Home News Honda junior Koide takes three Super Formula Lights wins at Okayama

Honda junior Koide takes three Super Formula Lights wins at Okayama

by Ida Wood

Photo: SF Lights

Honda junior Syun Koide won all three Super Formula Lights races at Okayama.

Iori Kimura topped pre-event testing, a 1m23.518s putting him 0.367 seconds ahead of Koide, then from the four practice sessions it was Igor Fraga who was fastest overall. He topped FP3 with a 1m23.549s, which was 0.047s faster than Hibiki Taira’s FP4-topping time.

Next up on Saturday were two qualifying sessions, with Koide earning race one pole 0.167s over Fraga with a 1m23.952s. Seita Nonaka was a further 0.046s behind in third, and had a gap of 0.050s to Kimura in fourth.

Points leader Taira had a disastrous session, his fastest lap being over 4.6s off the pace and then being deleted due to running off-track during it. His next best, a 1m36.980s, exceeded the maximum qualifying time required to be able to race. However he was given permission to race based off his practice pace.

Q2 began not long after, and Fraga took his first pole by just 0.018s. Koide was second, and remarkably Kimura and Nonaka set identical personal bests. Kimura qualified third on dint of having set his lap first, and both were just 0.097s off pole. Taira qualified fifth, 0.397s slower than Fraga.

Race one was light on action. Koide made a strong start from pole despite some wheelspin, and Fraga held second into turn one due to having the inside line as he had a slower launch than Nonaka.

Koide gapped himself from the rest of the field, with Fraga also ending lap one with a comfortable margin behind. Third and fourth place were close, but not enough to battle each other, and most of the action in the early laps centred around Kimura as he lost places.

He eventually retired three laps from the finish after going off onto some grass while trying to pass Enzo Trulli for sixth.

Koide won by 5.37s over Fraga. Nonaka completed the podium, 14.643s behind, and David Vidales was a further 10s back as he held off Taira for fourth. Trulli got a 30s penalty for his dangerous defending, dropping him from sixth to seventh.

Aside from a lap one crash between Trulli and Vidales that sent the former into the barriers and caused a safety car period, race two was another quiet affair. Koide passed Fraga into turn one at the first attempt, and Kimura joined them in breaking away from the rest of the field after the restart.

Kimura challenged Fraga for second a few times but could not make a pass, and Koide won by 1.249s. Taira overtook Nonaka for fourth on lap one and set fastest lap late on.

Koide and Fraga shared race three’s front row, and Koide made a strong enough start to immediately cut to the inside line.

Fraga tried going around his outside later around the lap, just as a three-wide fight for third was occurring right behind him, and he then found himself under intense pressure while Koide escaped.

Scuffling between Vidales and Nonaka for third gave Fraga a slight gap, but by lap three he was already far behind Koide who took his fourth win of 2023. Vidales finished third, and Nonaka dropped down the order after his battles went wrong so Trulli finished fourth.

Results round-up
Race 1 (25 laps)
1 Syun Koide Toda Racing 35m49.596s
2 Igor Fraga B-MAX Racing +5.370s
3 Seita Nonaka TOM’S +14.643s
4 David Vidales B-MAX Racing +24.257s
5 Hibiki Taira TOM’S +24.914s
6 Yuga Furutani TOM’S +35.007s
7 Enzo Trulli TOM’S +57.579s
8 Nobuhiro Imada B-MAX Racing +1m03.699s
9 Dragon B-MAX Racing +1m04.294s
10 Takashi Hata B-MAX Racing +1m15.153s
Pole: Koide, 1m23.952s
Fastest lap: Koide, 1m25.380s

Race 2 (18 laps)
1 Koide 28m48.511s
2 Fraga +1.249s
3 Iori Kimura B-MAX Racing +8.969s
4 Taira +9.239s
5 Nonaka +13.718s
6 Furutani +15.161s
7 Vidales +22.894s
8 Dragon +30.234s
9 Imada +32.406s
10 Hata +48.116s
P: Fraga, 1m23.649s
FL: Taira, 1m24.531s

Race 3 (18 laps)
1 Koide 27m59.077s
2 Fraga +0.213s
3 Vidales +0.837s
4 Taira +1.490s
5 Trulli +1.968s
6 Kimura +4.903s
7 Furutani +5.548s
8 Imada +7.559s
9 Dragon +9.542s
10 Hata +1 lap
FL: Koide, 1m25.348s

Championship standings
1 Taira 92   Kimura 82   3 Koide 76   4 Fraga 47   5 Trulli 41   6 Nonaka 31   7 Suganami 21   8 Furutani 21   9 Vidales 19   10 Yuui Tsutsumi 14