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Race report
Super Formula Autopolis

Super Formula Autopolis: Makino finally claims maiden series victory

Tadasuke Makino finally ended his Super Formula victory drought with a dominant drive in the second round of the season at Autopolis.

Dandelion Racing driver Makino leapt from second on the grid into an early lead, as poleman Ayumu Iwasa slipped to third place behind Naoki Yamamoto.

That allowed Makino to build a crucial buffer out front as Nakajima Racing’s three-time champion Yamamoto kept the faster Mugen machine of Iwasa bottled up.

Yamamoto was first of the leaders to pit at the minimum cut-off of lap 10 of 41, by which point Makino had pulled six seconds clear of Iwasa.

Once free of Yamamoto, Iwasa was able to close the gap down to as little as three seconds before starting to lose ground at around the halfway point of the race.

Both of the leaders elected to stop together on lap 24, and while Makino resumed just ahead of Yamamoto, Iwasa emerged from the pits in a net fourth, not only behind Yamamoto but also the second Dandelion car of Kakunoshin Ota, who also pitted on lap 10.

On fresh tyres, Makino was able to pull out a significant margin as Iwasa struggled to pass both Ota and Yamamoto.

By the time Iwasa finally cleared Yamamoto for second on lap 34, Makino was some 13 seconds in the clear and well on his way to a first victory at his 39th attempt.

Ben Barnicoat, VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Ben Barnicoat, VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

Coming home second, Red Bull junior Iwasa still claimed the first podium finish of his Super Formula career after a troubled start to the year at Suzuka.

Completing the top three was TOM’S driver Sho Tsuboi, who was another driver to make his stop late before making use of his fresh tyres to climb up the order.

Having caught up to Iwasa as the latter struggled to find a way by Yamamoto, Tsuboi was able to pass the fading Nakajima car in a matter of corners to grab third, although he didn’t have the pace to catch Iwasa once both were in free air.

Yamamoto had to be content with fourth, 25 seconds behind Makino at the finish, ahead of Ota and Sena Sakaguchi (Inging), who was another driver to pit early.

Tomoki Nojiri had looked on course to finish seventh immediately after his stop, but an off-track moment cost him two positions to Kenta Yamashita (Kondo Racing) and Nirei Fukuzumi (KCMG), leaving him ninth at the finish.

Nojiri and Makino jointly lead the championship on 23 points each, with Yamamoto and Iwasa both on 20.

Kamui Kobayashi took the final point for 10th in the second KCMG car.

Ben Barnicoat finished his debut Super Formula race 13th for Team Impul, ending up as the team’s top finisher as team-mate Yuji Kunimoto damaged his front wing in a late battle with the second of the TOM’S cars, driven by Ukyo Sasahara.

Super Formula Autopolis - Race results

   
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Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h Pits Points Retirement
1 Japan T. Makino Dandelion Racing 5 41

1:03'37.202

      20  
2 Japan A. Iwasa Team Mugen 15 41

+5.565

1:03'42.767

5.565     15  
3 Japan S. Tsuboi Vantelin Team TOM'S 36 41

+8.978

1:03'46.180

3.413     11  
4 Japan N. Yamamoto PONOS Nakajima Racing 64 41

+25.812

1:04'03.014

16.834     8  
5 Japan K. Ohta Dandelion Racing 6 41

+26.311

1:04'03.513

0.499     6  
6 Japan S. Sakaguchi Vertex Partners Cerumo - INGING 38 41

+28.385

1:04'05.587

2.074     5  
7 Japan K. Yamashita Kondo Racing 3 41

+29.385

1:04'06.587

1.000     4  
8 Japan N. Fukuzumi Team KCMG 8 41

+30.041

1:04'07.243

0.656     3  
9 Japan T. Nojiri Team Mugen 16 41

+30.286

1:04'07.488

0.245     2  
10 Japan K. Kobayashi Team KCMG 7 41

+31.419

1:04'08.621

1.133     1  
11 Japan K. Oshima docomo business ROOKIE 14 41

+34.196

1:04'11.398

2.777        
12 Japan U. Sasahara Vantelin Team TOM'S 37 41

+39.614

1:04'16.816

5.418        
13 United Kingdom B. Barnicoat ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 19 41

+41.783

1:04'18.985

2.169        
14
I. Kimura San-Ei Gen with B-Max
50 41

+43.305

1:04'20.507

1.522        
15 Japan T. Oyu Vertex Partners Cerumo - INGING 39 41

+43.907

1:04'21.109

0.602        
16 Japan N. Matsushita TGM Grand Prix 55 41

+1'09.922

1:04'47.124

26.015        
17 Japan A. Miyake ThreeBond Racing 12 41

+1'20.128

1:04'57.330

10.206        
18 Japan K. Kotaka Kondo Racing 4 41

+1'33.035

1:05'10.237

12.907        
19 Japan Y. Kunimoto ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 20 40

+1 Lap

1:03'12.509

1 Lap        
20 Japan J. Noda TGM Grand Prix 53 40

+1 Lap

1:04'29.089

1'16.580        
dnf Japan R. Sato PONOS Nakajima Racing 65 11

+30 Laps

17'25.678

29 Laps       Retirement

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