Super Formula: Vandoorne and Kunimoto winners at Okayama
Stoffel Vandoorne (Docomo Team Dandelion Racing) and Yuji Kunimoto (P.Mu Cerumo Inging) are the winners of two Japanese Super Formula race at Okayama International Circuit. For Vandoorne, it was maiden victory in the Japanese championship. With Sunday’s victory, Kunimoto extended his lead in the championship standings.
The Saturday’s race started with an unusual incident, when the pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima stopped in the wrong grid position after the formation lap. He was penalized and dropped to the back of the grid. That put Yuji Kunimoto and Stoffel Vandoorne to the front row. The Belgian driver had a better start and he took the lead. After 110 kilometers of racing he remained in the front of Kunimoto and scored his maiden Super Formula win. Narain Karthikeyan, who jumped from 6th starting position to third place, took his first podium.
In the Sunday’s 51-lap race, championship leader Yuji Kunimoto started fifth on the grid but he took advantage of an early pit stop and tyre change to take the win which secured him even bigger advantage ahead of championship rivals. Kazuki Nakajima, who started eleventh, had the same strategy as Kunimoto and he reached the second place, crossing the finish line 1.168 seconds behind the winner. Hiroaki Ishiura, who was in the group of drivers with late pit stops, managed to finish third.