Qualifying of the third round of the Super Formula Championship saw two-time champion Tomoki Nojiri take pole as well as the lead of the standings in Sportsland Sugo for round 3 of the season at Sportsland Sugo.

By Marco Albertini

Qualifying started at 2pm local time and saw Group A take to the track first. The drivers took to the track to do installation laps to warm tires up and in the final few minutes, once tires were up to temperature, drivers gave their all to try and get into the second round of qualifying.

Tomoki Nojiri topped the session, followed by Sho Tsuboi and Kakunoshin Ohta. Joining them in the second round of qualifying would be Toshiki Oyu, who advances to Q2 for the first time this season, alongside rookie Iori Kimura and Kenta Yamashita.

Hibiki Taira, Team Impul’s newest recruit, was three tenths off Yamashita in his first qualifying session in Super Formula, placing himself above experienced driver Nobuharu Matsushita in Q1A.

Just after Group A finished their laps, it was time for Group B to take to the track. Just like in the previous session, the representative lap times came in the final few minutes, with Mugen rookie Ayumu Iwasa setting the fastest time and beating Kazuya Oshima by one millisecond.

Sena Sakaguchi, Kazuto Kotaka, Yuji Kunimoto and Motegi winner Tadasuke Makino followed them through for the second round of qualifying.

The second round of qualifying would set pole and proved to be a thrilling session as Nojiri beat rookie teammate Iwasa to pole, with Sho Tsuboi qualifying as the highest Toyota-powered driver in third.

Docomo Dandelion’s Tadasuke Makino put himself in fourth position with Toshiki Oyu achieved his best qualifying result of the season with the fifth fastest lap.

With the top 3 from qualifying gaining points, Tomoki Nojiri becomes the new points leader, three points ahead of Makino. Sho Tsuboi also moves up to seventh in the standings, level on points with Sena Sakaguchi.

Header image credit: Super Formula


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