Suzuka Super Formula: Palou tops first practice of 2019

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Suzuka Super Formula: Palou tops first practice of 2019
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Apr 19, 2019, 6:21 AM

Alex Palou set the pace in the first practice of the 2019 Super Formula season at Suzuka, but spun later in the session and caused a red flag.

Defending champion Naoki Yamamoto was the first driver the break the 1m39s mark, lapping the Japanese Grand Prix venue in 1m38.417s to move to the top of charts.

Palou soon dispatched Yamamoto from the top with a 1m38.275s flyer, before Impul’s Yuhi Sekiguchi improved by a tenth to go quickest of all.

With 30 minutes left in the session, Palou wrested the top spot back from Sekiguchi, clocking a time of 1m38.095s.

In a bid to go even quicker, the Nakajima Racing driver spun at the Degner corner with just 11 minutes remaining on the clock, bringing out the red flags.

It was the second such intervention in the session, with Team LeMans’ Kazuya Oshima having spun at exactly the same corner 15 minutes prior to that.

After Palou’s car was retrieved, race control extended practice by five minutes, giving drivers an eight-minute dash to improve their times.

However, no one could go faster than Palou, the Spaniard drawing first blood in the new season.

Sekiguchi’s previous time of 1m38.174s was also good enough for second, but Yamamoto was dislodged from third spot by Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum.

Ticktum (Mugen) was one of the few drivers to jump up the order in the dying minutes of the session and ended up just 0.374s off the pace in third.

Behind Yamamoto, Harrison Newey finished fifth for the new B-Max-Motopark partnership, with Le Mans 24 Hours winner Kazuki Nakajima sixth fastest for TOM’S.

Tadasuke Makino was seventh in the second of the Nakajima Racing cars, just 0.027s ahead of new Red Bull recruit and DTM ace Lucas Auer (B-Max with Motopark).

Ryo Hirakawa (Impul) and two-time series champion Hiroaki Ishiura (Inging) completed the top 10.

Several familiar names finished in the second half of the table, including last year’s runner up Nick Cassidy who was only 17th quickest and nearly 1.5s off the pace.

Ex-Formula 2 frontrunner Artem Markelov (Team LeMans) finished three positions ahead in 14th, just behind Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG).

Session results:

Pos.

Driver

Team

Time

Gap

1

Alex Palou

Nakajima

1’38.095

 

2

Yuhi Sekiguchi

Impul

1’38.174

0.079

3

Daniel Ticktum

Mugen

1’38.469

0.374

4

Naoki Yamamoto

Dandelion

1’38.471

0.376

5

Harrison Newey

B-Max Racing with Motopark

1’38.551

0.456

6

Kazuki Nakajima

TOM'S

1’38.918

0.823

7

Tadasuke Makino

Nakajima

1’38.923

0.828

8

Lucas Auer

B-Max Racing with Motopark

1’38.950

0.855

9

Ryo Hirakawa

Impul

1’39.169

1.074

10

Hiroaki Ishiura

Inging

1’39.189

1.094

11

Kenta Yamashita

Kondo

1’39.190

1.095

12

Tomoki Nojiri

Mugen

1’39.217

1.122

13

Kamui Kobayashi

KCMG

1’39.237

1.142

14

Artem Markelov

LeMans

1’39.432

1.337

15

Sho Tsuboi

Inging

1’39.445

1.350

16

Kazuya Oshima

LeMans

1’39.558

1.463

17

Nick Cassidy

TOM'S

1’39.590

1.495

18

Nirei Fukuzumi

Dandelion

1’39.708

1.613

19

Yuji Kunimoto

Kondo

1’39.711

1.616

20

Tristan Charpentier

Real Racing

1’40.187

2.092

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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Suzuka
Drivers Alex Palou
Teams Nakajima Racing
Author Rachit Thukral
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