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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sekiguchi ends Nojiri’s pole streak in moist qualifying

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Impul man Sekiguchi claimed the highest spot with a 1m35.951s to offer the Toyota-powered contingent its first pole of the season, additionally ending a run of 4 poles for Nojiri and 5 for the Mugen Honda crew.

Owing to poor climate situations, the same old two-part knockout qualifying format was deserted in favour of a single 30-minute session to resolve the grid, with the observe staying moist all through.

The highest three qualifying occasions all got here early within the session earlier than a crash for Kamui Kobayashi (KCMG) on the Flip 15 left-hander after simply seven minutes introduced out the primary of three crimson flags.

Nearly 9 tenths behind Sekiguchi in second was Inging’s Sho Tsuboi on a 1m36.858s, whereas Nojiri’s greatest time of 1m37.240s nonetheless allowed him to prolonged his factors lead with a single bonus level for third.

With the rain intensifying within the 10-minute delay, enhancements have been few and much between – Sena Sakaguchi (Inging)’s effort of 1m37.278s to leap as much as fourth being a notable exception – till the second stoppage was triggered with simply over six minutes left as Ritomo Miyata (TOM’S) coasted to a halt on the outdoors of Flip 13.

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Motion resumed for one ultimate time after that, however with the observe situations even worse by that point, there have been no additional enhancements till the crimson flags got here out once more with round 90 seconds to go.

Tomoki Nojiri, TEAM MUGEN

Photograph by: Masahide Kamio

The session was not resumed thereafter, guaranteeing Sekiguchi and Impul its first pole since final yr’s Sugo spherical, and Tsuboi by far his greatest grid slot of a depressing season thus far.

Sekiguchi’s team-mate Ryo Hirakawa had certified sixth behind the Dandelion Racing machine of Hiroki Otsu, however misplaced his greatest lap owing to a observe limits infringement and can as an alternative begin eleventh. Nojiri’s bonus level means Hirakawa is now 18 factors behind within the drivers’ standings.

Tadasuke Makino had certified seventh however will now be a part of team-mate Otsu on the third row in sixth, whereas the opposite life like title contender, Sugo winner Sacha Fenestraz (Kondo Racing), was promoted to seventh however is now 25 factors down on Nojiri.

With Miyata dropping to the rear for inflicting the second crimson flag, Nirei Fukuzumi (Drago Corse), Suzuka winner Nobuharu Matsushita (B-Max Racing) and Toshiki Oyu (Nakajima Racing) full the highest 10.

Ukyo Sasahara (Mugen), who scored the primary pole of the season at Fuji again in April, certified down in sixteenth however was promoted to thirteenth after Hirakawa, Kenta Yamashita (Kondo) and Ren Sato (Group Goh) all misplaced their greatest laps, one place forward of the struggling Giuliano Alesi (TOM’S).

Sunday’s Fuji race is slated to get underway at 14:30 native time (GMT +9).

Tremendous Components Fuji – qualifying outcomes:

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