NEWS
Monday, Jul 9 07:36pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Nick Cassidy on first win: “I’ve got a lot of confidence”

Nick Cassidy came into the fourth round of Japan’s SUPER FORMULA hoping to maintain second place in the points standings. He did exactly that.

 

However, a win at Fuji Speedway puts him within one point of championship leader Naoki Yamamoto.

 

The weekend started off strongly for Cassidy. His second career pole position in slippery conditions gave him an additional championship point. Despite driving in the dry on race day he was able to convert pole into his first win.

 

“I was quite surprised at how smooth everything went, I’m super over the moon,” Cassidy told velocitynews.co.nz after his maiden win.

 

“It’s a funny one because in this championship I don’t know what to expect sometimes.

 

“I had a really good test at Fuji and managed to improve the car a lot from last year, but the things we’d learnt at Fuji hadn’t necessarily translated to performance at SUGO. Yet they had at Autopolis, so it has been a bit of a mixed up year.

 

“Luckily the things we did find were good for last weekend.”

 

Cassidy’s first win in SUPER FORMULA comes off the back of a podium finish at the round prior at Sportsland SUGO. There he stormed through the field from 11th to second in what was then his strongest performance to date.

 

P1

 

Cassidy then confirmed his status as a title contender with pole position, race victory and the fastest lap at the 4.5km long Fuji Speedway.

 

It’s the first win for a New Zealander in top-flight Japanese single seater racing since that of Mike Thackwell in the 1986 Japanese Formula 2 Championship. Coincidentally, that win also came at the mountainside circuit.

 

With one win under his belt and four races remaining in the championship Cassidy said his mindset has shifted slightly. He feels he’s definitely earned the right to be a contender.

 

Watch SUPER FORMULA round four highlights below: 

 

 

“Last time I wasn’t really even thinking about the championship, and I guess it’s hard now not to think about it in this situation,” he said.

 

“But at the same time we’re in this positions because I’ve maximised the car and the opportunity I’ve been given at every rounds. So that’s my focus for the next rounds as well.

 

“I think Motegi and Okayama should be strong tracks for us. I didn’t expect Fuji to be as strong as I was. Two of the three rounds should suit us, but obviously a lot more eyes will be on [Naoki] Yamamoto and [Hiroaki] Ishiura.”

 

Cassidy and his KONDO Racing outfit have come a long way since last season. Cassidy’s first year in SUPER FORMULA showed promise with practice and qualifying pace throughout the season, however, starting procedures were never perfect.

 

Uploaded Image

 

The 23-year-old took his first pole position at Sportsland SUGO last year, but bogged down on the start and lost positions hand-over-fist.

 

Now he feels like the car is at the point where he can be quick off the line. Upgrades to their Toyota-powered Dallara SF14 have made getting away a lot easier.

 

“Another thing that gives me confidence is that our starts are getting better. Last year that was a real weak point for us.

 

“The team now understand the system and have given me better preparation, better hardware, better software, and that’s helped us with that.

 

“Hopefully we can keep making good starts because that’s pretty key to the races. Obviously at the same time I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself at this point in my career and that’s holding me in good stead.”

 

The 2018 SUPER FORMULA season moves to Twin Ring Motegi on August 18–19. Last year Cassidy finished fifth there in what was his second best finish of the season.

 

Currently Naoki Yamamoto leads the championship standings on 22 points followed closely by Cassidy on 21. Hiroaki Ishiura (13), Yuhi Sekiguchi (11) and Kazuki Nakajima (11) round out the top five.  

 

SUPER FORMULA round four, results: 

 

Pos Driver Gap
1 Nick Cassidy 55 laps
2 Hiroaki Ishiura +4.286
3 Yuji Kunimoto +32.746
4 Ryo Hirakawa +35.306
5 Kazuki Nakajima +43.512
6 Yuhi Sekiguchi +48.569
7 Kazuya Oshima +48.997
8 Naoki Yamamoto +53.814
9 Nobuharu Matsushita +57.440
10 Tom Dillmann +59.659
11 Daniel Ticktum +1:18.128
12 Kamui Kobayashi +1:25.665
13 Koudai Tsukakoshi +1:25.666
14 Tomoki Nojiri +1:26.353
15 Takuya Izawa +1 lap
16 Narain Karthikeyan +1 lap
17 Katsumasa Chiyo +1 lap
18 James Rossiter +2 lap
19 Kenta Yamashita +2 lap

LATEST NEWS