Autosport (UK)

Makino and Dandelion flower at last

- JAMIE KLEIN

SUPER FORMULA AUTOPOLIS (JPN) 19 MAY ROUND 2/7

Tadasuke Makino finally ended an agonising wait for his first Super Formula win in last weekend’s second round of the season at Autopolis.

Now in his sixth season in the Japanese series and with six previous podium finishes to his name, Dandelion Racing driver Makino earned victory at his 39th attempt in dominant style as the season resumed after a two-month interval since the opener at Suzuka in March. From second on the grid, Makino got the jump on poleman and fellow FIA F2 race winner Ayumu Iwasa at the start, and was able to open up a comfortabl­e lead as the Team Mugen car of Iwasa dropped to third and got held up by the slower Nakajima Racing machine of Naoki Yamamoto.

Iwasa was released into free air when Yamamoto pitted on lap 10 of 41, allowing the Red Bull junior to halve the six-second cushion created by Makino, but Iwasa was starting to lose ground by the time both came in for their stops together on lap 24. Makino crucially resumed just ahead of Yamamoto, before sprinting clear to one of the most emotional first-time victories in recent years.

Despite having fresher tyres, Iwasa spent a number of laps stuck behind not only Yamamoto but also the second Dandelion car of Kakunoshin Ohta, and any chance of a first win in his second Super Formula start was long gone by the time he cleared Yamamoto for second.

Sho Tsuboi made good progress with a late-stopping strategy to claim his first podium with TOM’S, the only Toyotapowe­red runner in a Honda-dominated top five. Tsuboi picked off Yamamoto just after Iwasa’s move, with Yamamoto and fellow early stopper Ohta next.

Suzuka winner Tomoki Nojiri finished a sub-par ninth and now shares the series lead with Makino. Ben Barnicoat was 13th in his first and possibly only SF start as Theo Pourchaire’s replacemen­t at Team Impul.

Relive this race at Motorsport.tv

 ?? ?? Makino finally broke Super Formula duck
Makino finally broke Super Formula duck

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