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Autopolis Super Formula: Gasly scores second straight win

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Autopolis Super Formula: Gasly scores second straight win
By:
Sep 10, 2017, 6:07 AM

Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly claimed his second successive Super Formula win at Autopolis after an inspired decision to start the race on the unproven soft tyre.

Naoki Yamamoto, Team Mugen
Yuji Kunimoto, Cerumo Inging
Kamui Kobayashi, KCMG
Andre Lotterer, Team Tom's
Tomoki Nojiri, Dandelion Racing
Nick Cassidy, Kondo Racing
Pierre Gasly, Team Mugen
Felix Rosenqvist, Team LeMans

Little was known about the durability of Yokohama's new compound, which was introduced at the previous round in Motegi.

While most of the field started on medium tyres, Gasly was among a small bunch of runners who did their opening stint on the soft rubber.

The increased durability from the grippier soft tyre allowed the Frenchman to rocket from fifth to second at the start, and he subsequently closed in on polesitter Tomoki Nojiri for the lead.

Unable to find a way past Nojiri, he switched to the medium tyre on lap 23. The Dandelion driver, however, didn’t react to Gasly’s pitstop, preferring to stop as per his schedule.

This turned out to be the turning point of the race as Gasly was much faster than Nojiri on fresh tyres. As a result, when the Japanese driver finally pitted on lap 38 for softs, he came out several seconds behind the new race leader.

To add to his misery, he collided with former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi at turn 1 and had to stop again for a fresh nose.

With Nojiri out of contention, Gasly cruised to the finish line to record his second straight Super Formula win and become a serious contender for the title.

Former European F3 champion Felix Rosenqvist made it three podium finishes in three races after stopping for soft tyres as early as lap 5. By limiting the running on the slower compound and running in clear air, the Swede was able to leapfrog several drivers who started ahead of him.

Rosenqvist’s Team LeMans teammate Kazuya Oshima rounded off the podium slots with a similar medium-to-soft strategy.

Championship leader Hiroaki Ishiura held his points lead with a more conventional drive to fourth place.

In similar fashion to erstwhile race leader Nojiri, Toyota Le Mans driver Yuji Kunimoto lost a significant amount of time with a late stop, ending in fifth place after running as high as third.

TOM’S driver and Suzuka winner Kazuki Nakajima was next up in sixth, while Kobayashi survived the aforementioned collision with Nojiri to finish seventh.

Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough claimed the final championship point in eighth with an unusual two-stop strategy.

Real Racing’s Koudai Tsukakoshi charged his way from the back of the grid on soft tyres to finish ninth, while Yuhi Sekiguchi completed the top 10 with a similar two-stop strategy to teammate Mardenborough.

WEC star Andre Lotterer retired from the race on the opening lap with suspension damage, which has dealt a big blow to his title hopes.

Results:

Po.DriverTeam/EngineGap
1  Pierre Gasly Mugen-Honda -
2  Felix Rosenqvist Team LeMans-Toyota 1.558
3  Kazuya Oshima Team LeMans-Toyota 7.638
4  Hiroaki Ishiura Inging-Toyota 8.555
5  Yuji Kunimoto Inging-Toyota 9.009
6  Kazuki Nakajima TOM'S-Toyota 9.457
7  Kamui Kobayashi KCMG-Toyota  14.463
8  Jann Mardenborough Impul-Toyota 14.980
9  Koudai Tsukakoshi Real Racing-Honda 31.150
10  Yuhi Sekiguchi Impul-Toyota 44.699
11  Daisuke Nakajima Nakajima-Honda 44.874
12  Takashi Kogure B-Max Racing-Honda  51.509
13  Kenta Yamashita Kondo-Toyota 53.125
14  Tomoki Nojiri Dandelion-Honda 1 lap
15  Takuya Izawa Dandelion-Honda 1 lap
DNF  Naoki Yamamoto Mugen-Honda -
DNF   Nick Cassidy Kondo-Toyota -
DNF   Narain Karthikeyan Nakajima-Honda -
DNF   Andre Lotterer TOM'S-Toyota -
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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Autopolis
Location Autopolis
Drivers Pierre Gasly
Author Rachit Thukral