Yuhi Sekiguchi (carenex TEAM IMPUL) takes his first win of the season!
Round 8 of the 2022 Japanese Super Formula Championship was held at Mobility Resort Motegi in Tochigi Prefecture on Sunday 21 August, with Yuhi Sekiguchi (carenex TEAM IMPUL) taking his first win of the season and the first in three years.
After Saturday’s cooling rain, on Sunday all was back to the typically hot and humid lightly overcast summer scenario. In Q1A, Naoki Yamamoto (TCS NAKAJIMA RACING), who had won Saturday’s Round 7 for the first time in a long time, set the fastest time.
In Q2, Toshiki Oyu again showed his speed by achieving pole position for the first time in his career.
The two championship contenders, Sascha Fenestraz (KONDO RACING) and Tomoki Nojiri (TEAM MUGEN) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The 37 laps’ (177.637km) race kicked off at 14:30 pm under summery blue skies with air temperatures of 31°C and track surface temperature of 45°C.
Each team built its strategy around the required rule of at least one pit stop for one set (four tires) of dry tires change.
Race start. The Pole position, Oyu, cut a great start leading the file past the first corner. On the other hand, Sacha Fenestraz in the second grid lost speed at the start and was passed by Nojiri.
Fast-paced Nojiri got stuck behind Oyu, whose pace was not improving, until lap 16 when the team decided to finally pit in.
However, Yuhi Sekiguchi (carenex TEAM IMPUL), who had finished the tire change at the end of lap 10, and Tadasuke Makino (DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING), who had changed tires at the end of lap 11, both overtook Nojiri.
P.1 Yuhi Sekiguchi(carenex TEAM IMPUL)
At the end of lap 30, Ryo Hirakawa (carenex TEAM IMPUL), who had stayed out on the track up to that point, finally went in for the required pit stop.
Hirakawa returned to the track in 4th position behind Nojiri. Hirakawa caught both Nojiri and Makino, and quickly moves up to 2nd position. Finally, it was a duel for the win between Sekiguchi and Hirakawa – both drivers from the same team.
P.2 Ryo Hirakawa(carenex TEAM IMPUL)
The last lap of the race was a fierce battle for top position between the two drivers both using their OTS. Sekiguchi in order to defend and Hirakawa in order to retrieve position.
In the end, Yuhi Sekiguchi successfully defended his lead to take his first win of the season in three years, with Hirakawa in second and Makino in third positions.
Sekiguchi’s victory was his seventh in total and the first since Autopolis in 2019.
P.3 Tadasuke Makino(DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING)
The Super Formula rounds at Mobility Resort Motegi, where Rounds 7 and 8 were held, saw Yamamoto and Sekiguchi take their 2022 season’s first wins and the first in several years at Rounds 7 and 8 respectively.
The next and last double header round will mark the season’s final rounds. The possibility of winning the Drivers’ Championship has been narrowed down to three drivers.
Who will grab the 2022 Champion crown? The last two decisive rounds to be held at Suzuka Circuit are definitely not to be missed.
Round 9 Quali and Race will be held on 29 October (Sat) and Round 10 Quali and Race on 30 October (Sun) at Suzuka Circuit in Mie Prefecture.