July 17, 2016 Round.10 Fuji

Chiyo claims his first season victory after grabbing lead on penultimate lap, delivering a B-MAX Racing team with NDDP 1-2 result

Katsumasa Chiyo/B-MAX NDDP F3

Start of Japanese Formula 3 Round 10

It was still cloudy at Fuji Speedway on Sunday July 17 after the rainy Saturday. The track was not completely dried up but was dry enough for all the cars to go with slicks. Formation lap for Rd 10 race was started 15 minutes late at 10:15 am due to a crash in a practice session of the Super Formula championship.
Yann Mardenborough (in B-MAX NDDP F3) pulled away at the start from pole position but slightly ran wide under braking with heavy smoke at the TGR, allowing Hiroki Otsu (HFDP RACING F312) – up from third – to take his first career lead in F3, with Katsumasa Chiyo (B-MAX NDDP F3) in third ahead of Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F312), Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F312) and Sho Tsuboi (ZENT TOM’S F314) making up an initial leading pack.
However, Otsu would be caught by Mardenborough on the straight on lap three, allowing the Briton to slipstream to take back the top spot into the TGR, and would also be passed by Chiyo on lap eight, while behind them would see a duel between the TEAM TOM’S and a dogfight among Sakaguchi, Ye Hongli (KRC with B-Max F315), Tadasuke Makino (TODA FIGHTEX) and Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) unfold.
With the gap between the B-MAX drivers set at around 2.5 sec as Chiyo moved up to second place he edged up to his team-mate like “three steps forward and two steps back” as the song goes, briefly narrowing it down to less than 2 sec while continuing to post fastest laps.
Behind them Tsuboi and Yamashita also engaged in an inter-team battle after passing Otsu for third and fourth places respectively, which was won by Yamashita, at least for the time being, as he passed Tsuboi for third place.

■ Rd 10 race goes into a crucial stage on penultimate lap when a safety car period ends

Jann Mardenborough/B-MAX NDDP F3

Mardenborough appeared to hold on to his lead to the end to make it back-to-back wins, but Alex Yang (ALEX YANG Hanashima F3) and Yoshiaki Katayama (Petit LM Racing) made contact at the TGR on lap 16 in a close battle for F3-N third position, forcing the former to come to a halt at the corner, and prompting the safety car to deploy.
Although Mardenborough pulled away from the top spot at the restart in the previous race Chiyo closely followed him at the restart of the Rd 10 race with two laps remaining and got ahead under braking at the TGR. The restart also reignited the battle for third. The moment Tsuboi looked to have got past Yamashita he ran wide to the outside at the TGR, leaving his team-mate still in third place into the final lap.

Chiyo grabbing lead after safety car

On the run toward his awaited first season victory Chiyo “made a mistake” under braking into the Dunlop on the final lap, slightly running wide. Mardenborough tried to catch his rival off guard, but instead got his inside line challenged by Yamashita at the 13 Corner, which he managed to defend. Subsequently Yamashita was overtaken by Tsuboi at the Prius. In the end, Chiyo, Mardenborough and Tsuboi made it to the chequered flag in this order.
Yamashita took the chequered flag in fourth, ceding the lead in the overall standings to Mardenborough. “I had no option but to run on the wet patches when I was caught up (by Tsuboi),” said Yamashita.
Makino secured fifth place from Otsu after fending off the middle pack.

■ F3-N: Matsui makes it back-to-back wins with a solid drive in the Fuji race weekend

Takamitsu Matsui/Samurai Supporters F306

All the F3-N cars managed to line up on the grid albeit a spin for Kizuku Hirota (Albirex T306TLM) just before the start of the race.
Takamitsu Matsui (Samurai Supporters F306) pulled away to immediately build a margin on the opening lap over DRAGON (B-Max Racing F306), Yang, Zene Okazaki (Glocal Albi TLM) Hirota and Katayama.
In the middle stages Katayama – at the front in the F3-N standings – passed Okazaki and Hirota, and went into a cat-and-mouse game with Yang on lap 10, which would end up in a crash at the TGR on lap 16, sending Yang into retirement and bringing out the safety car.
Maintaining his pace after the safety car period Matsui cruised to a victory and wrapped up the Fuji race weekend with dominant lights-to-flag wins. “I learned a lot from the races in terms of driving and car setup,” he reflected.
Hirota overtook Katayama just before crossing the finish line to score third place behind DRAGON.

Result & Entry List PDF