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Fuji Super Formula: Ishiura wins from Rosenqvist

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Fuji Super Formula: Ishiura wins from Rosenqvist
By:
Jul 9, 2017, 6:46 AM

Hiroaki Ishiura took the Super Formula championship points lead by winning the fourth race of the season in Fuji, after his teammate Yuji Kunimoto suffered a car failure.

Yuhi Sekiguchi, Team Impul
Andre Lotterer, Team Tom's
Kazuya Oshima, Team LeMans
Yuhi Sekiguchi, Team Impul
Hiroaki Ishiura, Cerumo Inging
Hiroaki Ishiura, Cerumo Inging
Yuji Kunimoto, Cerumo Inging
Hiroaki Ishiura, Cerumo Inging

Inging duo Kunimoto and Ishiura started the race from first and second and, while the former held the lead, the latter was immediately passed by Yuhi Sekiguchi and Kazuki Nakajima.

However, Sekiguchi and Nakajima pitted early in the race and, after Kunimoto was ruled out of contention, Ishiura inherited a big gap once he changed tyres at the end of the pit window, going on to comfortably win the race.

Tyre changes were not mandatory in the Fuji event, but the field still had to pit for fuel.

After the start, reigning champion Kunimoto was consistently pulling away from Sekiguchi, Nakajima and Ishiura as he reached a seven-second advantage by Lap 11.

Team TOM'S driver Andre Lotterer, who gained five positions with a slightly lighter car at the start, was the first to pit from seventh place.

Sekiguchi and Nakajima soon followed suit from second and third, but the duo could only rejoin narrowly ahead of Lotterer.

With the Inging drivers staying out, the trio spent the majority of the race leading the pack of drivers that already pitted, but they were soon caught up by Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly.

The Frenchman was sixth, ahead of Lotterer, after the start, but was one of few to change tyres during his stop, and only rejoined six seconds behind the TOM'S driver.

However, he rapidly closed in on Lotterer, who continued to shadow Sekiguchi and Nakajima.

The German eventually made a move on Nakajima, and also forced his way past Sekiguchi a few laps later, outmanouevering the Impul driver on the exit to the main straight.

Gasly also passed Nakajima at the same time at Turn 1, only to get stuck behind Sekiguchi.

At the front, Inging drivers Kunimoto and Ishiura continued to hold first and second, with the latter gradually closing the gap.

Kunimoto's advantage was less than five seconds when he pitted on Lap 31, and he comfortably rejoined in the provisional lead despite taking the time to change tyres.

However, he was forced to pit in the next lap as well, with mechanics working on the front right brakes. He re-entered the track only to change for new tyres soon afterwards, and retired a few laps later.

Kunimoto's misfortune promoted Ishiura into the lead, as he held a 10-second gap over Felix Rosenqvist, who was the next-best driver using the late-stop strategy.

The Swede benefited from Naoki Yamamoto and Kenta Yamashita both suffering right-rear punctures at around halfway through the race.

As such, Rosenqvist secured his first Super Formula podium in his fourth race in the category, finishing 7.2s behind Ishiura, with Lotterer completing a strong recovery race from 12th on the grid to take third.

Gasly spent the latter stages of the race putting immense pressure on Sekiguchi, going alongside him at Turn 1 several times, but always being forced on the outside line.

Sekiguchi eventually kept Gasly at bay for fourth, but the Frenchman still collected his strongest Super Formula finish yet in fifth.

Takuya Izawa also passed Nakajima for sixth, as the Toyota WEC driver had to settle for seventh.

The top 10 was completed by Impul's Jann Mardenborough and the Honda cars of Koudai Tsukakoshi and Tomoki Nojiri.

KCMG's Kamui Kobayashi, the last driver to pit, stalled his engine during his stop, losing crucial time and only finishing 15th, last.

Apart from Kunimoto, Yamashita and Yamamoto, Nick Cassidy also retired on the opening lap as his car got stranded with a broken front wing.

Race results:

Pos. Driver  Team/Engine  Time/Gap
 Hiroaki Ishiura Inging/Toyota 1:20'09.046
 Felix Rosenqvist LeMans/Toyota 7.269
 Andre Lotterer TOM'S/Toyota 22.842
 Yuhi Sekiguchi Impul/Toyota 41.786
 Pierre Gasly Mugen/Honda 41.821
 Takuya Izawa Dandelion/Honda 43.384
 Kazuki Nakajima TOM'S/Toyota 44.067
 Jann Mardenborough Impul/Toyota 44.361
 Koudai Tsukakoshi Real Racing/Honda 44.910
10   Tomoki Nojiri Dandelion/Honda 46.192
11   Daisuke Nakajima Nakajima/Honda 1'03.847
12   Kazuya Oshima LeMans/Toyota 1'04.549
13   Takashi Kogure B-Max/Honda 1'06.517
14   Narain Karthikeyan Nakajima/Honda 1'14.505
15   Kamui Kobayashi KCMG/Toyota 1'21.174
Ret  Kenta Yamashita Kondo/Toyota
Ret  Yuji Kunimoto Inging/Toyota
Ret  Naoki Yamamoto Mugen/Honda
Ret  Nick Cassidy Kondo/Toyota
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Fuji Super Formula: Kunimoto scores maiden pole

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Rosenqvist eyes maiden Super Formula win after Fuji podium

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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Fuji
Location Fuji International Speedway
Drivers Hiroaki Ishiura
Teams Inging Motorsport
Author David Gruz