, 1m14.418s
FL: Kimura, 1m15.762s
Race 3 (19 laps)
1 Fraga 24m34.771s
2 Trulli +1.265s
3 Koide +5.597s
4 Nonaka +6.765s
5 Tsutumi +10.878s
6 Vidales +11.983s
7 Furutani +12.593s
8 Kimura +30.390s
9 DRAGON +33.740s
10 Hata +51.035s
FL: Nonaka, 1m16.411s
1 Kimura 48 2 Taira 38 3 Koide 24 4 Fraga 21 5 Furutani 15 6 Trulli 13 7 Vidales 9 8 Nonaka 8 9 Tsutsumi 2 10 Imada 0