May 28 2016 Round. 5 Okayama

Yamashita wins Rd 5 Okayama with an outstanding start F3-N: Katayama clinches his fourth win

Winner Kenta Yamashita (right), Sho Tsuboi (left)

■ Dominant Mardenborough secures pole positions for Rd 5 and Rd 6

The qualifyings for Rd 5 and Rd 6 races started at 10:15 am on Saturday May 28th at Okayama International Circuit with a cloudy sky but in dry conditions despite a spatter of rain, in contrast to the practice sessions in the hot and sunny weather on Friday.
For the qualifying for Rd 5 race all the cars went into track with fresh rubbers. Many of the drivers spent three laps for warming up before launching attacks. The best time from the practice sessions was quickly broken on their first laps as many drivers posted under 1m23 sec. with the benefit of significantly increased tyre grip due to the practice sessions of the Super Formula done just before the qualifying.
While Sho Tsuboi (in ZENT TOM’S F314) and Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F312) both further reduced times on their second laps to 1m 21 sec. level it was Yann Mardenborough that took a pole position following his first success in the qualifying for Rd 3 Fuji posting a course record of 1m21.171.
With each squad having prepared for the Rd 6 qualifying that would start after a 10-min interval with a focus on further improving grips Mardenborough put his B-MAX NDDP F3 again on the pole positon with yet another course record of 1m20.990, the only driver who posted under 1m21.
The front row for Rd 6 race was secured by the B-MAX Racing Team with NDDP as Katsumasa Chiyo (B-MAX NDDP F3) claimed second place as a result that a setup change worked well.
As he would review DRAGON successfully took advantage of his long experiences to top the times in the F3-N for Rd 5 race while home hope Yoshiaki Katayama (Petit LM Racing) was first in the qualifying for Rd 6 race.

■ Yamashita heads up a TEAM TOM’S 1-2 for his 3rd win with good start

Japanese Formula 3 Round 5

Following a support race and the qualifying for the Super Formula the Rd 5 race started at 15:45 pm still in dry conditions despite a cloudy sky with a chance of rain.
Yamashita made a stunning getaway from second on the grid while Mardenborough got a little late start, allowing a TEAM TOM’S easy 1-2 on the opening lap after Tsuboi jumped him down the inside line into turn two.
Behind a closely charging Mardenborough a fracas over fourth place would be fought between Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi (B-MAX NDDP F3) – who just returned to the series.
In the meanwhile the TODA RACING duo – having competed in a leading pack just after the start – suffered troubles one after another with Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) being forced to pit at the end of the opening lap after a contact due to a damage on the left hand side front, and Tadasuke Makino (TODA FIGHTEX) stalling at the exit of the Atwood.

Sho Tsuboi/ZENT TOM'S F314

In the middle stages attention was now focused on the battle for second place between Tsuboi and Mardenborough but it would come to an abrupt end when an orange disc was shown to third place Mardenborough on lap seven as his rear light came off and was being dragged by a wire, the Briton being forced to pit at the end of lap eight, ceding the place to Chiyo.
Without being distracted by incidents behind through the entire 18 laps Yamashita scored his third win of the season, enjoying 5.598 sec. margin ahead of Tsuboi. Chiyo battled it out with Takaboshi for his first podium finish of the season.
Hiroki Otsu (HFDP RACING F312) and Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F312) both claimed their first-ever podium finishes in F3 as the former placed fifth and the latter placed sixth.

■ F3-N: Katayama’s furious catch-ups bring him fourth win on home soil

Kizuku Hirota (No.9), Yoshiaki Katayama (No.78)

F3-N would see dramatic race developments from the very beginning. The pole-sitter DRAGON was forced to spin out of the track from a contact with Kizuku Hirota (Albirex F306TLM) at the first corner on the opening lap, promoting the latter to lead, Alex Yang (ALEX YANG Hanashima F3) to second and Katayama to third place.
Having snatched back the places that he’d lost at the start Katayama would play furious catch-ups thereafter, passing Yang on lap four and closing in on Hirota on lap five. After a close battle for a couple of laps the Petit Lemans Racing driver challenged the outside of Hirota into the hairpin on lap eight, and as soon as he grabbed the lead he began to open up a gap before completing the 18 laps unchallenged for his fourth win of the season.
“Okayama is my home track, so I was confident I could catch up and win the race,” said Katayama.
Although having taken the chequered flag in second place Hirota was handed an additional 40-second penalty according to the Article 15.1.2 of the Japanese Formula 3 Sporting regulations for the contact on the opening lap (forcing other driver to get off the track) to drop to third place behind Yang.
Once going back to track DRAGON produced a persistent drive to pick up fifth place behind Zene Okazaki (Glocal Albi TLM).

Result & Entry List PDF