Sugo Super Formula: Sekiguchi takes dominant win, Vandoorne sixth
Yuhi Sekiguchi annihilated the field in the penultimate round of the Super Formula championship at Sugo, re-establishing a lead that was wiped out by the safety car to win.
At the start of the race, Sekiguchi led the field from pole position, with former F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima - who had originally qualified second, but started third after penalty- jumping to second place.
While Sekiguchi sprinted away with a series of fastest laps, Nakajima hit a temporary transmission issue that dropped him down to sixth place.
Behind, Audi WEC driver Andre Lotterer made an early pit stop, with Joao Paulo de Oliveira and Daisuke Nakajima following suit.
On lap 19, de Oliveira lost the rear of his Impul car at SP corner, spinning into the gravel trap and bringing out the safety car.
While several drivers took advantage to make a pit-stop, runaway-race leader Sekiguchi was caught by the safety car before he could dive into the pitlane.
Vandoorne, too, was unlucky with the timing of the safety car, having pitted just two laps earlier.
When the race restarted on lap 23, Sekiguchi resumed normal service, lapping over a second quicker than rest of the field.
Such was Team Impul driver’s advantage that he could pit on lap 55 and still come out in front of the field.
He eventually crossed the line 14.278s clear of Daisuke Nakajima, who, in turn, finished 4.607s ahead of Dandelion’s Tomoki Nojiri.
It was Sekiguchi’s second win of the season and one that puts him on the top of the standings.
Meanwhile, Kazuki Nakajima was able to recover from his early technical problems to finish fourth, having passed TOM’S teammate Lotterer in the second half of the race.
Vandoorne crossed the line in sixth, ahead of the lead Drago Corse car of Takashi Kogure.
James Rossiter collected the final point in eighth, while Bertrand Baguette and William Buller completed the top 10.
Erstwhile championship leader Yuji Kunimoto and 2015 champion Hiroaki Ishiura endured a dreadful weekend, the two Inging drivers finished in 15th and 16th places respectively.
|Po.||Driver||Car Name / Engine||Gap|
|1||Yuhi Sekiguchi||TEAM IMPUL|
|7||Takashi Kogure||DRAGO CORSE||23.990s|
|11||Koudai Tsukakoshi||REAL RACING||38.325s|
|12||Narain Karthikeyan||TEAM LEMANS||38.824s|
|13||Takuya Izawa||REAL RACING||42.194s|
|14||Naoki Yamamoto||TEAM MUGEN||49.728s|
|17||Kamui Kobayashi||TEAM LEMANS||1 Lap|
|Ret||J.P.de Oliveira||TEAM IMPUL|
Sugo Super Formula: Sekiguchi beats Nakajima to pole by 0.018s
Suzuka Super Formula: Ishiura takes double pole in season finale