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Hirakawa Wins Rd.1 at Fuji


Ryo Hirakawa(carenex TEAM IMPUL)

2022 Japanese SUPER FORMULA Championship – Round1 was held at Fuji Speedway in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, on Saturday April 9th, with RYO HIRAKAWA winning the opening round of the season.
The 2022 first Qualifying session, consisting of Q1 and Q2, and set to determine the starting grid for the Round -1 race, was held on the morning of Saturday under fine, warm and breezy spring weather.
While both rookies; Ren Sato and Atsushi Miyake who both race in the new entrant team; TEAM GOH, made excellent performances proceeding on to the Q2, the veterans; Naoki Yamamoto (TCS NAKAJIMA) and Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) failed to continue into Q2.
The Pole Position went to Ukyo Sasahara who has joined the season full-time with TEAM MUGEN, the runner-up position was taken by rookie Ren Sato (TEAM GOH) and followed by veteran Ryo Hirakawa (carenex TEAM IMPUL) in the third position.

The season’s first-round consisting of 41 laps (187.083 km) and requiring at least one compulsory pit stop for (dry) tire changes (all 4 tires), kicked off at 14:30 pm.
Pole Position driver Ukyo Sasahara failed the start due to an engine stall, meanwhile, Ren Sato, who started second, spun right at the Dunlop Corner as the result of contact.
The front row pair dropped out from the race in less than a lap. Ryo Hirakawa (CARENEX TEAM IMPUL), who started the race from the 3rd grid, pitted at the end of lap 25 for the compulsory tire change.
Tomoki Nojiri (TEAM MUGEN), who had finished tire changes right at the start of the allowed window, succeeded in reaching the first corner before Ryo Hirakawa was coming out of the pits. Here Nojiri, the defending champion finally takes the lead after starting the race from 6th position. However, on sector 3 of lap 30, Hirakawa catches Nojiri and retrieves the lead.
In the end, it was Ryo Hirakawa who won the season’s open round, his third victory since the Japanese Super Formula opening round back in 2020. Tomoki Nojiri finished in the second position. The French/Argentinian Sascha Fenestraz (KONDO RACING) finished Round-1 in third place finally and after his SF entry was delayed last year due to COVID-19 national restrictions.
The Super Formula Round – 2 will kick off tomorrow 10th of April (Sunday), also at Fuji Speedway, with Round 2 followed by Qualifying.

P.2 Tomoki Nojiri(TEAM MUGEN)
P.3 Sascha Fenestraz(KONDO RACING)




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