Lyons up for Nippon title

Richard Lyons got his bid to win this year's prestigious Formula Nippon championship off to the perfect start ahead of this weekend's title showdown in Suzuka when he topped the times during Friday's free testing session

Lyons up for Nippon title

The DoCoMo Dandelion ace outpaced his two main title rivals, Yuji Ide and Andre Lotterer, during the first day's running - and is under no illusions that the only way to guarantee the championship is to win this weekend's race.

"It was a positive first day of the weekend," said Lyons, whose best lap of one minute 46.141 seconds was less than two tenths faster than Ide, with Lotterer only six hundredths further adrift.

"We got our work done okay and it feels good to be quickest but there's a lot more to be done yet. We struggled to find a balance in the first session but we found the right direction on set up ahead of the second hour."

Lyons currently lies second overall in the title standings, just four points behind Lotterer and three ahead of Ide. To guarantee himself the championship he needs to win the race, although he can still win the title from second or third depending on where his rival finishes.

Fresh from his victory in the Japanese GT race at Autopolis last weekend, which has put him in contention for that title as well, Lyons has declared himself upbeat about his title chances.

"I am fairly confident going to the last race and the track has always been good to me," he said. "Everything is in place for the win and we just need a little bit of luck.

"The last race was also quite good in Nippon and if I win this race then that is the championship sorted. If I finish second then it depends on the other guys. We just have to wait and see."

Lyons is hoping to use his success in Japan this year as a springboard to landing a Formula 1 test later this winter - having been in contention for a drive with Jordan at this year's Japanese Grand Prix.

"The F1 teams don't seem to be able to make any firm decisions for the next two weeks and there is so much going on with Jaguar and Jordan it is difficult to know what opportunities will become available," he said.

"I am keeping a close eye on things. I feel we have done a pretty good job this year and we will look at an F1 test if things come together in the next two of three weeks. I feel I have put myself in as strong a position as I could and if I win both championships then I don't feel I could have done any more this year."

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