September 25, 2016 Rd.17 Sportsland SUGO

Yamashita claims championship title with three consecutive wins
F3-N: DRAGON leads home for his second straight win in a B-MAX 1-2

Kenta Yamashita claims Japanese Formula3 2016 Champion

2016 Japanese F3 Championship has finally gone into the season’s finale. The race started at 1:30 pm just five hours after the start of formation lap for Rd 16 but with higher temperature and a completely dried track in the sunny weather it could take on a different aspect compared to the previous round.
The order of Rd 16 race was applied to the grid order for Rd 17, which means Kenta Yamashita, the winner of Rd 16 would start from pole position, with Yann Mardenborough sitting just a point behind Yamashita in the standings from second ahead of Sho Tsuboi.
With each car touring around on the sighting lap amid a mounting tension Mardenborough, unlike his way of doing early in the season, practiced starts over and over till the end.

■ Yamashita escapes away from pole to victory

Start of Japanese Formula 3 Round 17

As the lights went out Yamashita turned his ZENT TOM’S F312 to the inside “trying to get the jump on a bit faster starting Mardenborough (in B-MAX NDDP F3)” while his title rival took the outside line allowing him to keep the lead through the first corner. Tsuboi (ZENT TOM’S F314) completed the opening lap in third place.
While Yamashita looked on course to consolidate his lead in the early stages as usual it would be negated on lap three when Yoshiaki Katayama (Petit LM Racing) in F3-N class went off the track at turn four and came to a halt on the gravel, prompting the safety car.
At the restart on lap six Yamashita nonetheless made a perfect getaway to pull out a 0.820 secs margin just with this lap. “I believed I could work it out as I did yesterday,” noted the TOM’S driver. From there a leading pack would equally circulate within a second of each other for a few laps.

Mardenborough and Tsuboi

As the race entered its closing stages Yamashita proceeded to gradually multiply his margin and stayed focused until leading home Mardenborough by 2.943 secs while the Brit was forced to fend off attentions of Tsuboi instead, but despite allowing the pursuer to close to within 0.306 secs at the line held on to the second position. “The team prepared a great car for me, but I wasn’t really able to catch Team TOM’S,” admitted the B-MAX driver.
Yamashita came from behind to clinch the title with commanding three consecutive wins during the Sugo weekend. After the race Mardenborough went up to the 2016 champion and they grasped hands.
Keishi Ishikawa (TODA FIGHTEX) finished in fourth, the same position he secured in Rd 16. Hiroki Otsu (HFDP RACING F312) picked up the final point in sixth behind Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F312) after prevailing a four-way tussle.

DRAGON reads F3-N battle

■ B-MAX celebrates its 1-2 finish in F3-N

In F3-N, meanwhile, the Rd 16 race winner DRAGON (B-Max Racing F306) started from pole position to complete the opening lap in front, while Katayama went off the track at the exit of SP Out Corner on lap two during a melee having started from second on the grid.
Despite losing his front wing the Petit Lemans racer managed to take his machine to the next lap, only to lose front grip to spin at turn four and retire.
This retirement promoted Masayuki Ueda (Rn-sports F308) and Kizuku Hirota (Albirex F306TLM) to second and third respectively, the latter getting past the former at the restart but having to return the snatched spot after being given a drive-through penalty on lap 13 for his false start.
Ueda would retain the runner-up spot thereafter till the chequered flag. DRAGON marked his second consecutive win in B-MAX 1-2. Alex Yang (ALEX YANG Hanashima F3) took the final podium spot.