Suzuka Super Formula: Toshiki Oyu wins, title race tightens

Suzuka Super Formula: Toshiki Oyu wins, title race tightens

12/06/2020

Honda protege Toshiki Oyu scored his first Super Formula victory in the penultimate round of the season at Suzuka, as the title race took another dramatic turn.

From second on the grid, Nakajima Racing rookie Oyu sat behind poleman and early leader Nick Cassidy, and gained the advantage when Cassidy’s TOM’S machine appeared to suffer an engine problem at the start of lap nine of 30.

Oyu was then tasked with keeping fellow Honda man Nirei Fukuzumi behind him, hanging on by just half a second to become the sixth different race winner of the season.

Pre-race championship leader Naoki Yamamoto was another early retirement, slowing during the first safety car period, and he now leads the championship jointly with Ryo Hirakawa, who recovered from 14th on the grid to finish seventh.

Yamamoto had been running third behind Cassidy and Oyu in the early stages before the first of three safety car periods, caused by Sacha Fenestraz crashing at the final chicane while dicing for position with Kamui Kobayashi – who also suffered damage and had to pit.

When Yamamoto dropped out, it was Fukuzumi that was promoted to third place, and after misfortune struck for Cassidy, Oyu was promoted into the lead ahead of Fukuzumi.

A second safety car period was triggered as Cassidy came to a halt at the outside of Turn 1, flames coming out of the back of his ailing TOM’S machine, with his teammate Kazuki Nakajima suffering a puncture at almost the exact same time.

That prompted everyone to pit with the exception of Nobuharu Matsushita and Ukyo Sasahara, who moved into a temporary one-two until their stops.

The final caution period, caused by a puncture and a spin for Yuji Kunimoto at the S Curve, prompted Matsushita and Sasahara to pit, promoting Oyu back to the lead.

It was then a matter of fending off the remaining Dandelion car of Fukuzumi for the remaining laps after the final restart on lap 23, and although Fukuzumi was within half a second of his rival entering the final lap, he never looked close enough to pass.

Nonetheless, it was a first podium of the year for Fukuzumi, while Yuhi Sekiguchi was third for Impul, also scoring his first top-three of the season.

Sho Tsuboi (Inging) was fourth ahead of Tomoki Nojiri (Mugen), up from 17th on the grid, while Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing) was able to hold Hirakawa at bay for sixth.

Hirakawa is now tied at the head of the standings with Yamamoto on 55 points, with both drivers now not needing to drop scores ahead of this month’s Fuji finale.

Cassidy is third on gross scores but fourth behind Nojiri when dropped scores are considered.

Completing the scorers were Tadasuke Makino (Nakajima), Kazuya Oshima (Inging) and Hiroaki Ishiura (Inging), with Sasahara (Mugen) ending up 11th.

Tatiana Calderon (Drago Corse) matched her best Super Formula finish in 12th ahead of the two B-Max Racing cars of Charles Milesi and Matsushita. 

Race results:

Cla#DriverTeamLapsGap
165 Toshiki OyuTCS Nakajima Racing30 
26 Nirei FukuzumiDoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing30 0.462
319 Yuhi SekiguchiITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL30 10.449
439 Sho TsuboiJMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING30 10.975
516 Tomoki NojiriTeam Mugen30 15.092
63 Kenta YamashitaKondo Racing30 16.765
720 Ryo HirakawaITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL30 17.391
864 Tadasuke MakinoTCS Nakajima Racing30 19.224
914 Kazuya OshimaROOKIE Racing30 19.321
1038 Hiroaki IshiuraJMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING30 20.763
1115 Ukyo SasaharaTeam Mugen30 21.786
1212 Tatiana CalderonThreeBond Drago CORSE30 23.238
1351 Charles MilesiBuzz Racing with B-Max30 23.424
1450 Nobuharu MatsushitaBuzz Racing with B-Max30 24.260
157 Kamui Kobayashicarrozzeria Team KCMG30 28.499
1636 Kazuki NakajimaVantelin Team TOM’S29 1 Lap
1718 Yuji Kunimotocarrozzeria Team KCMG18 12 Laps
181 Nick CassidyVantelin Team TOM’S8 22 Laps
195 Naoki YamamotoDoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing5 25 Laps
204 Sacha FenestrazKondo Racing1 29 Laps
View full results


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