April 20 2019 Round. 1 Suzuka

Sacha Fenestraz wins Miyata for victory in 2019 Suzuka season opener
Ahmed clinches podium finish after fighting close battles over third

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)

Ritomo Miyata in Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317 took pole position in the qualifying on Saturday the 20th of April after drastically reducing his times to 1m51.305 on his second attack. Sacha Fenestraz (B-Max Racing with motopark F3) qualified second with 1m51.874 and Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX) third.

The opening round of 2019 Japanese Formula 3 championship began with formation lap at 9:50 am on Sunday under a bit cloudy sky but in dry conditions.

Yoshiaki Katayama(OIRC team YTB)
Charles Milesi(OIRC team YTB)

With a focus put on how to start successfully at the difficult-to-overtake Suzuka Circuit Miyata got a good start, protecting his inside line, but Fenestraz got the better of the pole-sitter as he snatched the lead into the first corner.

Oyu, Kazuto Kotaka (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317), Enaam Ahmed (B-Max Racing with motopark F3) and Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F319) rounded out the early top six.

Shunsuke Kohno (RS FINE K&N F318) moved up to seventh on lap six after prevailing a tussle with Charles Milesi (YTB by Carlin) and Yoshiaki Katayama (YTB by Carlin).

■A Head-to-head lead fight between Fenestraz and Miyata

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)
Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM'S)

Lead fight was virtually narrowed down to Fenestraz and Miyata in the first several laps that saw the two pull out a huge advantage over the field while circulating within a 0.6 secs or so of each other. It would intensify heading into the halfway stage as Miyata got the gap to Fenestraz down to 0.475 secs on lap five but saw it opened up a lap later.

Right behind them Oyu, Kotaka and Ahmed began to be bunched up on lap six. Kotaka dived down the outside of Oyu at full speed into turn one on lap eight, only to be rebuffed. Kotaka attacked again at Hitachi Automotive Systems Chicane on the same lap to the inside of Oyu this time to briefly place third before being passed through turn one on lap nine.

The 3-way battle was escalated on lap nine when Kotaka got ahead of Oyu at the chicane, who would be overtaken by Ahmed at turn one on lap 10.

The lead battle continued between Fenestraz - who was faster in sector one and two - and Miyata - who made up for the delay through sector three and four by slipstreaming the car ahead. While the TOM’S got onto the tail of the race leader on lap nine Fenestraz held on for a victory for B-Max Racing with motopark with a 0.567 secs advantage at the line.

Building on the momentum Ahmed overtook Kotaka around the outside of turn one on the final lap to finish third, bringing B-Max Racing with motopark convincing results. Oyu was fifth.

On his return race to the series Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F319) scored a final point in sixth.

Tairoku Yamaguchi (Tairoku Racing #28 car) took the chequered flag in 11th, winning the new Master Class fought by three drivers.