Red Bull youngster Pierre Gasly strengthened his bid for the 2017 Super Formula title by finishing second at Sportsland SUGO on Sunday, moving to within half a point of the championship leader heading into the season finale.

After winning the GP2 title in 2016, Gasly was placed in Super Formula by Red Bull for this season, and is widely expected to step up to Formula 1 next year when Carlos Sainz Jr. moves from Toro Rosso to Renault.

Gasly has done his chances a world of good by enjoying a strong season in Super Formula, taking back-to-back wins at Motegi and Autopolis, and continued his impressive run of form by finishing second at Sugo.

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Starting third, Gasly made up a position at the start when pole-sitter Nick Cassidy dropped back before enjoying a race-long battle with Yuhi Sekiguchi, with the Frenchman attempting a longer opening stint before pitting to try and gain an advantage.

With fresher tyres, Gasly was able to close right up on Sekiguchi heading into the final stages of the race, only to fall two-tenths of a second short at the line and be left to settle for P2.

The result nevertheless saw Gasly reel in series leader Hiroaki Ishiura, with just 0.5 points separating the pair heading into the double-header round at Suzuka on October 22.

Formula E racer Felix Rosenqvist also remains in title contention after finishing fifth, leaving him five points off the lead, while Sekiguchi, Kazuki Nakajima and Andre Lotterer are mathematically in the running heading to Suzuka.