May 18, 2019 Rd. 3 Autopolis

Fenestraz claims his second win of the season

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)

Sacha Fenestraz in B-Max Racing with motopark F3 won Rd 3 race of Japanese F3 championship at Autopolis on Saturday the 18th May amid persistent rain falling from the morning and strong wind.

With the rain easing off a qualifying started at 10:10 am that morning to determine starting grid with each driver’s best time for Rd 3 and second best time for Rd 4. After a flurry of quick laps Fenestraz secured pole position for Rd 3 with 1m50.071 ahead of Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX), Enaam Ahmed (B-Max Racing with motopark F3) and Shunsuke Kohno (RS FINE K&N F318).

Despite dominant speed in the practice sessions Charles Milesi (YTB by Carlin) qualified sixth. Struggling for grip the championship leader Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) unexpectedly came eighth.

The rain had kept intensifying and easing off before the race started at 14:05 pm for 14 laps behind the safety car in wet conditions throughout the track with strong wind blowing from the first to the last turn.

Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM'S)
Kazuto Kotaka(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM'S)

As the safety car pulled into the pit road at the end of lap three and the race got underway properly Fenestraz instantly got the hammer down just from the final turn to leap into first turn in front. Oyu, Ahmed and Kohno followed him. A contact between Kazuto Kotaka (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) and Milesi spun and demoted the latter to the tail of the field.

Fenestraz confirmed his strength in wet conditions that he displayed in the qualifying by quickly multiplying his margin over Oyu while posting fastest laps.

Each of the top four would enjoy relatively lonely race in the afternoon as Ahmed in third gradually lagged behind Oyu, and Kohno in fourth also lagged behind Ahmed.

It was the TOM’S pair that provided much of the race’s scant entertainment with a close battle in the closing stages when Miyata repeatedly challenged Kotaka only to fall short in completing a pass.

Despite working his way back to 10th after overtaking Katsuaki Kubota (Planex SmaCame F3), DRAGON (TEAM DRAGON F3), Ai Miura (ThreeBond F314) and Tairoku Yamaguchi (Tairoku Racing #28 car) Milesi couldn’t make further positions.

Fenestraz eased to his second win by more than seven seconds at the line, scoring 12 points including one point from setting the fastest lap of the race, which moved him up to the top of the drivers’ standings.

Oyu clinched his first podium finish of the season in second ahead of Ahmed. Kohno, Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F318) and Kotaka rounded out top six. Miyata narrowly missed out on the points in seventh.

Running at a solid pace throughout the race Yamaguchi finished 11th and took his three consecutive Master class wins.