August 21, 2016 Round.12 Motegi

Mardenborough eases to a sweeping victory after winning second straight in Motegi weekend
F3-N: Katayama claims his first win since Rd 6

Jann Mardenborough / B-MAX NDDP F3

In contrast to previous round hit by a sudden downpour in the lead up to the race the grid for Rd 12 saw the team crews cool down brakes and radiators in response to the temperature rapidly rising from early morning on Sunday August 21. A sighting lap started at 9:50 am under a sky of very little chance of rain.

Start of Japanese Formula 3 Round 11

Jann Mardenborough got a good start in B-MAX NDDP F3 from pole position while with “the very early stages should be crucial for this race” in mind Sho Tsuboi (in ZENT TOM’S F314) charged Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F314) ahead through the first corner and towards turn two but his counterpart managed to hold the second position. The opening lap was completed with Mardenborough in the lead ahead of Yamashita and Tsuboi.
In line with his fight plan for a second straight win in the Motegi race weekend Mardenborough swiftly set about pushing to build as much margin as possible in the early laps. Yamashita tried to keep up, but would simply see the gap gradually increasing from 0.941 secs on the opening lap to 1.219 secs a lap later, 1.811 secs on lap 4, and more than four seconds midway through the race of longer 20 laps. “I couldn’t stick with him with little grip,” said Yamashita.

■ Fierce battle fought for final podium place

Jann Mardenborough / B-MAX NDDP F3

Behind the lead two Tsuboi and Tadasuke Makino (TODA FIGHTEX) from fourth on the grid proceeded to play a close battle. Although closing right on to the tail of the ZENT TOM’S on lap eight Makino would have difficulty finding an overtaking chance, the fateful confrontation that dated back to the 2015 FIA F4 Motegi final round going into the middle stages.
To these two drivers Mitsunori Takaboshi would gradually approaching having started down in ninth place. “I couldn’t make an overtaking pass in Rd 11, so I thought I would aggressively try today,” revealed Takaboshi – who put his B-MAX NDDP F3 just behind them on lap ten after overtaking Hiroki Otsu (HFDP RACING F312), Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) and Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F312).
It was lap 15 when the 3-way battle changed. Putting his car right behind Tsuboi at the exit of the hairpin Makino challenged the inside after making several overtaking moves, the two cars spectacularly running side-by-side down the exit of 90 deg. Corner before the Toda dived into the final Victory Corner first from the outside.

Tadasuke Makino, Sho Tsuboi, Mitsunori Takaboshi

Now with Makino in third and Tsuboi in fourth Takaboshi attacked the inside line into the latter in turn one on lap 16, only to spin, allowing not only Tsuboi but also Ye Hongli (KRC with B-Max F315) to pass and dropping back to fifth. “I didn’t have a contact but I got rear wheelspin,” noted Takaboshi.
This seemed to seal the order until Makino in third position suddenly dropped off the pace on lap 17. “While I was running behind Tsuboi I noticed the visor of my helmet was not clean, so I removed and threw it around and it blocked the engine intake,” said Makino, “That never happened before. Why now of all the times?” he expressed his annoyance.
Staying well out of a series of the battles behind Mardenborough notched up his fourth win with a sweeping victory that ended up a sizeable 8.121 secs margin over the TOM’S pair as Yamashita finished second and Tsuboi third. “I enjoyed the race while checking my tyres in the latter stages. I had a very good race weekend,” he commented.
Ye placed fourth, his best result in the Japanese F3 Championship, ahead of Makino.

■ F3-N: Katayama wins a close top three scrap

Yoshiaki Katayama / Petit LM Racing

Meanwhile in F3-N pole-sitting Katayama and another front-row starter DRAGON (B-Max Racing F306) both got a slow start, allowing Alex Yang (ALEX YANG Hanashima F3) to snatch the lead.
Katayama immediately launched catch-up though, in which DRAGON would join after passing Kizuku Hirota (Albirex F306TLM) at the 90 deg. Corner on lap three.
A top three scrap with Yang at the head would take on tail-to-nose into lap five. Katayama dived down the inside of Yang – already struggling with his waning tyres – into 90 deg. Corner on lap eight, the Hanashima driver also allowing DRAGON to pass him on lap 11.
A fight now fought by the lead two in the F3-N point standings would be won by Katayama as he claimed his first win since Rd 6 Okayama enjoying 2.3 seconds advantage at the flag. “Though I slowed down in the closing stages I thought I would hold firm to the end,” said the Petit Lemans driver.
Yang crossed the line in third place ahead of Hirota.

Result & Entry List PDF