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).
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.