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Super Formula Race Preview: Autopolis

Written by Tarun Suresh, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credits - Yokohama

After almost two months since the first round, Super Formula returns to the calendar, this time in Oita prefecture’s Autopolis. 

The circuit spans a little over 4.5 km, encompassing 19 turns. While the top two finishers from last year aren’t racing in the series this year, the pole sitter and third place finisher Sho Tsuboi is on the grid this year, and will definitely be eyeing a solid finishing position this race, after finishing just outside the points in round one.

Without a doubt, all eyes will be on title favourite Tomoki Nojiri who had an impressive weekend last time around in Suzuka, qualifying third and then taking the race win. 

Image Credit - Autopolis Circuit Official website

The championship leader will definitely be looking to increase the lead to his closest contender Kenta Yamashita in second. Tomoki Nojiri is chasing his third Super Formula title this year, and a win in the second round of the season gives him an ideal start to his championship campaign. 

On the other end of the points table is reigning Formula 2 champion Theo Pourchaire, whose debut in Super Formula was far from desirable. Starting a lowly 16th and dropping down to 18th in the race, he had an abysmal start to his time in Super Formula. 

However, the reigning Formula 2 champion won’t be taking part in Super Formula this weekend, having signed a contract with Arrow McLaren Racing in the NTT IndyCar series. He departed the series, with 2023 IMSA GTD Pro champion Ben Barnicoat taking the seat vacated by Pourchaire. 

Someone else of interest is round one pole-sitter Sena Sakaguchi, who showed glimpses of speed in round one, but ultimately fell down from pole to seventh at the chequered flag. 

The first female driver, and the youngest Super Formula driver, Juju Noda will also be eyeing an improvement after a struggle in round one and the testing sessions, both plagued by rain. 

Suffice it to say, everyone up and down the grid will be looking for a solid weekend in round two, a little head start this early on is going to be vital, not just on the points table, but psychologically too. 


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