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Suzuka Super Formula: Kunimoto leads washed-out practice

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Suzuka Super Formula: Kunimoto leads washed-out practice
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Oct 25, 2019, 3:24 AM

Kondo Racing driver Yuji Kunimoto set the pace in Friday's opening practice session for this weekend's Suzuka title decider that was essentially written off by heavy rain.

Kunimoto's best time came towards the start of the one-hour session, which was delayed by 15 minutes owing to the late conclusion of the preceding WTCR practice session, the 2016 series champion posting a 1m55.296s in the treacherous conditions.

That was enough to beat Hiroaki Ishiura (Inging) by 0.261 seconds, while Kazuki Nakajima was third-fastest for TOM'S, 0.341s off the pace.

The rain intensified around 15 minutes into the session, which prompted a lengthy period of inactivity as all the drivers returned to the pits.

In the final 20 minutes, several drivers ventured out for sighting laps, and with 10 minutes to go the majority of the field were out on track, albeit mostly lapping over 5s off the pace.

No-one was able to improve in that time, leaving Kunimoto at the head of an all-Toyota top five, with title contenders Kenta Yamashita (Kondo) and Nick Cassidy (TOM'S) placing fourth and fifth behind the leading trio.

Best of the Honda runners was Dandelion Racing's Nirei Fukuzumi in sixth place.

Of the other title hopefuls, Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) was ninth-fastest, Naoki Yamamoto (Dandelion) was 12th and Alex Palou (Nakajima Racing) was well down in 19th, having completed only two laps all session and not at a representative pace.

At the opposing end of the spectrum was Red Bull-backed Team Mugen newcomer Juri Vips, who clocked 12 laps - having been one of the first to venture back out late in the session - on his way to the 17th-fastest time, just behind teammate Tomoki Nojiri.

Weather conditions are forecast to improve for the remainder of the weekend, with second practice set to take place early on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying.

UPDATE: Due to limited track activity on Friday, the second practice session on Saturday has been extended by 20 minutes.

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Practice results:

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Japan Yuji Kunimoto Kondo Racing 01'55.296  
2 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 01'55.557 00.261
3 Japan Kazuki Nakajima Vantelin Team TOM'S 01'55.637 00.341
4 Japan Kenta Yamashita Kondo Racing 01'55.812 00.516
5 New Zealand Nick Cassidy Vantelin Team TOM'S 01'56.007 00.711
6 Japan Nirei Fukuzumi DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 01'56.011 00.715
7 Japan Ryo Hirakawa Team Impul 01'56.257 00.961
8 Japan Sho Tsuboi JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 01'57.548 02.252
9 Japan Kamui Kobayashi carrozzeria Team KCMG 01'57.684 02.388
10 Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi Team Impul 01'57.941 02.645
11 Austria Lucas Auer B-MAX with Motopark 01'58.719 03.423
12 Japan Naoki Yamamoto DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 01'59.488 04.192
13 Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi Real Racing 01'59.555 04.259
14 Japan Yuichi Nakayama UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 02'00.459 05.163
15 Japan Kazuya Oshima UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 02'01.156 05.860
16 Japan Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen 02'01.366 06.070
17 Estonia Jüri Vips Team Mugen 02'02.794 07.498
18 United Kingdom Harrison Newey B-MAX with Motopark 02'05.236 09.940
19 Spain Alex Palou TCS Nakajima Racing 02'08.860 13.564
20 Japan Tadasuke Makino TCS Nakajima Racing 02'15.087 19.791
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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Suzuka II
Drivers Yuji Kunimoto
Teams Kondo Racing
Author Jamie Klein