Okayama Super Formula: Lotterer cruises to Race 1 win
Andre Lotterer won the first of the two Okayama Super Formula races after sprinting past pole-sitter Yuhi Sekiguchi at the start.
Sekiguchi was slow off the line when the race got underway, giving 2011 champion Lotterer the chance to take the lead into Turn 1.
The Japanese driver initially stayed within a few car lengths of Lotterer, before the TOM'S driver put the hammer down and established a comfortable buffer of two seconds at the front of the field.
Sekiguchi tried to pull back the deficit during the final quarter of the race, but ultimately had to settle for second place.
Meanwhile, Nick Cassidy crossed the line comfortably in third position to take his maiden Super Formula podium.
The New Zealander, who finished fourth in last year's European F3 championship, had won at the same venue in Super GT earlier this year.
Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi was classified fourth after gaining three places at the start, while Naoki Yamamoto likewise jumped from ninth on the grid to end up fifth.
However, the 2013 champion faced a stern challenge from Jann Mardenborough in the final stages of the race, the Nissan GT Academy winner finishing just half a second adrift in sixth.
Kondo Racing's Kenta Yamashita was next up in seventh while Hiroaki Ishiura finished eighth after a poor getaway from fourth on the grid.
Championship leader and Suzuka winner Kazuki Nakajima had to settle for ninth after an uneventful race, while Toyota Le Mans driver Yuji Kunimoto completed the top 10.
Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly's race was severely compromised by a startline accident, forcing him to pit for a fresh nose.
The Frenchman came out at the back of the pack after his stop and was unable to make tangible process from there on, finishing a lap down in 19th.
Race 1 Results:
|Po.||Driver||Car Name / Engine||Gap|
|9||Kazuki Nakajima||TOM'S Toyota||25.369|
|11||Koudai Tsukakoshi||REAL SF-Honda||31.129|
|12||Felix Rosenqvist||Team LeMans-Toyota||32.867|
|15||Kazuya Oshima||Team LeMans-Toyota||40.064|
|18||Takashi Kogure||B-Max Racing-Honda||1 Lap|
|19||Pierre Gasly||Mugen-Honda||1 Lap|
Gasly hobbled by car issues on Super Formula debut
Okayama Super Formula: Sekiguchi holds off Ishiura for victory