Alesi keeps seat for Sugo, Calderon still on sidelines
Super Formula's newest race winner Giuliano Alesi will contest a third successive race next weekend at Sugo as Japan's travel restrictions continue to prevent several series regulars from taking part.
Alesi has occupied Kazuki Nakajima's seat at TOM'S since the second round of the season at Suzuka, sensationally scoring a maiden win in only his second start last month at Autopolis.
A 19-car entry list published on Friday confirms that Alesi will contest the Sugo round as well, with Toyota driver Nakajima unable to perform the mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming arrivals into Japan following this weekend's Portimao round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
That also applies to Nakajima's WEC teammate Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG), Tatiana Calderon (Drago Corse) and for the first time Ryo Hirakawa (Impul), who is joining Toyota for a post-race test in Portugal.
Those seats will be filled by Kazuko Kotaka, Koudai Tsukakoshi and Mitsunori Takaboshi respectively, with Takaboshi making only his second Super Formula outing following his debut for B-Max Racing at Okayama last year.
Elsewhere, Sacha Fenestraz and Yves Baltas remain unable to enter Japan due to visa woes. Yuichi Nakayama therefore gets a fourth outing at Kondo Racing, while B-Max will stick to entering a single car for Nobuharu Matsushita.
It means Alesi will be on the only non-Japanese driver on the grid at Sugo for a second race in a row. As he did at Suzuka and Autopolis, the Frenchman will also be performing double duties as he continues his regular Super Formula Lights campaign with TOM'S.
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