April 2, 2017 Rd. 2 Okayama

Palou prevails in chaotic Rd2 for a maiden JF3 win
F3-N: Shimono also clinches a maiden win by hanging on to his lead


Rd 2 and Rd 3 races of Japanese F3 championship took place on Sunday on April 2nd at Okayama International Circuit. The second race started at 10:35 am for 18 laps in pleasant weather.

Start of round 2

The grid for Rd 2 was decided by second best times of each driver from the qualifying on Saturday. The emphasis may have been on the start of the race for the front and the second row starters, the same lineup as in the opening race where their orders were largely changed at the start. This was probably the reason why many drivers spent much time practicing start.
The race, however, would see their orders changed once again at the start in a similar way as Mitsunori Takaboshi (in B-MAX NDDP F3) nailed the start from third place, while Alex Palou (THREEBOND) and Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F314) both got somewhat slow start from the front row.
The B-MAX went side-by-side with Palou through turn one and got ahead at Williams. It was Sho Katayama (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S) who jumped Palou next, having started from fourth place. He passed Palou at Attwood, and then caught up with Takaboshi around the outside of the hairpin, but the two left the inside line exposed to Palou.

Palou leads Takaboshi and Tsuboi.

The pole-sitter snatched back his lead through Revolver, while Tsuboi was challenged on the inside of Viper by Hiroki Otsu (TODA FIGHTEX) who had passed Miyata, and lost further ground to Miyata after a scuffle fought from Redman to Hobbs. The chaotic opening lap was thus completed with Palou in front, who would opened up a lead of 1.021 sec over Takaboshi on lap two.
Elsewhere, a fracas over third place was about to form; having reclaimed the fourth spot from his team-mate Tsuboi now closed right on to the tail of Otsu. Hongli Ye (KRC with B-Max F315) was sixth, followed by Sena Sakaguchi (HFDP RACING F316) in 7th and Tairoku Yamaguchi (TAIROKU RACING #28) in 8th.

● 3-way battle for final podium spot comes to an astonishing end

Palou had built up a 1-2 seconds lead over Takaboshi in the hope of claiming his first JF3 win with a controlled drive before the field saw some F3-N cars a lap down on the leaders on lap 11. Once he avoided these cars smoothly the ThreeBond rookie set about extending the lead to about 3 seconds, enjoying a clear air, which he would retain to the chequered flag.

Otsu leads Tsuboi.

Far behind the lead the 3-way battle for third spot still continued, each one keeping about a second gap over the car behind, and Otsu, Tsuboi and Miyata eventually went into the final lap without dealing a decisive blow.
Tsuboi closed in on Otsu down the Viper Corner, and finally caught up around the outside of Redman, only to find no space at the inside line of Hobbs, which would leave him no choice but to run off the track, though he had make no contact.
Otsu placed third on the road behind Takaboshi, but would be given a post-race penalty of 40secs for violating Article 15.1.2 of 2017 Japanese F3 Championship Uniform Regulations (a dangerous drive, forcing other drivers off the track), promoting Miyata to final podium spot as the result of not being involved in the incident.
Palou’s maiden victory brought ThreeBond Racing the team’s first win since 2011 Rd 10 at Okayama where Hironobu Yasuda won.

Shigetomo Shimono

Meanwhile in F3-N Shigetomo Shimono (CMS AVANTECH F306) avenged his poor getaway in the opening race and got a good start on this occasion. At the end of the opening lap Shimono was in front of the class with Alex Yang (HuaJiangHU F3) in second and Masayuki Ueda (Rn Yamashita Seisakusho F308) in third as the Rd 1 winner DRAGON (B-Max Racing F306) was hit and pushed out of the track.
Once some F3-N cars were left a lap down the gap between Yang and Ueda began to close, and in an overtaking attempt at the hairpin on lap 16 the pair collided at the exit before Ueda rode over the adversary and came to a halt.
Shimono clinched his maiden F3-N win by a sizeable margin over Yang. Having been forced to start from pit after failing to start on the formation lap Ryoya Hasegawa (Alb Niigata Daiichi Hotel Suger) delivered an impressive recovery to finish in 3rd.
Yang crossed the line in 2nd but was punished with a 40secs time penalty for violating Article 15.1.1 of the Japanese Formula 3 Championship Uniform regulations (a dangerous drive resulting in collision), putting Hasegawa and Katsuaki Kubota (Planex SmaCame F308) up to second and third place respectively.

Result & Entry List PDF