Andrea Caldarelli on spot-entry takes his first Pole Position!! but with  a regrettable DNF from the race



Andrea Caldarelli who has been showing brilliant performances since the opening round of the season in SUPER GT (the GT500 class, Car No. 37 LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S) participated in the SUPER FORMULA Championship Rd. 3 with KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans, at Fuji Speedway over the weekend of July 12th and 13th.  His main role was to quickly fill in for Loic Duval, the regular driver of this team and who had to be absent from suffering an injury during the LeMans 24 Hours World Endurance Championship held in June.


From this season, SUPER FORMULA chassis was overall shifted to Dallara (Italy), which – for Andrea – was nothing but a challenge to face a machine that is completely unknown to him, as well as his first formula car race since November of last year.



14sf_3_5July 12 (SAT)  Official Qualifying


In the Practice session held the previous day (Friday, 14:40 – 15:40), this adaptive Italian driver already impressed everyone with his 3rd position time of 1’24.932, making his eight “blank” months away from a formula car hard to believe. With such a fine performance and his high caliber reminded, Andrea came onto Saturday as maintaining the momentum and clocked a 2nd position time (1’24.564) in Saturday morning’s free practice, driving the well-setup Team KYGNUS SUNOCO SF14 machine.


14sf_3_9Then at 14:45, under dry condition but with dark clouds seen up in the sky, the first heat of Official Qualifying (Q1) began on the knockout style. And though it was red-flagged after 5 minutes into the session, the determined Italian driver stayed focused regardless, and positioned in 4th (124.382) making the Q2 at quite an ease. Then from the Q2 (15:19 to 15:26) placing 6th (1’24.088), Caldarellli moved onto Q3. Among all strong attempts given by all top 8 machines in the Q3, here Andrea Caldrelli commanding machine No. 8 with excellent pursuits overwhelmed everybody else with also the fastest lap time marked, and brought him his maiden pole position in SUPER FORMULA! This fantastic result from Saturday, in spite of everything, was praised to be a great “Upset” achievement by Andrea!!


14sf_3_10Andrea Caldarelli:

 “We worked on various solutions for our setting since Friday in order to prepare for the Qualifying. Based on our results from Q1 to Q2, we matured our setting towards the Q3, and I could push well in Q3. It went perfectly! To stand in for Loic who is the current series leader in terms of points ranking, I’m glad I was able to start the weekend with fine results like this. Let me also thank TOYOTA san, KYGNUS SUNOCO Team LeMans for preparing such a fabulous package.”





14sf_3_6July 13 (SUN)   Race


On Sunday morning with the sun peeking from among the clouds, beginning at 8:30 and lasting till 9:18 (session ending with a Red Flag) Team KYGNUS SUNOCO SF14 (No. 8) Andrea Caldarelli was again delivering the top time (1’25.571), which indicated how he and the team are locked on to the approaching race!


Following the session, several fan-oriented events followed over the track and by the pit areas such as fan walkabout, which all lasted until the clock finally ticked 14:00, – the time to start the Race (of 55 laps). Though drops of rain began to fall around 13:00, rain was not heavy enough to wet the entire course. Hence, all 19 of the Super Formula machines started the race with slick tyres (Air temp. 22 degrees Celsius, Track temp. 25 deg. C)



14sf_3_7Andrea Caldarelli No. 8 in KYGNUS SUNOCO color took a start from pole position. However, in the opening lap was passed by two machines and ran in P3 during the early laps. During that time Top 6 machines possessed the upper-field with No. 19 leading and chased by No. 3, No. 8, No. 36, No. 38, and No. 37 which remained that way for another while until half way through the race. Thus, everyone assumed that the real battling may not begin until the Pit Stop (for refueling and tyre change). And just as expected, when the race came to midpoint, machines began to pit-in, one by one and finally Team KYGNUS SUNOCO SF14 also pit-stopped on lap 31. Nevertheless, with only a small margin created there, No. 8 was overtaken by No. 36 (PETRONAS TOM’S), and Andrea now had to fight the last phase of the race in P4.


As the race reached the point of just 10 laps to go, now large drops of rain started to fall! And soon after, Andrea Caldarelli could not help spinning off the course and in fact out of this race too, accept retiring after 44 laps.


14sf_3_8Andrea Caldarelli

“My start was not so bad actually, but JP (de Oliveira) and James (Rossiter) missed no chances to go in front. Even then, race pace was okay so I was hoping to reverse positions during the pit stop but instead lost one position. Kept my calm and stayed focused, just went sticking behind another machine for some while but there came the rain. Being on slick tyres and with aquaplaning caused, I lost machine control, spun, and had to stop right there on the spot… Regretful is the only word I can come up with to describe the feeling.”