Asian Motorsport reviews the action from races two and three of the second round of the 2024 Super Formula Lights season at Sportsland Sugo.

By Marco Albertini

Nakamura takes convincing maiden SF Lights win as Nonaka struggles

A wet race two of the weekend was held at 9:00am local time.

Kaylen Frederick was on pole as the race was started behind the Safety Car due to the conditions. When it eventually started to pull off on the third lap, Makoto Fujiwara spun at the Horseback corner, causing the Safety Car to once again rejoin the track for a few more laps as Fujiwara was pushed out of the gravel.

As soon as the race got underway, Kaylen Frederick made a mistake at the third corner, allowing rookie Jin Nakamura to take the lead going into the hairpin. Another overtake for the lead was in the Masters Class, with “Dragon” (Ryuji Kumita) overtaking Nobuhiro Imada at the first corner and taking a solid lead.

As Nakamura set the fastest lap, a battle for third place was taking place between Honda Junior drivers Souta Arao and Syun Koide, with the former GB3 driver almost losing the car at the Horseback corner, allowing Koide to get alongside. However, due to the great amount of standing water in that section of the track, the B-Max driver was unable to pass the Toda Racing driver.

Just two laps later, Arao made the same mistake at the same corner, allowing Koide to get third place with just a handful of laps left.

On the final lap, Koide caught up to Frederick and attempted to overtake the American, but a mistake under braking by Frederick forced the B-Max driver into the gravel, allowing Arao to jump up to second place.

Up at the front, Jin Nakamura took his maiden win in Super Formula Lights, ahead of Souta Arao, who took his maiden podium, and Rikuto Kobayashi.

“Dragon” won in the Masters class ahead of Nobuhiro Imada and Yasuhiro Shimizu.

Race two results

  1. Jin Nakamura (TOM’S)
  2. Souta Arao (Toda) +12.107
  3. Rikuto Kobayashi (TOM’S) +13.328
  4. Rin Arakawa (B-Max) +14.735
  5. Kaylen Frederick (B-Max) +17.893
  6. Yuga Furutani (TOM’S) +18.377
  7. Seita Nonaka (TOM’S) +20.254
  8. Syun Koide (B-Max) +33.195
  9. “Dragon” (Team Dragon) +51.361
  10. Nobuhiro Imada (JMS Racing Team) +1:00.359
  11. Yasuhiro Shimizu (GNSY Racing) +1:29.824
  12. Makoto Fujiwara (Team Dragon) +2 laps

Nonaka wins race three as fog ends the race early

Race three of the weekend was held at 12:35 local time, also in wet conditions.

Contrary to race two, the third race would see a grid start, and saw Syun Koide start on pole alongside Jin Nakamura. The pair had a bad start, with the TOM’S driver almost stalling the engine as the lights went out, but it was championship leader Seita Nonaka who stole the show, going from fourth to first before reaching the second corner.

Further down the pack, “Dragon” overtook Nobuhiro Imada, and just like in race one, didn’t look back as the race progressed.

As the race drew on, Syun Koide was chasing down his championship rival, setting the fastest lap in the meantime, but the race was soon halted by worsening fog at the track. The Safety Car was called and the race would eventually end under caution, with Seita Nonaka winning ahead of Syun Koide and Jin Nakamura.

In the Masters class, “Dragon” took his second consecutive win ahead of Nobuhiro Imada and Makoto Fujiwara.

Race three results

  1. Seita Nonaka (TOM’S)
  2. Syun Koide (B-Max) +2.619
  3. Jin Nakamura (TOM’S) +3.939
  4. Rin Arakawa (B-Max) +5.474
  5. Rikuto Kobayashi (TOM’S) +6.680
  6. Yuga Furutani (TOM’S) +7.456
  7. Souta Arao (Toda Racing) +8.024
  8. Kaylen Frederick (B-Max) +8.368
  9. “Dragon” (Team Dragon) +17.261
  10. Nobuhiro Imada (JMS Racing Team) +17.936
  11. Makoto Fujiwara (Team Dragon) +18.731
  12. Yasuhiro Shimizu (GNSY Racing) +19.372

Super Formula Lights overall drivers’ championship

  1. Seita Nonaka (TOM’S) – 38
  2. Syun Koide (B-Max Racing Team) – 31
  3. Jin Nakamura (TOM’S) – 30
  4. Rikuto Kobayashi (TOM’S) – 20
  5. Rin Arakawa (Team Dragon) – 19
  6. Kaylen Frederick (B-Max Racing Team) – 16
  7. Yuga Furutani (TOM’S) – 10
  8. Souta Arao (TODA Racing) – 8
  9. Nobuhiro Imada (JMS Racing Team) – 0
  10. Dragon (Team Dragon) – 0
  11. Yasuhiro Shimizu (GNSY Racing) – 0
  12. Makoto Fujiwara (Team Dragon) – 0

Super Formula Lights masters’ championship

  1. Nobuhiro Imada (JMS Racing Team) – 58
  2. Dragon (Team Dragon) – 48
  3. Yasuhiro Shimizu (GNSY Racing) – 21
  4. Makoto Fujiwara (Team Dragon) – 13

Super Formula Lights teams’ championship

  1. TOM’S – 54
  2. B-Max Racing Team – 40
  3. Team Dragon (B-Max)– 8
  4. Toda Racing – 8
  5. JMS Racing Team (B-Max) – 0
  6. GNSY Racing (B-Max) – 0

Header image credit: Seita Nonaka

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