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Qualifying report
Super Formula Suzuka II

Suzuka Super Formula: Nojiri takes vital pole, Lawson P7

Tomoki Nojiri scored a vital pole position for his Super Formula title hopes in qualifying for the penultimate round of the season at Suzuka, as Liam Lawson only managed seventh on the grid.

Tomoki Nojiri, TEAM MUGEN

Mugen driver Nojiri set a lap of 1m37.292s to grab the top spot in the final three minutes of the second segment of qualifying, which was red-flagged and restarted after a crash for Ren Sato at Degner.

Nojiri's time was enough to beat championship leader Ritomo Miyata to pole by just over three tenths of a second, giving him three bonus points while Miyata scored two.

It means Nojiri now goes into Saturday's race nine points behind Miyata, with Lawson now 10 points adrift after failing to score.

Unlike Nojiri and Miyata, Lawson opted not to equip a fresh set of tyres for the final part of qualifying after the session resumed, and ended up almost six tenths of a second off his team-mate.

That followed scenes of the two Mugen drivers vying for track position on the warm-up lap, with Nojiri expressing his displeasure with Lawson over team radio and in his parc ferme interview.

"[Lawson] passed me between Turns 1 and 2," said Nojiri in the post-qualifying press conference. "I looked in my right mirror and was like, 'huh, he's not there' and then I realised he had passed me on the left.

"I was really annoyed about that. Then we were really close again on the back straight, which was probably shown on TV. If he was going to do that kind of thing, I felt I had to do something to get back at him.

"I thought I would close right up to him, but honestly, we almost collided. It was a bit risky."

Dandelion Racing pair Tadasuke Makino and Kakunoshin Ota will share the second row of the grid, with Sho Tsuboi (Inging) and Ryo Hirakawa (Impul) lining up fifth and sixth.

Behind Lawson, Kenta Yamashita was eighth-fastest for Kondo Racing, followed by Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) and Nobuharu Matsushita, who scored his best grid position for several races in 10th for B-Max Racing.

As well as Nakajima Racing's Sato, Nirei Fukuzumi (Drago Corse) also suffered an off at Degner after Q2 was restarted, leaving him down in 11th on the grid.

Cem Bolukbasi scored his season-best grid slot of 14th for TGM Grand Prix after going seventh-fastest in his Q1 group.

Team-mate Riki Okusa, making his Super Formula debut in place of Toshiki Oyu, was 10th fastest in his group but promoted to 17th on the grid after Hiroki Otsu (Nakajima) lost his best lap for exceeding track limits.

Suzuka Super Formula - Q2 results (Round 8):

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Japan T. Nojiri Team Mugen 1 5

1'37.292

  214.870
2 Japan R. Miyata Vantelin Team TOM'S 37 6

+0.307

1'37.599

0.307 214.194
3 Japan T. Makino Dandelion Racing 5 5

+0.345

1'37.637

0.038 214.111
4 Japan K. Ohta Dandelion Racing 6 5

+0.414

1'37.706

0.069 213.960
5 Japan S. Tsuboi P.MU/CERUMO・INGING 38 5

+0.425

1'37.717

0.011 213.936
6 Japan R. Hirakawa ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 20 5

+0.564

1'37.856

0.139 213.632
7 New Zealand L. Lawson Team Mugen 15 5

+0.586

1'37.878

0.022 213.584
8 Japan K. Yamashita Kondo Racing 3 5

+0.643

1'37.935

0.057 213.459
9 Japan K. Kobayashi Team KCMG 7 5

+0.930

1'38.222

0.287 212.836
10 Japan N. Matsushita B-Max Racing Team 50 5

+1.548

1'38.840

0.618 211.505
11 Japan R. Sato TCS Nakajima Racing 65 2

+30.764

2'08.056

29.216 163.250
12 Japan N. Fukuzumi ThreeBond Racing 12 4

+31.544

2'08.836

0.780 162.262

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