May 29 2016 Round.6 Okayama

Mardenborough claims his maiden F3 victory with a superb drive in a race that sees rookies dominate the podium

Jann Mardenborough/B-MAX NDDP F3

Jann Mardenborough claims his maiden F3 victory in his B-MAX NDDP F3 with lights-to-flag in a rain-swept Rd 6 race at Okayama International Circuit on May 29th.

● Mardenborough in control of wet race

Japanese Formula 3 Round 6

Having seen close battles fought since the Friday’s qualifying sessions the 2016 Japanese Formula 3 Championship came on in the Rd 6 race in complete wet conditions for the first time since the second official test at Okayama. The rain that started before noon intensified during the pit-walk at lunch hour and the track surface had become completely wet by the time all the cars went out on to the grid for warming up with wet tyres at 12:35 p.m.
At the start Katsumasa Chiyo put his B-MAX NDDP F3 abreast of Mardenborough from the other front row spot and took the initiative at first bend. The pole-sitter, however, would soon come side-by-side down the hairpin and snatched back the lead as Chiyo outbraked himself and went out of the track. “I was confident as I’m good at slippery conditions,” said the Briton.
Among a melee unfolding behind the lead came Tadasuke Makino (in TODA FIGHTEX) in to a second place, having started fifth on the grid, – who had posted a best time in previous tests of this season in wet conditions –, the Toda moving up to third toward the Atwood and breezing past Chiyo while the B-Max was off the track. “I did not really get a good start, but I took an ideal line,” admitted Makino.
The opening lap was completed with Mardenborough in front, followed by Makino and Sho Tsuboi (ZENT TOM’S F314).
The Rd 5 race winner Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F312) was struggling with a lack of speed in fourth place, allowing Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) to pass him at the hairpin on lap three, and then Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F312) to complete an overtaking move down the Viper on the same lap.
Ishikawa then quickly closed in on the tail of third place Tsuboi, but would suffer a spin and go off the track at the hairpin on lap nine, ceding the fourth position to Sakaguchi. The Toda would have another spin in trying to challenge Sakaguchi out of the Atwood on lap 19.

Tadasuke Makino/TODA FIGHTEX

Never troubled by the spin-packed slippery conditions with the advantage of the top spot Mardenborough came into his own as if to try to avenge his defeat in the previous race, to start gradually extending a lead to Makino, while posting fastest laps, covering the entire 25 laps to claim his first long-sought F3 win with a superb drive.
“The team prepared an incredible car for me, and all I needed to do was enjoy racing!”
The Rd 6 race saw Japanese F3 rookies dominate the podium with Makino in second and Tsuboi in third. Sakaguchi picked up fourth place, his personal best result, ahead of Ishikawa, with Yamashita managing to escape from Hiroki Otsu (HFDP RACING F312) for sixth place.

● F3-N: Katayama notches up his fifth win with another successful comeback

Zene Okazaki (No.10), Yoshiaki Katayama(No.78)

In the meantime F3-N began with a drama at the very beginning. Coming into the race having scored five consecutive podium finishes Kizuku Hirota (ALBIREX F306TLM) spun on the formation lap.
Katayama lost positions again at the start and dropped down to third place while DRAGON (B-Max Racing F308) took a lead from Zene Okazaki (Glocal Albi TLM). However, even though describing himself as not being really good at rain the Petit LeMans would proceed to prove that his performance was still alive in the wet conditions by passing Okazaki on lap two and DRAGON on lap three, ending up notching up his fifth win of the season from DRAGON with Okazaki in third and Alex Yang (ALEX YANG Hanashima F3) in fourth.
Despite improving some positions after being forced to pit Hirota continued to struggle with the wet track as he suffered another spin on lap 12.

Result & Entry List PDF