Gasly takes maiden SF victory at Motegi
20 August 2017 – Red Bull-backed Pierre Gasly captured his maiden Super Formula win at Motegi on Sunday.
Gasly qualified in fourth position, with the latter stages of the session postponed from Saturday after heavy rain struck the circuit following Q1.
In dry conditions, the Frenchman maintained his position off the line and ran longer at his first stint than Kenta Yamashita and Tomoki Nojiri, having opted to start on the Medium tyres.
Gasly jumped both of his rivals, but still trailed the dominant Kamui Kobayashi, who came in a few laps later to switch from Softs to Mediums.
However, the former Sauber Formula 1 driver lost a huge amount of time due to a slow pit-stop, and Gasly therefore moved into the lead, which he extended on the Soft rubber.
From there, Gasly controlled the closing laps to rack up his maiden victory in the championship, 18.5s clear of Kobayashi, and the first for a Honda-powered driver in 2017.
Kobayashi nonetheless scored his first podium since 2015 after fending off the advances of Felix Rosenqvist.
With victory, Gasly moves up to fourth position in the standings, 10.5 points behind title leader Hiroaki Ishiura.