Suzuka Super Formula: Nakajima takes pole, Gasly eighth

Ex-Formula 1 driver Kazuki Nakajima claimed pole position for the opening round of the Super Formula season at Suzuka, beating last year’s champion Yuji Kunimoto by under a tenth of a second.

Suzuka Super Formula: Nakajima takes pole, Gasly eighth
Kamui Kobayashi, KCMG
Kazuki Nakajima, Team Tom's
Andre Lotterer, Team Tom's
Daisuke Nakajima, Nakajima Racing
Pierre Gasly, Team Mugen
Kazuya Oshima, Team LeMans

In his first Super Formula qualifying session, Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly laid the initial benchmark in Q3 with a time of 1m36.930s, but dropped the down order as others improved on their final flyers.

Kunimoto, who will race in Toyota’s third car at Le Mans this year, was the first to dislodge Gasly from the top of the timesheets with a 1m35.997s, before Nakajima sealed pole with a 1m35.907s.

2013 Super Formula champion Naoki Yamamoto missed out on a front row spot by just 0.007s, while Hiroaki Ishiura was also just a further 0.014s behind in fourth place.

Real Racing’s Koudai Tsukakoshi was fifth place, but some way behind the top four.

Yuhi Sekiguchi was sixth fastest for Impul, while Andre Lotterer, who dominated the first Super Formula test at the same venue earlier this year, was only seventh.

Gasly will start his first race in the series alongside Lotterer on the fourth row of the grid, as he couldn't improve on his initial Q3 time.

Further back, Daisuke Nakajima was classified ninth, while Dandelion Racing returnee Takuya Izawa completed the top 10.

Felix Rosenqvist was the biggest casualty in Q1, the former European F3 champion resigned to 15th on the grid after crashing in the dying minutes of the session.

Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi also failed to make it out of Q1, after aborting his final flyer, and will line up 18th.

Jann Mardenborough and Nick Cassidy will start their first Super Formula races from 12th and 14th respectively after dropping out in Q2.

Qualifying times:

 Pos.Driver Team / Engine  Time  Delay 
 Kazuki Nakajima TOM'S-Toyota 1'35.907  
 Yuji Kunimoto Inging-Toyota 1'35.997 0.090
 Naoki Yamamoto Mugen-Honda 1'36.004 0.097
 Hiroaki Ishiura Inging-Toyota 1'36.018 0.111
 Koudai Tsukakoshi Real Racing-Honda 1'36.379 0.472
 Yuhi Sekiguchi Impul-Toyota 1'36.610 0.703
 Andre Lotterer TOM'S-Toyota 1'36.626 0.719
 Pierre Gasly Mugen-Honda 1'36.930 1.023
 Daisuke Nakajima Nakajima-Honda 1'36.801 0.894
10   Takuya Izawa Dandelion-Honda 1'36.815 0.908
11   Narain Karthikeyan Nakajima-Honda 1'36.888 0.981
12   Jann Mardenborough Impul-Toyota 1'36.955 1.048
13   Kazuya Oshima Team LeMans-Toyota 1'36.964 1.057
14   Nick Cassidy Kondo-Toyota 1'37.139 1.232
15   Felix Rosenqvist Team LeMans-Toyota 1'37.590 1.683
16   Tomoki Nojiri Dandelion-Honda 1'37.687 1.780
17   Kenta Yamashita Kondo-Toyota 1'37.714 1.807
18   Kamui Kobayashi KCMG-Toyota 1'38.075 2.168
19   Takashi Kogure B-MAX-Honda 1'38.306 2.399
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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Suzuka
Location Suzuka
Drivers Kazuki Nakajima
Author Rachit Thukral