A.Caldarelli despite having to retire from Race 1, but fights strongly to get a P5 finish from Race 2!


13sf7-CAL10Round 7, the season’s closing race of 2013 Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA was held on November 9th and 10th at Suzuka Circuit (in MiePrefecture). With KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans (No. 8), GRM driver Andrea Caldarelli participated in this round that was operated on a two-race system; also his second spot-entry since the opening round held earlier this season.



November 9th (SAT)  Official Qualifying


13sf7-CAL5This weekend the qualifying session was held on the knock-out method on the usual practice, but to decide the starting grid for Race 1 was according to the Q1 results, and the grid for Race 2 by results gained up to Q3, which was an irregular format.


Free Practice (9:25 – 10:25) was held in the morning under a stretch of light overcast seen in the skies, and the 19 entrants onward prepared for the qualifying session in the afternoon as making further tune-ups and adjustments. Andrea Caldarelli had not driven a SUPER FORMULA for seven months, and for him the weekend opened as trying to gain back the feel of it all. But even then, not giving any smallest impression of a long absence marked a 5th position (1’38.856) time result.


13sf7-CAL7From 14:00, the Official Qualifying session began. Andrea with KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans, No. 8 (TOYOTA RV8K), drove the first 20 minutes of official qualifying, the Q1, in position 14 with the best time of 1’38.969 and accordingly his grid position for Race 1 was confirmed.

Next, in the Q2 of 7 minutes duration Andrea settled to 12th position with the time of 1’38.566 and his challenge towards the Q3 did not turn out favorably. Due to this result from the Q2, Andrea Caldarelli settled to the 6th row on the starting grid for Race 2.


“Compared to the morning’s free practice, I could not get the right grip, improve the time,” commented Andrea to his chagrin on the rather disappointing result.



November 10 (SUN)  Race 1 & Race 2


13sf7-CAL1At 9:35AM on Sunday morning, the international racing course of Suzuka was found under rain shower; of 14 degrees Celsius air temperature, and the track also at 14 degrees. After 8 minutes of warm-up laps, Race 1 of 20 laps (approximately 116 km race distance) got off with a start. Andrea starting from the ‘In’ side of the 7th row on the grid kicked off well, and bravely he went into the 1st Corner in spite of tall pillars of water screen blocking the visibility. But then, a multiple crash arose and getting entangled in such stir-up, Andrea unfortunately could not help but retire “just like that” and had to leave the race.




13sf7-CAL2Andrea Caldarelli

“My race was finished already on the 1st Corner just after Start, – how unlucky. I had quite a good start, and passed two or three machines already in the beginning, but at the same time could not see anything ahead and suddenly there was a machine right in front! … I turned the steering right away but could not avoid colliding. I have confidence with ‘Wet’ races, – plus the machine was running well throughout the warm-up laps, so it was only too bad.”


Therefore, KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans No. 8 was stricken with damage from Race 1 but owing to the team’s mechanics and their swift actions to repair and treat the machine even within the short interval Andrea Caldarelli was able to show up on the starting grid of Race 2.


13sf7-CAL9At 14:30, though the course was somewhat drying up, from time to time there were also rain drops falling and in spite of such subtle and unsure weather conditions (Air temp. 14 degrees C / Track 16 degrees C), the 28 laps of Race 2 (approximately 163kms) got under way.


13sf7-CAL3KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans had chosen rain tyres for machine No. 8, but since the rain had stopped just after Start, a decision was quickly taken to go with dry tyres. Order was given to Andrea to pit in on the next lap already, and the team mechanic changed the tyres from rain to slick. Rejoining the field, but due to this pit stop Andrea was down to running in P18 at one time, but since similar strategies were taken by other teams as well, or as for those who already had on slick tyres but anyway having to switch tyres complying with the rules set for this Round, and due to these various cases, the overall race positions shuffled quite busily up and down, back and forth.


13sf7-CAL11Among all of such things, in the meantime Andrea Caldarelli chalked up steady laps at a fantastic pace – a kind of pace comparing favorably, even with the top runner, which was further proven as the brave Italian driver rose to P7 in the 12th lap which was in the middle segment of the race. And when the race came to the 19th lap, rain started to pour again causing some machines to course off. Avoiding them well, Andrea emerged to P6 (actually up to P5as there was 1 machine which had not changed tyres up to the final lap). Nonetheless, at the point of two laps to go No. 8 which had lost grip by then was passed by one car on the Degner Curve. Within that same lap however, a machine running second in the leaders pack had to retire, Andrea finished the race with a 5th place achievement.


13sf7-CAL8Andrea Caldarelli

“Race 2 turned out to be good. We changed the tyres already on the 1st lap so in the last half of the race, it was not so easy, and moreover with the rain it became very slippery. But up to that point, I could drive at a constant, high pace. I also want to thank the team mechanics for giving all their best to fix the machine in time. In this final round today, also the second place winning of KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans in the team ranking was confirmed, and I feel quite pleased to have been a part of this achievement. I appreciate all the support that was given too. Thank you very much!”




As for the Series Champion title for 2013 Japanese Championship SUPER FORMULA, Naoki Yamamoto of Team MUGEN (No. 16) captured the glory.