Home News Nojiri on pole for Super Formula Fuji finale, Yamamoto grows points lead

Nojiri on pole for Super Formula Fuji finale, Yamamoto grows points lead

by Ida Wood

Photo: Honda Racing

Team Mugen’s Tomoki Nojiri claimed pole for the Super Formula season finale at Fuji Speedway, reducing his points gap to title leader Naoki Yamamoto.

Nick Cassidy, immediately behind Nojiri in the standings and understood to be using an old Toyota engine after his previous one failed at Suzuka, set the pace immediately in qualifying’s first group.

KCMG’s Yuji Kunimoto beat him by two seconds with three minutes to go, but Cassidy replied with a lap two seconds up. Dandelion Racing’s Yamamoto set his first lap a minute later and went straight to the top, by two seconds, and was pipped to first place in the final minute by Nakajima Racing’s Toshiki Oyu.

Cassidy and Yamamoto then bettered themselves for second place, split by 0.010s, and at the end Mugen’s Ukyo Sasahara pipped Oyu by 0.062s. INGING’s Hiroaki Ishiura was 0.208s back in fifth, with Kondo Racing’s Sacha Fenestraz, Impul’s Yuhi Sekugichi and ROOKIE Racing’s Kazuya Oshima also progressing to Q2 after TOM’S driver Cassidy’s was sent to the back after losing laptimes to track limits offences.

In the second group ThreeBond Racing with Drago Corse’s Tatiana Calderon was surprisingly in first until the late improvements, where KCMG’s Kamui Kobayashi, Nakajima’s Hiroki Otsu, Dandelion’s Nirei Fukuzumi and B-MAX Racing’s Nobuharu Matsushita moved past her in quick succession for top spot.

Impul’s title contender Ryo Hirakawa headed the timesheet with 50s to go, and with two improvements stayed there ahead of Nojiri, Sho Tsuboi (INGING), Fukuzumi, Kazuki Nakajima (TOM’S), Kenta Yamashita (Kondo) and Matsushita – all spread by 0.516s. Otsu qualified 15th for his debut.

Matsushita was the man to beat in Q2, and he headed Sasahara by 0.075s (before his best lap was deleted). The title fighters had mixed fortunes: Yamamoto was third, Nojiri and Hirakawa progressed to Q3 in fifth and sixth, and Yamashita was 14th as Kondo struggled.

All eight cars in Q3 were pole contenders, and Nojiri set a record 1m19.972s with 30s to go to claim three points for pole. Tsuboi made it onto the front row at the end, just 0.017s off, and Yamamoto put a point between himself and Hirakawa in the title battle by qualifying third. Hirakawa didn’t improve late on and was eighth.

Qualifying results

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen 1m20.824s 1m20.897s 1m19.972s
2 Sho Tsuboi INGING 1m20.838s 1m20.739s 1m19.989s
3 Naoki Yamamoto Dandelion Racing 1m20.923s 1m20.543s 1m20.155s
4 Nobharu Matsushita B-MAX w/ Motopark 1m21.214s 1m20.337s 1m20.185s
5 Ukyo Sasahara Team Mugen 1m20.802s 1m21.033s 1m20.192s
6 Nirei Fukuzumi Dandelion Racing 1m20.954s 1m20.965s 1m20.340s
7 Toshiki Oyu Nakajima Racing 1m20.864s 1m20.473s 1m20.516s
8 Ryo Hirakawa Team Impul 1m20.698s 1m20.831s 1m20.719s
9 Kazuya Oshima ROOKIE Racing 1m21.524s 1m21.125s
10 Yuhi Sekiguchi Team Impul 1m21.502s 1m21.128s
11 Kazuki Nakajima TOM’S 1m21.125s 1m21.144s
12 Hiroaki Ishiura INGING 1m21.010s 1m21.287s
13 Sacha Fenestraz Kondo Racing 1m21.466s 1m21.298s
14 Kenta Yamashita Kondo Racing 1n21.158s 1m21.311s
15 Hiroki Otsu Nakajima Racing 1m21.267s
16 Kamui Kobayashi KCMG 1m21.418s
17 Tatiana Calderon ThreeBond w/ Drago Corse 1m21.674s
18 Charles Milesi B-MAX w/ Motopark 1m21.782s
19 Yuji Kuminoto KCMG 1m22.311s
20 Nick Cassidy TOM’S 1m24.710s