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Fuji Super Formula: Palou leads Newey in practice

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Fuji Super Formula: Palou leads Newey in practice
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Nakajima Racing’s Alex Palou topped the timesheets in first practice for Super Formula’s Fuji round, leading fellow ex-European F3 driver Harrison Newey.

It was TOM’S driver Kazuki Nakajima who monopolised the top spot for much of the one-hour session, leading with an early benchmark of 1m23.893s.

He improved marginally to a 1m23.866s after bolting on a set of soft tyres - and that time remained unbeaten until a flurry of late laps in the final 15 minutes of the session.

Reigning Japanese F3 champion Sho Tsuboi was the first driver to depose Nakajima from the top with a time of 1m23.687s.

But with five minutes to go, Palou managed to go even quicker, lapping the ex-Formula 1 venue in 1m23.287s.

That time would ultimately never be toppled, although B-Max by Motopark driver Newey ended up within three tenths to end up second.

Nakajima made a late improvement of his own to finish third ahead of Kondo Racing’s in-form man Kenta Yamashita and the aforementioned Tsuboi, who slipped to fifth in the final order.

Red Bull junior Lucas Auer, who secured his maiden Super Formula at Sugo last month, was classified sixth, half a second down on pacesetter Palou.

Auer was set to go even quicker after setting a personal best in sector one, before aborting the lap and heading straight into the pits to end his session.

Team LeMans’ Kazuya Oshima, fresh off a Super GT win at Buriram, was next up in seventh, with Ryo Hirakawa eighth for Impul.

Tadasuke Makino finished ninth in the second of the Nakajima Racing cars, while Kondo’s Yuji Kunimoto completed the top 10.

Championship front-runners Nick Cassidy and Naoki Yamamoto languished in 13th and 14th respectively, the two separated by just 0.001s.

Red Bull junior Patricio O’Ward completed 27 laps on his Super Formula debut, his best effort of 1m25.535s placing him 20th in the timesheets.

O'Ward trailed Mugen teammate Tomoki Nojiri - who was 15th - by seven tenths.

Practice results:

Cla Driver Team Time Gap
1 Spain Alex Palou
TCS Nakajima Racing 1'23.287
2 United Kingdom Harrison Newey
B-MAX with Motopark 1'23.569 0.282
3 Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Vantelin Team TOM'S 1'23.611 0.324
4 Japan Kenta Yamashita
Kondo Racing 1'23.678 0.391
5 Japan Sho Tsuboi
JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 1'23.687 0.400
6 Austria Lucas Auer
B-MAX with Motopark 1'23.766 0.479
7 Japan Kazuya Oshima
UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 1'23.892 0.605
8 Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Team Impul 1'23.966 0.679
9 Japan Tadasuke Makino
TCS Nakajima Racing 1'24.237 0.950
10 Japan Yuji Kunimoto
Kondo Racing 1'24.392 1.105
11 Japan Nirei Fukuzumi
DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 1'24.514 1.227
12 Russian Federation Artem Markelov
UOMO Sunoco Team LeMans 1'24.710 1.423
13 New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Vantelin Team TOM'S 1'24.841 1.554
14 Japan Naoki Yamamoto
DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing 1'24.842 1.555
15 Japan Tomoki Nojiri
Team Mugen 1'24.869 1.582
16 Japan Kamui Kobayashi
carrozzeria Team KCMG 1'24.890 1.603
17 Japan Koudai Tsukakoshi
Real Racing 1'24.942 1.655
18 Japan Hiroaki Ishiura
JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 1'25.195 1.908
19 Japan Yuhi Sekiguchi
Team Impul 1'25.357 2.070
20 Mexico Patricio O'Ward
Team Mugen 1'25.535 2.248
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About this article

Series Super Formula
Event Fuji
Author Rachit Thukral