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Okayama Super Formula: Kunimoto wins strategic battle, Vandoorne seventh

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Okayama Super Formula: Kunimoto wins strategic battle, Vandoorne seventh
By:
Sep 11, 2016, 7:28 AM

Championship leader Yuji Kunimoto won the second Super Formula race at Okayama, taking advantage of an early stop to steer clear of the rest of the field.

Race winner Yuji Kunimoto, Cerumo Inging
Podium: race winner Yuji Kunimoto, Cerumo Inging, second place Kazuki Nakajima, Team Tom's, third place Hiroaki Ishiura, Cerumo Inging
Yuji Kunimoto, Cerumo Inging
Stoffel Vandoorne, Dandelion Racing
Grid girl of Kazuki Nakajima, Team Tom's
Kamui Kobayashi, Team LeMans
Stoffel Vandoorne, Dandelion Racing

At the start of the race, Tomoki Nojiri led the field from pole position, with Hiroaki Ishiura and JP De Oliveira following behind in second and third places respectively.

Stoffel Vandoorne jumped to fourth position on the opening lap, dispatching James Rossiter and Kunimoto in quick succession.

Behind, Andre Lotterer and Daisuke Nakajima entered the pits, quick to get the mandatory stop out of the way.

Nearly half the field followed the duo, setting up a strategic battle between the two groups.

As laps wore on, the tide shifted towards the early stoppers, who appeared significantly quicker than the front-runners.

Indeed, when Oliveira pitted from third place, he dropped down behind Kunimoto, Kazuki Nakajima and Lotterer - all three drivers who had pitted in the opening laps of the race.

Vandoorne, too, lost positions due to being on the inferior strategy, slipping down to ninth place.

By the time all front-runners had made their pitstops, Kunimoto was running in the lead - and with early challenge from Nakajima fading, the Inging driver went on to secure a comfortable win.

Ishiura occupied the final stop on the podium despite a late stop on lap 30.

Behind, Lotterer eventually finished in fourth place, with Oliviera completing the top five.

Naoki Yamamoto was classified sixth ahead of the aforementioned Vandoorne, who recovered to finish seventh.

Further back, Takuya Izawa was the lead Real Racing driver in eighth, with Yuhi Sekiguchi and James Rossiter making up the top 10.

Narain Karthikyean spun on track midway through the race, which brought out the safety car for a brief period.

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Sugo Super Formula: Sekiguchi beats Nakajima to pole by 0.018s

Sugo Super Formula: Sekiguchi beats Nakajima to pole by 0.018s
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