September 10, 2016 Rd.13 Okayama International Circuit

Yamashita wins a toe-to-toe battle with Takaboshi
F3-N: Katayama scores his seventh win of the season with a dominant drive

Yamashita and Takaboshi shake hand after the race

Qualifyings for 2016 Japanese Formula 3 Championship Rd 13 and 14 races took place on September 10 at Okayama International Circuit in an alternative to the Autopolis event. Rd 13 qualifying that started at 10:15 under partly cloudy but pleasant and sunny early fall skies would see each car keep a distance apart at a track with a short course length of 3.7km.

■ Mardenborough struggles in his qualifying attempt

Start of Japanese Formula 3 Round 13

Mitsunori Takaboshi initially topped the times, posting 1m22.187 in B-MAX NDDP F3 on his first attack and 1m22.071 a lap later, with Tadasuke Makino (in TODA FIGHTEX) in second place, while unlike most of the other drivers going with just two laps for warming up, TEAM TOM’S duo took an extra lap to launch attacks Kenta Yamashita (ZENT TOM’S F312) posting a superb 1m21.981 on his fifth lap to secure a pole position. His team-mate Sho Tsuboi (ZENT TOM’S F314) qualified in third behind Takaboshi, while the title lead Yann Mardenborough (B-MAX NDDP F3) was fifth behind Makino.
Yoshiaki Katayama comfortably secured a F3-N pole position with a time of 1.24m756, enjoying more than a second advantage over Kizuku Hirota (Albirex F306TLM).

■A battle between an escaping Yamashita and charging Takaboshi goes into the final lap

Yamashita battle with Takaboshi

Due to a Super Formula race that also took place on Saturday the Rd 13 race unusually started at 1:50 pm in the enthusiasm from the qualifying still lingering. Tyre management would be one of the keys to success with the temperature increasingly rising.
The start of the race saw TEAM TOM’S and B-MAX Racing team with NDDP dominate top four with Yamashita slipping into turn one up front as the front row sitters both got good starts ahead of Tsuboi and Mardenborough, the Brit having jumped up from fifth on the grid.
Trying to follow his favorite tactics for escaping Yamashita built up as much as 1.5 sec margin in the early stages, but would see Takaboshi begin to gradually reduce it on lap seven. A leading pack would be formed by TOM’S drivers escaping from charging B-MAX drivers as behind the leaders Mardenborough was approaching Tsuboi, the two going into nose-to-tail on lap six.
Yamashita’s advantage would be cut down to less than a second on lap nine and 0.607 sec on lap 11 before Takaboshi finally got within striking distance from the inside with two laps remaining.
However, Yamashita couldn’t afford to lose out to snatch back his title lead, the TOM’s eventually taking the chequered flag 0.552 secs ahead of the closest pursuer for his fourth win of the season and the first victory since Rd 5 Okayama. Tsuboi claimed third place from Mardenborough.

Yoshiaki Katayama/Petit LM Racing

■ F3-N: Katayama wins with a runaway victory

Having got a good start from F3-N pole position Katayama immediately set about pulling away at a similar pace to his in the qualifying that would multiply his lead over Hirota by almost a second per lap.
Hirota would subsequently be closely chased by DRAGON (B-Max Racing F308), the pair running wheel-to-wheel through the closing stages until the B-Max overtook him from the inside at Revolver on lap 16.
Never slackening his charge till the end Katayama led home DRAGON by a sizeable 18.176 secs with a back-to-back victory and his seventh win of the season.