Round 8

Tadasuke Makino podiums in 3rd place

jp Mobility Resort Motegi

The 6th event of the 2022 Super Formula series (R-7 & R-8) was held at Mobility Resort Motegi (Tochigi Pref.) on August 20 (Sat) and 21 (Sun).

Tadasuke Makino podiums in 3rd place

As same as the opening event of this season at Fuji, this event at Motegi presented on the 2-race in 1-event format, in which the qualifying session and the race took place each on Saturday (R-7) and Sunday (R-8).

The rain had stopped by midnight, and next morning on Sunday, the track was almost dried up. The qualifying session for R-8 started at 9:15 a.m. saw Toshiki Oyu (#65 TCS NAKAJIMA RACING) achieved his first ever pole position, followed by Tomoki Nojiri (#16 TEAM MUGEN) in 3rd and Tadasuke Makino (#5 DOCOMO TEAM DANDELION RACING) in 4th. Naoki Yamamoto (#64 TCS NAKAJIMA RACING), the hole-shot winner in the previous race, settled at 8th on the starting grid.

The green signal was given at 2:30 p.m.. While Oyu maintained the top slot, Sacha Fenestraz (#4 KONDO RACING) got off to a late start from the 2nd grid. Nojiri from the 3rd run alongside Fenestraz’s car at the straight-end, then cooked it up exiting from the Turn-1 to climb up to 2nd. Makino starting from 5th grid had now dropped down to 7th, and that made him chose an earlier stop, coming in for new tires on 11th lap.

Nojiri, running 2nd, stopped on 15th lap, and so did front-running Oyu on the next. Unfortunately, their late stop strategy turned out to be a wrong decision, because that enabled Yuhi Sekiguchi (#19 carenex TEAM IMPUL) and Makino, both of whom stopped earlier, automatically come up in front of Nojiri and Oyu who receded virtual 3rd and 4th places respectively.

Ryo Hirakawa (#20 carenex TEAM IMPUL), on the other hand, made very late stop, as tardy as on 30th lap, quickly gained his pace with a fresh set of tires. He pounced on Nojiri at the 90° corner on 32th lap, and two laps later, did same on Makino to finally seize the runner-up position next to his team mate, namely Sekiguchi, the eventual winner of the R-8.

Makino had to settle for 3rd, albeit a podium finish, Nojiri 4th, Oyu 5th, Ren Sato (#53 TEAM GOH) 7th, and Ukyo Sasahara (#15 TEAM MUGEN) 8th, all of whom came in point-scoring placings. As the result, Nojiri, the point leader in force, culminating his total point to 113, a considerable edge against either Fenestraz standing 2nd with 81-points or Hirakawa 3rd with 79. The denouement of their long-fought battle is to be witnessed at Suzuka circuit on October 29 (Sat) - 30 (Sun) where and when the final event of the series (R-9 & 10) will take place.

Tadasuke Makino
Tadasuke Makino 5
I started from the 5th grid and got a podium finish. It’s not bad, but I still wanna win. I was thinkin’ at one stage in the race, “Early stop might have been a wrong choice.” But it turned out to be a good one. I know it’s a typical coulda-shoulda-woulda story, but if there’s less traffic at that time (after changing tires) I could have gained much more (time), and I wasn’t caught by Hirakawa, hopefully. Anyway, I did what I could do, and actually I was closing up on Sekiguchi in the last laps. The thing is, you’ll lose a lot of downforce when you’re tailing a car in front, and it’s very hard to overtake. We still have two races to go. If I could do better in qualifying, my race would become much more comfortable to carry on, so I’ll do my best to achieve good results.

Tomoki Nojiri
Tomoki Nojiri 1
I haven’t been able to win these two races, and it hurts, of course. In a way, I was calculating the balance between the risk of pushing hard and the loss of prospective points. I’ll prepare for Suzuka the best possible way in order to complete the season in a good way, free of regret in other words.

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