Suzuka Super Formula: Yamamoto takes season's first pole, Vandoorne fourth
Team Mugen’s Naoki Yamamoto took pole position for the season-opening round of Super Formula on Saturday, topping all three legs of qualifying at Suzuka.
Yamamoto lapped the circuit in 1m37.459s, beating Yuji Kunimoto’s P.MU entry by four tenths of a second.
Team Impul’s Yuhi Sekiguchi and McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne were separated by just ten thousandth of a second and will share the second row of the grid.
Vandoorne’s Dandelion teammate Tomoki Nojiri starts in fifth place, ahead of Takashi Kogure.
Further back, Koudai Tsukakoshi qualified in seventh place in the leading Real Racing machine, with Kamui Kobayashi eighth and slowest of the Q3 runners with a lap time of 1m38.367s.
2011 Super Formula champion Andre Lotterer failed to make it to the final session and will start ninth alongside former F1 test driver James Rossiter.
Earlier, reigning champion Hiroaki Ishiura was knocked out in Q1 as multiple lap times were deleted due to yellow flags. The session was briefly red-flagged after Team Impul’s Joao Paulo de Oliveira spun at Denger.
Former F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima later brought Q2 to a halt in similar fashion, dropping down to 14th, just behind India's Narain Karthikeyan, who benefited from Ishiura and Daisuke Nakajima's travail to make it to Q2.
|1||Naoki Yamamoto||Team Mugen||1m38.609s||1m38.187s||1m37.459s|
|3||Yuhi Sekiguchi||Team Impul||1m39.704s||1m38.576s||1m37.952s|
|6||Takashi Kogure||Drago Corse||1m38.888s||1m38.544s||1m38.179s|
|8||Kamui Kobayashi||Team Le Mans||1m39.063s||1m38.329s||1m38.842s|
|9||Andre Lotterer||Team TOM’S||1m39.257s||1m38.772s|
|10||James Rossiter||Kondo Racing||1m39.254s||1m38.859s|
|11||Takuya Izawa||Real Racing||1m39.399s||1m38.867s|
|12||Bertrand Baguette||Nakajima Racing||1m39.400s||1m38.887s|
|13||Narain Karthikeyan||Team Le Mans||1m39.895s||1m39.042s|
|14||Kazuki Nakajima||Team TOM’S||1m39.196s||1m51.992s|
|17||J.P.de Oliveira||Team Impul||1m40.493s|
|18||William Buller||Kondo Racing||1m40.795s|
|19||Daisuke Nakajima||Nakajima Racing||1m41.296s|
Yamamoto, Nakajima fastest in final Super Formula test
Suzuka Super Formula: Yamamoto dominates, Vandoorne takes debut podium