Home News Kazuto Kotaka takes first Super Formula Lights win in Fuji finale

Kazuto Kotaka takes first Super Formula Lights win in Fuji finale

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Super Formula Lights

TOM’S won all three races of the Super Formula Lights season finale at Fuji Speedway, with its drivers Ritomo Miyata and Kazuto Kotaka both making the top step.

Miyata started the weekend by edging B-MAX Racing’s Sena Sakaguchi to pole, but an engine change for the latter meant he started from seventh place for race one.

Kohno inherited his front row spot and challenged Miyata into the first corner. But from then on, Miyata was untouchable.

Sakaguchi made up three spots on the opening lap, passed RS Fine’s Shunsuke Kohno for third at the start of lap two and then repeated that Turn 1 move on Kohno for second place on lap three.

The remaining 19 laps were a bore besides Toda Racing’s Teppei Natori passing Kohno for fourth on lap five, and Miyata won by 6.604 seconds while Sakaguchi built his own advantage of 11s over Kohno.

Pole for race two, held in near-freezing conditions, went to Sakaguchi by a tiny 0.021s over Miyata.

Lucca Allen felt the effect of the low temperatures by spinning on cold tyres on the warm-up laps, prompting a start delay. When racing began it was Miyata with the best start, but a lock-up into the first corner meant the top three were three-wide on exit and it was Kotaka who claimed the lead ahead of Sakaguchi.

Furter back, former Formula 1 driver Sakon Yamamoto drove into the rear of B-MAX stablemate Satoshi Motoyama, a five-time Super Formula champion, and sent him into retirement.

For once 2020 champion Miyata didn’t seem to have the pace to fight for victory – unable to pass Sakaguchi for second no matter how close he got. This enabled Kotaka to pull clear and take his first victory.

Miyata lined up on pole for the finale, and after a good launch ended up almost being pincered by Sakaguchi and Kotaka into the first corner. He braked early and briefly dipped to third, before passing Kotaka and Sakaguchi at the corner exit.

Once ahead he was back to his usual best, and finished comfortably clear of Sakaguchi in what could be both drivers’ series swansong.

Neither Motoyama or Yamamoto scored on their racing returns, both claiming a best result of seventh.

Results round-up
Race 1 (21 laps)
1 Ritomo Miyata TOM’S 32m30.172s
2 Sena Sakaguchi B-MAX Racing +6.604s
3 Kazuto Kotaka TOM’S +18.354s
4 Teppei Natori Toda Racing +21.792s
5 Shunsuke Kohno RS Fine +22.610s
6 Lucca Allen Albirex Racing +43.519s
7 Satoshi Motoyama B-Max Engineering +45.354s
8 Tsubasa Iriyama Albirex Racing +52.439s
9 DRAGON B-Max Engineering +58.823s
10 Nobuhiro Imada B-MAX Racing +59.366s
Pole: Miyata, 1m31.370s
Fastest lap: Miyata, 1m32.399s

Race 2 (13 laps)
1 Kotaka 20m08.071s
2 Sakaguchi +1.713s
3 Miyata +2.297s
4 Natori +16.554s
5 Kohno +17.313s
6 Iriyama +21.618s
7 Allen +28.488s
8 Sakon Yamamoto B-MAX Racing +40.261s
9 Imada +46.215s
10 Masayuki Ueda Rn-sports +1m02.384s
P: Sakaguchi, 1m31.543s
FL: Miyata, 1m32.223s

Race 3 (15 laps)
1 Miyata 23m15.334s
2 Sakaguchi +4.661s
3 Kotaka +8.515s
4 Natori +16.948s
5 Kohno +17.292s
6 Iriyama +19.270s
7 Yamamoto +30.939s
8 Allen +31.246s
9 DRAGON +41.404s
10 Imada +41.903s
FL: Miyata, 1m32.569s

Championship standings
1 Miyata 153   Sakaguchi 116   3 Kotaka 73   Natori 56   5 Kohno 38   6 Yoshiaki Katayama 10   7 Mitsunori Takaboshi 8   8 Iriyama 8   9 Seiya Jin 4   10 Allen 5