Maiden Super Formula win for Cassidy
SUPER FORMULA FUJI (J) JULY 8 ROUND 4/7
Nick Cassidy converted pole position at Fuji Speedway into his maiden Super Formula victory. As a result, he moved to just a single point behind championship leader Naoki Yamamoto.
Saturday was a test of adaptability. Rain fell hard on the second sector during Q1, then it migrated over to the final part of the lap for the Q3 shootout.
Kondo Racing-run New Zealander Cassidy first went out on slicks but after just one lap he returned for wets. It proved the right call and, in the dying seconds, he set the fastest time to seal only his second series pole.
For the race the circuit stayed dry throughout. That allowed Cassidy, opting to run the soft-compound tyres, to make a clean getaway. Directly behind, Hiroaki Ishiura followed suit from third on the grid with Yuhi Sekiguchi, another fast starter, up from sixth to third place.
From the start of the 55-lap race, Cassidy and Ishiura fought hard and close. Ishiura pitted five laps after Cassidy, but he struggled to leave the box: first gear momentarily failed to engage, and that dropped him well behind Cassidy. He crossed the line four seconds down.
Ishiura’s Cerumo-inging team-mate Yujo Kunimoto was spared a similar fate and the 2016 champion, who started eighth on the medium tyres, was flying in the final stages and climbed to third – his first podium since the opening round of ’17.
Toyota engines filled the top seven positions at the flag, while the highest ranked Honda was that of Team Mugen’s Yamamoto in eighth. That enabled him to remain narrowly ahead of Cassidy in the standings.
After qualifying last, Red Bull junior Dan Ticktum began to hold up Cassidy having exited from an early stop in front of the leading pair. But he progressed well from then on in his Mugen car to finish 11th.
Nick Cassidy led Hiroaki Ishiura home