Hirakawa tops first Fuji session, Kobayashi crashes

Jamie Klein
motorsport.com

Despite clear weather, the cool track temperatures led to a disrupted start to the two-hour Tuesday morning session, with two red flags in the first 20 minutes.

The first of these was triggered by Super Formula newcomer Tatiana Calderon, who spun on her out lap at the Turn 10 complex as her Drago Corse machine suffered a throttle problem.

Moments after action resumed, Kobayashi lost control of his KCMG-run car exiting Turn 2, sustaining damage that would leave him unable to take part in the remainder of the session.

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Once the session got going in earnest, it was Nirei Fukuzumi that set the early pace on a 1m22.675s, which stood as the benchmark until his Dandelion Racing teammate Naoki Yamamoto posted a 1m22.335s just shy of the one-hour mark.

Impul driver Hirakawa briefly bested that with a 1m22.245s, but Yamamoto soon improved to a 1m21.480s, which went unchallenged until the final minutes of the session when a number of drivers attempted fast laps on new tyres.

Hirakawa snatched the top time with a 1m21.342s, leaving him only 0.054s ahead of Tadasuke Makino (Nakajima Racing), who vaulted up to second.

Yamamoto did not improve and ended up third, 0.138s off the pace, ahead of Mugen driver Tomoki Nojiri and Kondo Racing's Kenta Yamashita.

Fukuzumi slipped to sixth amid the late improvements, followed by Toyota runners Sacha Fenestraz (Kondo) and Kazuki Nakajima (TOM'S).

Reigning champion Nick Cassidy was 14th-fastest in the sister TOM'S car, 1.484s off the pace, while Red Bull junior Juri Vips ended up 17th for Mugen, a place behind last-minute B-Max/Motopark signing and series rookie Sergio Sette Camara.

Tatiana Calderon(THREEBOND DRAGO CORSE)

Tatiana Calderon(THREEBOND DRAGO CORSE) <span class="copyright">Tomohiro Yoshita</span>
Tatiana Calderon(THREEBOND DRAGO CORSE) Tomohiro Yoshita

Tomohiro Yoshita

After her early troubles, Calderon was able to get 29 laps under her belt, the quickest of which left her 19th-fastest and 3.8s off the pace.

Session results:

1

20

Japan
Japan

 Ryo Hirakawa

Impul/Toyota

1m21.342s

 

2

64

Japan
Japan

 Tadasuke Makino

Nakajima/Honda

1m21.396s

0.054s

3

5

Japan
Japan

 Naoki Yamamoto

Dandelion/Honda

1m21.480s

0.138s

4

16

Japan
Japan

 Tomoki Nojiri

Mugen/Honda

1m21.532s

0.190s

5

3

Japan
Japan

 Kenta Yamashita

Kondo/Toyota

1m21.605s

0.263s

6

6

Japan
Japan

 Nirei Fukuzumi

Dandelion/Honda

1m21.640s

0.298s

7

4

France
France

 Sacha Fenestraz

Kondo/Toyota

1m21.696s

0.354s

8

36

Japan
Japan

 Kazuki Nakajima

TOM'S/Toyota

1m22.024s

0.682s

9

19

Japan
Japan

 Yuhi Sekiguchi

Impul/Toyota

1m22.298s

0.956s

10

38

Japan
Japan

 Hiroaki Ishiura

Inging/Toyota

1m22.405s

1.063s

11

65

Japan
Japan

 Toshiki Oyu

Nakajima/Honda

1m22.488s

1.146s

12

39

Japan
Japan

 Sho Tsuboi

Inging/Toyota

1m22.504s

1.162s

13

18

Japan
Japan

 Yuji Kunimoto

KCMG/Toyota

1m22.798s

1.456s

14

1

New Zealand
New Zealand

 Nick Cassidy

TOM'S/Toyota

1m22.826s

1.484s

15

51

France
France

 Charles Milesi

B-Max/Honda

1m23.026s

1.684s

16

50

Brazil
Brazil

 Sergio Sette Camara

B-Max/Honda

1m23.268s

1.926s

17

15

Estonia
Estonia

 Juri Vips

Mugen/Honda

1m23.282s

1.940s

18

14

Japan
Japan

 Kazuya Oshima

Inging/Toyota

1m23.490s

2.148s

19

12

Colombia
Colombia

 Tatiana Calderon

Drago Corse/Honda

1m25.190s

3.848s

20

7

Japan
Japan

 Kamui Kobayashi

KCMG/Toyota

no time

 

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