May 15 2016 Round. 4 Fuji

Sasaki nails down his back-to-back wins early on with strong pace
F3-N: Katayama outduels DRAGON for his 3rd victory of 2016

Plants: image 1 0f 4 thumb
Daiki Sasaki/B-MAX NDDP F3

■ Mardenborough grabs lead at the start but soon loses it

Japanese Formula 3 Round 4 Start

2016 Japanese Formula 3 championship went into its fourth race again in dry conditions in good weather on Sunday 15th May at Fuji Speedway. As well as the ding-dong race on the previous day the Rd 4 race would see tussles being fought throughout the field already in the early laps.
As the race started under clear sunshine at 10:55 a.m. Yann Mardenborough (in B-MAX NDDP F3) got a good start from second, and challenged the inside of Daiki Sasaki (B-MAX NDDP F3) at the first corner to grab the lead. However, he would soon lose it when he slightly got off the track at the Coca-Cola on lap two, allowing Sasaki to regain the lead and promoting Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F312) to second spot.
“I’ve always had a tendency of oversteer over the weekend. I lost a balance and went off the track” said the Briton.
On lap three Katsumasa Chiyo (B-MAX NDDP F3) passed the fourth place Sho Tsuboi (ZENT TOM’S F314). “My machine was really good today,” admitted the B-MAX driver.
Although the race became relatively calm on lap four the B-MAX Racing Team with NDDP and the TEAM TOM’S were still in tense situation with respective gap of just less than a second while behind them a pack of four consisting of the HFDP RACING and the TODA RACING were fighting fierce battles.

■ Unexpected outcome for a scrap between Mardenborough and Chiyo

Jann Mardenborough/B-MAX NDDP F3

Yamashita was working hard to try to prevent Sasaki’s lead – that had reached as much as a second on lap six - from extending any further. Behind the lead two Chiyo was piling pressure on Mardenborough with making overtaking attempts on almost every lap since lap 10 and finally passed his team-mate at the first corner on lap 14, but was immediately be overtaken at the Dunlop.
The B-MAX RACING TEAM battle would see an unexpected outcome when they collided while braking through the first corner on lap 15, with Chiyo going into a half-spin and even though managing to avoid a crash, being forced to pit due to a significantly damaged tyre.
“I got about half a car length ahead of Yann. I thought I had left enough space for him, but my tyres hit him and I was launched momentarily in to the air before landing sideways,” said Chiyo. “Collision between team-mates should not happen. I’ll be more careful.”

Daiki Sasaki/B-MAX NDDP F3

Mardenborough was also affected by this incident, allowing Tsuboi to move up to third place, with Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) in fifth place.
Without being bothered by battles unfolded behind, while maintaining an advantage over Yamashita to the end, Sasaki claimed the chequered flag, the great achievements indeed as he made it back-to-back wins in one of only two race events he ran in 2016 as a special appearance. Both sides of the podium were dominated by the TEAM TOM’S as Tsuboi finished in third place behind Yamashita.

■ F3-N: Toe-to-toe between Katayama and DRAGON

DRAGON/B-Max Racing F308

F3-N had also a number of battles fought as in the previous race. Zene Okazaki (Glocal Albi TLM) grabbed the initiative on the opening lap followed by DRAGON (B-Max Racing F308) and Yoshiaki Katayama, but would gradually descend through the order.
Now DRAGON would lead the field from lap two with Katayama closely behind until a toe-to-toe for top position began to intensify between DRAGON and Katayama on lap seven.
“I was looking for DRAGON’s shortcomings. My plan was to take the outside line of DRAGON into the TGR corner to complete overtaking at the Coca-Cola,” Katayama noted. In fact the Petit Lemans driver challenged DRAGON at the TGR from the outside again and again, but each time the B-MAX driver firmly defended it.
When aiming his Petit LM Racing down the inside into turn one on lap 19, however, Katayama finally overtook DRAGON. Counting on still enough life in his tyres Katayama broke away to score his third victory of the season and avenged his retirement in the previous round.
Despite under mounting pressure from Kizuku Hirota (Albirex F306TLM) into the final lap DRAGON managed to hold on to his second place.

Result & Entry List PDF