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Qualifying report

Motegi Super Formula: Nojiri on pole, Lawson takes points lead

Reigning Super Formula champion Tomoki Nojiri took pole position for this weekend's Motegi round, as Liam Lawson tied Ritomo Miyata for the lead of the championship by qualifying third.

Tomoki Nojiri, TEAM MUGEN

After topping practice on Saturday morning, Nojiri went second-fastest in his group in the first segment before setting the fastest time of 1m31.955s in the Q2 pole shootout.

That was enough for the Team Mugen driver to outpace his nearest rival Kakunoshin Ota for Dandelion Racing by 0.223s to claim his third pole of the season and the 16th of his career.

Nojiri's team-mate Lawson meanwhile qualified third, 0.282s off the pace, scoring a crucial bonus point in the process.

With TOM'S driver Miyata only qualifying down in eighth, it means Lawson moves into the championship lead on countback, with three wins so far in 2023 versus two for Miyata.

Toshiki Oyu topped his Q1 group on his return from injury for TGM Grand Prix but could only manage fourth in Q2, one thousandth of a second behind Lawson.

Yuhi Sekiguchi scored his best grid slot of the year in fifth for Team Impul ahead of Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) and two-time Motegi winner Ryo Hirakawa in the second Impul car. 

Behind Miyata, Tadasuke Makino could only manage ninth despite having topped his Q1 group in the second Dandelion machine.

Completing the Q2 order were Naoki Yamamoto (Nakajima Racing) and Inging pair Sho Tsuboi and Sena Sakaguchi, who ended up with identical laptimes.

Among the more notable names to drop out in Q1 was Kenta Yamashita, who was only eighth-fastest in his qualifying group and will start down in 16th for Kondo Racing.

Ukyo Sasahara likewise couldn't clear his Q1 group in his second outing for TOM'S and will start 18th.

Motegi Super Formula - Q2 results:

     
Driver Info
 
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval km/h
1 Japan T. Nojiri Tomoki Nojiri Team Mugen 1 3 1'31.955 187.957
2 Japan K. Ohta Kakunoshin Ohta Dandelion Racing 6 3 +0.223 0.223 187.502
3 New Zealand L. Lawson Liam Lawson Team Mugen 15 3 +0.282 0.059 187.382
4 Japan T. Oyu Toshiki Oyu TGM Grand Prix 53 3 +0.283 0.001 187.380
5 Japan Y. Sekiguchi Yuhi Sekiguchi ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 19 3 +0.338 0.055 187.268
6 Japan K. Kobayashi Kamui Kobayashi Team KCMG 7 3 +0.415 0.077 187.112
7 Japan R. Hirakawa Ryo Hirakawa ITOCHU ENEX TEAM IMPUL 20 4 +0.430 0.015 187.082
8 Japan R. Miyata Ritomo Miyata Vantelin Team TOM'S 37 3 +0.436 0.006 187.070
9 Japan T. Makino Tadasuke Makino Dandelion Racing 5 3 +0.513 0.077 186.914
10 Japan N. Yamamoto Naoki Yamamoto TCS Nakajima Racing 64 3 +0.532 0.019 186.875
11 Japan S. Tsuboi Sho Tsuboi JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 38 3 +0.806 0.274 186.323
12 Japan S. Sakaguchi Sena Sakaguchi JMS P.mu/cerumo-INGING 39 3 +0.806 0.000 186.323

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