Miyata feels Sugo strategy should have yielded second

Ritomo Miyata believes he should have finished second in last weekend’s Sugo Super Formula race but was scuppered by a slow pitstop and the race reaching the time limit.

Ritomo Miyata, Kuo VANTELIN TEAM TOM’S

TOM’S man Miyata led the majority of Sunday’s fifth round of the season, having been the highest-placed driver of the seven that elected to stay out on track instead of taking the opportunity to pit under the safety car when the window opened on lap 10.

At first, this strategy looked set to pay dividends as Miyata was able to use the clear air ahead to pull away from Sacha Fenestraz, who was best-placed of those that stopped, by over a second a lap.

Read Also:

But Miyata couldn’t keep up the pace as his tyres wore out, with his lead over Fenestraz peaking at around 27 seconds – not enough to retain the lead after he finally made his stop on lap 46.

Far from rejoining just behind Fenestraz, a slow stop meant that Miyata in fact ran sixth after his trip through the pits, losing out to fellow late-stopper Tadasuke Makino, who pitted two laps earlier.

With the race timing out after 70 minutes, meaning only 49 laps were completed instead of the scheduled 53, there was little chance for Miyata to make up ground on fresh tyres and he ended up finishing sixth.

Reflecting on his race, Miyata said he felt staying out was the right move, having run fifth at the time of the safety car period that effectively split the field, arguing that second behind eventual winner Fenestraz was possible.

“I didn’t expect everyone in front of us to pit, so it was a big chance,” said Miyata. “We were fastest among the cars that stayed out and among those that pitted, so that was good from a strategy point of view.

“We lost time changing the right-rear, and it also took a long time to lay the tyre flat. Fortunately we didn’t get penalised for that, but without that I definitely would have been ahead of Makino.

“I thought I would have five or six laps to go [after my pitstop], so it was a surprise that I only had two laps [due to it being a timed race].

“That was a big part [of why it didn’t work out]. So was the time lost during the tyre change. I think without that I could have been second.”

Despite the disappointing end result, Miyata said he was encouraged by his race pace, as he pulled away from nearest pursuers Makino and Ryo Hirakawa after the safety car period ended.

“Up to now the issue has been the race pace,” he said. “I’ve always been able to qualify second, third, fourth.

“But this time we improved a lot, I had the best pace, so in that sense there’s a lot of positives to take this weekend and I want to make use of this to win next time.”


Nojiri feels ‘jinxed’ as losing streak from pole continues

Video: Super Formula simulates V8 engine sound in Sugo test