A successful weekend at Sportsland Sugo has seen Gran Turismo champion Igor Fraga claim his first win in the Super Formula Lights series.
Fraga went into Sunday’s races buoyed by a first podium in the weekend’s first race, driving from second on the grid to second place at the flag behind polesitter Hibaki Taira. That would mean he’d start the third race also in second.
However there was still the matter of race two to get through, with Fraga lining up in fourth behind Taira and championship leader Iori Kimura.
Fraga though bogged down at the start and was jumped by Enzo Trulli — son of Monaco Grand Prix-winner Jarno — and David Vidales. Thankfully there was no repeat of the clutch issues suffered at the first round at Autopolis, and Fraga was able to maintain his position and pick up a point for coming home in sixth.
The third race seemed to be something of a repeat of the first, as Taira looked to be on course for another lights-to-flag victory to claim a clean-sweep of the Sugo weekend.
With Taira pulling away at the front, Fraga was having to drive in his mirrors somewhat, defending from Trulli and Seita Nonaka as the trio ran line-astern.
Further back, Kimura suffered a blow as he made a false-start — momentarily inching forward in his grid slot — and had to serve a drive-through penalty.
The order at the front seemed to be relatively settled until four laps from home when the Fraga/Trulli/Nonaka train began to close the gap on Taira. It soon became apparent that Taira’s car had an issue — seemingly stuck in gear, though — with Fraga sweeping past at the Backstretch kink to take the lead.
Trulli and Nonaka also passed their sibling Tom’s car, only for Nonaka to spin while attacking the Italian into the first turn. That gave Fraga a comfortable buffer which he managed until the end to win by 1.2 seconds.
The result puts Fraga into fourth in the championship standings, behind Kimura, Taira, and the consistent Syun Koide who is the only driver to have scored points in all six races so far. Super Formula Lights will head to Suzuka for the next round of the championship, on July 1/2.