Rookie Oyu Captures Maiden Victory in Rd. 6
The 2020 Super Formula Rd. 6 race took place at Suzuka under warmer than usual weather conditions of 16° C (24° C track temp). Nick Cassidy was on pole after setting a new track record in qualifying of 1’34.442.
Nick got off to a good start to the 30 lap (175 km) race, as did P2 starter rookie Toshiki Oyu. Nirei Fukuzumi from a P4 start passed teammate Naoki Yamamoto, who started in P3.
On lap 3 of 30, Sacha Fenestraz crashed into a barrier. it appeared as if he and Kamui Kobayashi came into contact, as Kamui suffered a tire puncture and limped into the pits. This brought out the first safety car of the race.
On lap 4, it was Nick P1, P2 Oyu, P3 Fukuzumi, P4 Yamamoto, P5 Yuhi Sekiguchi, P6 Sho Tsuboi. During the next lap, Yamamoto’s car began to slow down. His fledgling car went into the pit nose first, a sign that his day was over. On lap 6, the safety car went in. By lap 8, Ryo Hirakawa was up into P9 from a P14 start.
Nick Cassidy’s car started to smoke on lap 9. By the time he made it into the first corner, he was slowing down. He got out of his car, so his day, as well as hopes of taking over the lead in the championship were over. This gave way to Oyu possibly capturing his maiden victory.
On lap 14, Tomoki Nojiri, one of the 4 drivers still in the fight for the championship, overtook Hirakawa, then Kenta Yamashita. Yuji Kunimoto suffered a puncture on track on lap 19, and spun out leaving the drivers behind him to run past him through a huge cloud of dust. This of course brought out the safety car again. It went in on lap 22. Oyu maintained his lead and took the checkered flag in P1 to capture his first ever Super Formula victory. In P2 was Fukuzumi, P3 Sekiguchi, P4 Sho Tsuboi, P5 Nojiri, P6 Kenta Yamashita, P7 Hirakawa.
Hirakawa picked up enough points in this race to tie him with Naoki Yamamoto with 55 points. Nojiri has 47 points, Nick Cassidy 46 points, and Kenta Yamashita 34 points. The championship will be decided in Rd. 7 at Fuji Speedway on Dec. 20th.