Okayama Super Formula: Sekiguchi beats Kobayashi in wet qualifying
Impul driver Yuhi Sekiguchi claimed pole position for Super Formula’s Okayama round, defeating Kamui Kobayashi by a narrow margin of 0.020s in a damp qualifying on Saturday.
Koudai Tsukakoshi was the first driver to improve on Kobayashi’s Q2 benchmark in the final leg of qualifying, going on the top of the timesheets with a time of 1m25.429s.
Tomoki Nojiri went nearly four tenths quicker moments later, before Kobayashi reinstated himself a as the pace-setter with a 1m24.466s flyer.
However, Sekiguchi managed to go quicker still, his last-gasp attempt yielding a time of 1m24.466s and securing him pole position for the penultimate round of the season.
It was his fourth-ever pole in Super Formula, with the previous one also coming at Okayama.
Behind Kobayashi, Ryo Hirakawa slotted over half a second behind in third, making it two Impul cars in the top-three.
Nojiri’s previous time of 1m25.095s was enough to put him fourth on the grid and finish as the top qualifier for Honda.
Championship leader Nick Cassidy qualified a strong fifth, less than two tenths clear of his Kondo teammate Kenta Yamashita.
Tsukakoshi dropped down to seventh in the final classifications, while 2016 series champion Yuji Kunimoto was next up in eighth.
Title contenders Hiroaki Ishiura and Naoki Yamamoto failed to progress to the final leg of qualifying and will start ninth and 10th on the grid respectively.
Saturday practice pacesetter Tom Dillmann brought out the only red flag of the session, crashing at the double hairpin during Q1.
He will start 19th on the grid, behind Honda protege Nirei Fukuzumi, who likewise lost control of his car in the first session and got beached in the gravel.
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