July 8, 2018 Round. 6 Fuji Speedway

Miyata clinches his first F3 victory in a contentious race
A botched start ends Tsuboi’s winning streak at five

Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

Qualifying for Rd 5 and R6 races of Japanese Formula 3 Championship was started at 8:30 am on Saturday July 8th at Fuji Speedway under light rain in wet conditions.

Posting 1m51.998 and then 1m51.995 a lap later on his first attack Sho Tsuboi in Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317 took pole position for Rd 6 race. The Toda pair of Toshiki Oyu and Sena Sakaguchi (both in TODA FIGHTEX) qualified second and third respectively for Rd 6. While he struggled for pace in the practice sessions Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) managed to secure the second row position ahead of Yu Kanamaru (B-MAX RACING F3) – who secured second place for Rd 5 race – and Yuuki Nemoto (Albirex-RT).

Start of Japanese F3 Round.6

■An unexpected late start for pole-sitter Tsuboi

YThe drizzle falling during Super Formula’s practice session on Sunday morning had stopped and the track had been dried up by the time the formation lap of Rd 6 race was started in the afternoon.

The start of the race saw an unexpected stall for Tsuboi that dropped the pole-sitter down the order. This put the third start Sakaguchi up to the lead over Oyu.

The fourth start Miyata was jumped by Yu Kanamaru at Coca-Cola, while running behind the leading Toda pair, and then got passed by Nemoto at Advan, but would quickly set about recouping lost ground on the second lap, passing Nemoto on the straight and chasing Kanamaru.

Lap two was completed still with the Toda one-two, but the next lap saw a white smoke shooting up from Oyu’s car as he got out of TGR. He slowed down and was forced to retire. This prompted Kanamaru to second ahead of Miyata.

Miyata takes lead from Sakaguchi

Having fallen all the way to eighth at the start Tsuboi set his first sights on Shunsuke Kohno (HubAuto F318) to work his way back, telling himself that he could do it as there would be more laps available than usual.

On lap four Kanamaru found himself under pressure from Miyata and Sasahara. Miyata chased down Kanamaru on the straight a lap later, leaving him under another pressure from a pack of Sasahara, Yoshiaki Katayama (YTB F318) and Tsuboi – who had overtaken Kohno.

Kanamaru, Sasahara and Tsuboi went three-wide out of the final Panasonic corner on lap six, with Tsuboi beating the other two for third place.

Sho Tsuboi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

■Lead battle builds to a last lap showdown

As the race passed seventh lap Miyata began to whittle the margin that Sakaguchi had pulled out during early laps, while Tsuboi also closed in on Miyata, having posted 1m35.098, the fastest lap of the race.

The top three would proceed to closing stages with Sakaguchi and Miyata battling for their first victory in the championship, and Tsuboi in quest for six straight wins.

Prevailing in a fierce scrap with Sakaguchi through TGR Sasahara rose up to third on the penultimate lap.

Ukyo Sasahara(THREEBOND)

Tsuboi edged in on Miyata with an impressive pace to reduce the gap to 1.084 sec. on the final lap, and mounted a challenge for the lead at Panasonic, only to fall short of the target, leaving Miyata to hold on to clinch his first Japanese Formula 3 victory. Tsuboi’s winning streak thus ended at five, but he picked up a point with setting the fastest lap.

Sasahara took a podium finish in three for the second race in a row ahead of Sakaguchi. After a hard fighting over fifth place Kanamaru and Katayama made contact at TGR on the final lap as Katayama’s right-rear tyre hit Kanamaru’s front wing, forcing Katayama to park up his damaged machine at Coca-Cola and significantly slowing down Kanamaru. Kohno took advantage of this to ease past Kanamaru to place fifth.

Jake Parsons (NODA RACING) completed this race again in 11th, scoring full F3-N points.