Naoki Yamamoto (TCS NAKAJIMA RACING) takes his first win of the season!
Round 7 of the 2022 Japanese Super Formula Championship was held at Mobility Resort Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture on Saturday 20 August, with Naoki Yamamoto (TCS NAKAJIMA RACING) taking his first win of the season and the first in two years.
Considering the extreme summers of Motegi, this Saturday was only moderately hot with air temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius and track surface temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.
The Qualifying session for the afternoon race was held in the early hours of the morning. Ranking 2nd place in the Championship, hoping for a pole-to-win finish in the Motegi double-header, driver Ryo Hirakawa (carenex TEAM IMPUL) finished only in the 7th in Q1A, unexpectedly losing the chance for Q2. It ended up as a painful Qualifying session for the championship contender.
Meanwhile, top-ranking Tomoki Nojiri (TEAM MUGEN) finished Q1B with the top time. However, ending in 4th position in Q2, missing his almost regular pole position. On the other hand, Naoki Yamamoto (TCS NAKAJIMA RACING) took pole position for the first time in almost two years. Sascha Fenestraz (KONDO RACING) finished the Quali in second position and Toshiki Oyu (TCS NAKAJIMA RACING) in third.
The 37-lap (177.637km) race kicked off at 14:30 pm led by the Safety Car, after being declared a WET race due to the initially light rain which started to fall while the cars were still on standby at the grid. The SC left the track and the race battle began on lap 4. The leaders continued the race in their respective original positions. Then on lap 14, on the hairpin exit, Tomoki Nojiri caught Toshiki Oyu and moved up to the third position. Nojiri continues the chase, now chasing down the second-placed Sacha Fenestraz.
P.3 Tomoki Nojiri(TEAM MUGEN)
Then with 10 laps to go, Ryo Hirakawa, who was running in 11th position, goes off the track. Hirakawa’s race is over. The Safety Car is deployed once again, and finally, the race restarts with seven laps to go. Again, Yamamoto shows a calm restart, keeps his position and takes his first win of the season with a pole-to-win finish.
P.2 Sascha Fenestraz(KONDO RACING)
Sascha Fenestraz keeps the second position regardless of the fierce pursuit by the ranking leader Nojiri Tomoki who finishes the race in the third position.
This race marks Naoki Yamamoto’s first win in two seasons and his ninth in total.
Round 8 will be held tomorrow, 21 August (Sunday) again here at Mobility Resort Motegi, with another early Quali start followed by the afternoon race.
P.1 Naoki Yamamoto(TCS NAKAJIMA RACING)