Round 5 - Okayama international Circuit
In race 1 of Super Formula Round 5 at Okayama International Circuit, pole position winner #37 Kazuki Nakajima (VANTELIN TEAM TOM'S) inadvertently stopped in the wrong grid after the formation lap. This resulted in him being penalized--causing him to start from the last grid position for race1.
After a race re-start, from the 2nd grid, #41 Stoffel Vandoorne (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING) overtook #2 Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU/CERUMO · INGING), who had qualified in 2nd place for race 1.
This left Vandoorne in the lead. #7 Narain Karthikeyan (SUNOCO TEAM LEMANS) jumped up three spots from his 6th grid position start into 3rd place.
Sekiguchi is followed by #1 Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/CERUMO · INGING), who has 16 points. Vandoorne is currently in 5th place in points.
#41 Stoffel Vandoorne (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING)
Is’s a great feeling to win my first Super Formula Race. Actually, this whole week has been great, from me after being announced as a Formula 1 driver with McLaren Honda for next year.
My first win in Super Formula is great. We’ve had a good pace the whole weekend, since practice, and the qualifying today. And we made some improvements on the car. So, yeah I’m very happy. I had a very good start, took the lead, and then tried to drive a clean race from there. The pace was good, I could increase the gap lap by lap. In the end, I am very happy to cross the finish line first.
From his starting front row position, #40 Tomoki Nojiri (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING) got off to a good start to championship race 2 of Round 5 at Okayama International Circuit. But #3 James Rossiter (KONDO RACING) dropped a few spots, while #41 Stoffel Vandoorne (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING) jumped up two positions to the 4th spot.
During the first lap, #2 Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU/CERUMO・INGING) and #37 Kazuki Nakajima (VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S) headed to the pit for the mandatory tire change. The focal point of the race then changed from which group of cars would pick up the pace; those that headed to the pit early, or the front runners who still hadn’t.
On lap 22, front-running Nojiri went into the pit and came out in a rather fast time of 7.8 seconds, but re-entered the track behind Kunimoto and Kazuki Nakajima. In the meantime, #1 Hiroaki Ishiura (P.MU/CERUMO・INGING) held out as long as possible for the mandatory pit stop.
During corner 2 of lap 31 #7 Narain Karthikeyan (SUNOCO TEAM LEMANS) spun out and the safety car was deployed. Ishiura saw that and headed to the pit. This strategy helped him to come back out onto the track in 4th place behind Kunimoto, Kazuki and Nojiri. The verdict is the teams that went to the pits on the first lap came out with the upper hand.
The safety car left the track on lap 35 and the race re-started. After that, Ishiura tried to overtake Nojiri, but Nojiri fought back. It looked like he would be able to stay in 3rd, but Nojiri was slapped with a drive through penalty while the yellow flag was out. Nojiri ended the race in 16th place.
Kunimoto, who raced well in both race 1 yesterday, and race 2 today came out on top for his first Super Formula victory. He was followed in 2nd by Kazuki Nakajima, who drove a marvelous race, and was able to jump up all the way from 10th place after getting knocked out of Q1. Ishiura finished in third. The winner of race 1 yesterday, #41 Stoffel Vandoorne (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING) finished race 2 in 7th place.
#2 Yuji Kunimoto (P.MU/CERUMO・INGING)
I am truly happy. Last year I wasn't able to post the results that I wanted to, and felt some anxiety because my teammate Hiroaki Ishiura had gotten off to a good start to this season. I have been doing okay since the beginning of this year, and my team has supported me when I was down. In addition, I have also received a lot of support from others, as well. So I am happy to have made the most out of this chance and picked up the win.