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Bolukbasi's Super Formula season going 'better than expected'

Cem Bolukbasi says his first season in Super Formula has "gone better than expected" so far after scoring points for the second time in three races at Suzuka.

Cem Bolukbasi, TGM Grand Prix

The Turkish driver made the move to Japan's top single-seater series after a tough part-campaign in Formula 2 last year, joining race winner Toshiki Oyu at the Honda-powered TGM Grand Prix team.

Bolukbasi got his Super Formula tenure off to the ideal start by finishing one place behind Oyu in the opening race of the season at Fuji Speedway in eighth, although he struggled to 17th in the second race.

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Despite qualifying 17th for last weekend's Suzuka race after being baulked by fellow rookie Kakunoshin Ota in Q1, Bolukbasi managed to get into the points again in ninth place, assisted by the safety car that was deployed after the contact between Oyu and Tomoki Nojiri.

"I am very happy, I’m still pumping adrenaline!" beamed Bolukbasi. "I feel like I could have done 30 more laps, it finished on such a high. If we had a few more laps, I think we could have gained even more positions.

"The timing of the safety car was good, it worked out, the whole strategy was to save the tyres at the beginning and try the overcut.

Looking back on his start to the season, Bolukbasi admitted he expected the going to be tougher considering how much he struggled to manage the tyres in F2 in his part-campaign for the Charouz team.

"It’s gone better than I expected, especially the race pace," said the 25-year-old. "That was always something I struggled with in F2, but I’ve worked hard to try and understand the tyres and the engineering behind it.

"It looks like it’s worked out, because I can feel the tyres better, I can understand them and I can overcut the field to gain an advantage. That was basically impossible to do last year.

"We just need to improve our qualifying. We made a step from Fuji to here but we were unable to show it because of the traffic. Hopefully in Autopolis we can put everything together, get into Q2 and life will be a lot easier."

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