Home News Hirakawa tops disrupted Super Formula free practice at Sugo

Hirakawa tops disrupted Super Formula free practice at Sugo

by Bethonie Waring

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool / Sho Tamura

Super Formula points leader Ryo Hirakawa topped a disrupted Saturday afternoon free practice session at Sportsland SUGO.

Two red flags disrupted running during the hour-long session, with the final stoppage bringing an early end to running.

Team Impul’s Hirakawa jumped to the top of the order not long before the final stoppage, a 1m04.745s time putting him a tenth of a second ahead of KCMG’s Kamui Kobayashi.

The session got off to a slow start, with only a handful of drivers heading out on track in the first 10 minutes. The wet weather having cleared, laptimes were immediately quicker than those set in the earlier session.

When the field eventually headed out, TOM’S driver Kazuki Nakajima set the early pace, before Kondo Racing’s Kenta Yamashita, Sacha Fenestraz and then Kobayashi swapped times at the top of the order.

It was Dandelion Racing’s Naoki Yamamoto who was on top when the first red flag was brought out midway through the session, caused by a crash for KCMG’s Yuji Kunimoto.

Reigning champion Nick Cassidy was the first to jump to the top of the order after the incident was cleared, but was soon knocked off the top spot by Hirakawa. He was then bumped down to third by Koboyashi.

Running was stopped again a short while later when the debuting Sergio Sette Camara had another off. The B-MAX Racing by Motopark driver had an overall better session than the earlier running, where he caused a red flag with a spin, and was 13th fastest.

The stoppage in the final five minutes of the session meant running would not resume.

Impul’s Yuhi Sekiguchi ended running fourth fastest, ahead of Yamamoto, Nakajima Racing’s Tadasuke Makino and INGING’s Sho Tsuboi.

After setting the pace early on, Fenestraz, Nakajima and Yamashita dropped to the bottom of the top 10.

Free practice results
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Ryo Hirakawa Team Impul 1m04.745s 14
2 Kamui Kobayashi KCMG 1m04.852s +0.107s 22
3 Nick Cassidy TOM’S 1m05.140s +0.395s 15
4 Yuhi Sekighuchi Team Impul 1m05.340s +0.595s 10
5 Naoki Yamamoto Dandelion Racing 1m05.552s +0.807s 11
6 Tadasuke Makino Nakajima Racing 1m05.785s +1.040s 17
7 Sho Tsuboi INGING 1m05.966s +1.221s 13
8 Sacha Fenestraz Kondo Racing 1m05.971s +1.226s 16
9 Kazuki Nakajima TOM’S 1m05.987s +1.242s 17
10 Kenta Yamashita Kondo Racing 1m06.019s +1.274s 15
11 Toshiki Oyu Nakajima Racing 1m06.073s +1.328s 17
12 Hiroaki Ishiura INGING 1m06.212s +1.467s 18
13 Sergio Sette Camara B-MAX Racing w/ Motopark 1m06.396s +1.651s 13
14 Koudai Tsukakoshi ThreeBond w/ Drago Corse 1m06.752s +2.007s 17
15 Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen 1m07.244s +2.499s 14
16 Kazuya Oshima ROOKIE Racing 1m08.017s +3.272s 12
17 Ukyo Sasahara Team Mugen 1m09.012s +4.267s 18
18 Nirei Fukuzumi Dandelion Racing 1m09.084s +4.339s 10
19 Yuji Kuminoto KCMG 1m27.831s +23.086s 4