Fuji Super Formula: Palou leads Newey in practice
Nakajima Racing’s Alex Palou topped the timesheets in first practice for Super Formula’s Fuji round, leading fellow ex-European F3 driver Harrison Newey.
It was TOM’S driver Kazuki Nakajima who monopolised the top spot for much of the one-hour session, leading with an early benchmark of 1m23.893s.
He improved marginally to a 1m23.866s after bolting on a set of soft tyres - and that time remained unbeaten until a flurry of late laps in the final 15 minutes of the session.
Reigning Japanese F3 champion Sho Tsuboi was the first driver to depose Nakajima from the top with a time of 1m23.687s.
But with five minutes to go, Palou managed to go even quicker, lapping the ex-Formula 1 venue in 1m23.287s.
That time would ultimately never be toppled, although B-Max by Motopark driver Newey ended up within three tenths to end up second.
Nakajima made a late improvement of his own to finish third ahead of Kondo Racing’s in-form man Kenta Yamashita and the aforementioned Tsuboi, who slipped to fifth in the final order.
Red Bull junior Lucas Auer, who secured his maiden Super Formula at Sugo last month, was classified sixth, half a second down on pacesetter Palou.
Auer was set to go even quicker after setting a personal best in sector one, before aborting the lap and heading straight into the pits to end his session.
Red Bull junior Patricio O’Ward completed 27 laps on his Super Formula debut, his best effort of 1m25.535s placing him 20th in the timesheets.
O'Ward trailed Mugen teammate Tomoki Nojiri - who was 15th - by seven tenths.
|1||Alex Palou||TCS Nakajima Racing||1'23.287|
|2||Harrison Newey||B-MAX with Motopark||1'23.569||0.282|
|3||Kazuki Nakajima||Vantelin Team TOM'S||1'23.611||0.324|
|4||Kenta Yamashita||Kondo Racing||1'23.678||0.391|
|5||Sho Tsuboi||JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING||1'23.687||0.400|
|6||Lucas Auer||B-MAX with Motopark||1'23.766||0.479|
|7||Kazuya Oshima||UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans||1'23.892||0.605|
|8||Ryo Hirakawa||Team Impul||1'23.966||0.679|
|9||Tadasuke Makino||TCS Nakajima Racing||1'24.237||0.950|
|10||Yuji Kunimoto||Kondo Racing||1'24.392||1.105|
|11||Nirei Fukuzumi||DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing||1'24.514||1.227|
|12||Artem Markelov||UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans||1'24.710||1.423|
|13||Nick Cassidy||Vantelin Team TOM'S||1'24.841||1.554|
|14||Naoki Yamamoto||DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing||1'24.842||1.555|
|15||Tomoki Nojiri||Team Mugen||1'24.869||1.582|
|16||Kamui Kobayashi||carrozzeria Team KCMG||1'24.890||1.603|
|17||Koudai Tsukakoshi||Real Racing||1'24.942||1.655|
|18||Hiroaki Ishiura||JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING||1'25.195||1.908|
|19||Yuhi Sekiguchi||Team Impul||1'25.357||2.070|
|20||Patricio O'Ward||Team Mugen||1'25.535||2.248|
|View full results|
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