Super Formula Suzuka: Ticktum P8 as Cassidy wins from 12th on grid
|By Rachit Thukral||Sunday, April 21st 2019, 12:44 GMT|
Red Bull Formula 1 junior Dan Ticktum finished eighth in the opening round of 2019 Super Formula season at Suzuka, which was won by TOM'S driver Nick Cassidy.
Ticktum, driving for the Mugen squad, was one of the star performers in the opening laps of the race, as he quickly scythed his way into the top 10 from 16th on the grid.
But he lost a chunk of time during his pitstop under the race's first safety car period, which was deployed on lap nine of the 43-lap race after Impul driver Ryo Hirakawa and Real Racing's Tristan Charpentier crashed at 130R.
That crash changed the complexion of the race as Cassidy, who had started 12th and pitted a few laps prior to the safety car for the faster soft tyre, suddenly found himself as the effective leader.
Polesitter and early race leader Tadasuke Makino (Nakajima Racing) was left on the slower medium tyre after his own stop, but with his advantage wiped out, while his team-mate and fellow front row starter Alex Palou had to serve a drivethrough penalty for not following the correct start procedure shortly before the safety car and was already out of contention.
There were two more safety car periods in the next 10 laps - the first for separate offs for Kazuki Nakajima and Harrison Newey, and the other for Palou stopping with a lack of drive - before the racing resumed in full.
It was the yet-to-stop Kamui Kobayashi who led the field at this point, with Cassidy and Naoki Yamamoto quickly passing the other non-stoppers to move up to second and third on the road.
Kobayashi had started on the soft tyre and was aiming to extend his advantage enough to stay in front, but his hopes were dashed when a fourth safety car had to be deployed on lap 27.
This followed Makino suffering a spectacular right rear wheel failure on the exit of Spoon curve.
But Kobayashi's plan did not work out and he fell down the order at his stop, with Cassidy assuming the race lead and going on to take the chequered flag with an advantage of 1.749s over Yamamoto.
Yamamoto finished second after successfully holding off a late charge from Kondo's Kenta Yamashita.
After his initial time loss under the first safety car, Ticktum then dropped to the rear of the pack after coming in again for fresh tyres during the next race suspension.
He eventually grabbed a single point with eighth after losing out in a private battle with his fellow Red Bull junior Lucas Auer (B-Max by Motopark).