Gran Turismo champion Igor Fraga has taken his first podium finish in Super Formula Lights, at the first race of the second round of the season at Sportsland Sugo.
Just as he had done at the opening round at Autopolis, Fraga qualified his Spiess-powered Dallara 320 in second place for the first of the weekend’s three races with just a tenth of a second separating him from Tom’s driver Hibiki Taira.
At Autopolis though, the Brazilian racer experienced a clutch failure — first bogging down at the start, before retiring the car after a handful of laps. Although he was able to score points for a fourth-place finish in the second race, thanks to its independent qualifying session, the DNF meant an uphill battle and another non-scoring finish in the third and final race.
Sugo’s first race proved much more fruitful. Fraga had to fend off the attentions of Iori Kimura — who scored a clean sweep of victories at Autopolis — early in the race before a prolonged safety car period caused by a collision between Yuga Furutani and Fraga’s B-Max team-mate David Vidales, and the subsequent recovery of Furutani’s car.
After the restart, the championship leader Kimura was again on the attack but Fraga was able to cover him off at every turn. This though allowed polesitter Hibiki Taira to pull away at the front, claiming a lights-to-flag win and fastest lap too for a grand slam.
Fraga finished the 26-lap race 3.3 seconds behind in third, and just over half a second ahead of Kimura, to claim his first podium finish of the year.
The result means he’ll start Sunday’s race six from second, having also finished fourth in race five qualifying and in a good position to stake a claim for more. You’ll be able to catch both races live on the Super Formula Lights YouTube channel.
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