Maiden Super For­mula win for Cas­sidy



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

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