July 28, 2018 Rd. 8 Okayama International Circuit

Tsuboi claims first victory in three races and sixth win of the year
Oyu takes second podium finish

Sho Tsuboi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

Start of Japanese F3 Round.8

Many of the Japanese Formula 3 drivers were just about to set out on final attacks in the closing laps in trying to post yet another good time when stoppage of Motoyoshi Yoshida (in B-MAX ENGINEERING F3) at the double hairpin abruptly ended the Saturday’s qualifying at Okayama International Circuit.

As a result, Sho Tsuboi (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) took pole position for the Rd 8 race that was rescheduled for late afternoon as a precaution against typhoon No. 12 as he topped the second best times with 1m22.646. Ritomo Miyata (in Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) was second and Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX) was third.

Sho Tsuboi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

■Lead battle as well as podium contention intensifies early on

As the race started at 17:25 pm under late afternoon sunlight Miyata got away strongly off the front row, closing in right behind pole-sitter Tsuboi. As he would describe after the race, however, he was “not as close as to claim the lead position”, allowing Tsuboi to dive into the first corner at the front. The TOM’S pair would go into a head-to-head match-up, as if following the same proceedings in Rd 7, but now in the reverse order.

A little further back, a battle for sixth spot would be fought between Yu Kanamaru (B-MAX RACING F3) and Ukyo Sasahara (THREEBOND).

Tsuboi’s lead would gradually widen just past the halfway point, whereas the gap among those behind were still kept within a second even in the closing stages, if not running nose-to-tail, which means one little mistake could be fatal.

Having dropped down the order on the opening lap Shunsuke Khono (HubAuto F318) played furious catch-ups behind a similarly close battle between Kanamaru and Sasahara.
Jake Parsons (NODA RACING) aggressively challenged Katsuaki Kubota (Planex SmaCame F3) and Masayuki Ueda (B-MAX Rn-Sports F3) as the only F3-N driver.


■Tsuboi returns to top with full-points

As many drivers say it is very difficult to overtake at Okayama even with small gap. As the race passed lap nine Tsuboi began to gradually open up a margin over Miyata, and claimed his first victory since the Rd 5, recording his sixth win of the season.

He was all smiles on the podium with his perfect victory by scoring full-points for the first time since Rd 3 at Sugo including picking up the fastest lap of 1m23.294 as he had aimed.

Fending off the persistent chasers Oyu held on for his first podium finish since Rd 3 at Sugo, revenging himself on the poor result from Rd 7 after a penalty.

Fourth and fifth places went to Sakaguchi and Katayama respectively. Kanamaru battled it out with Sasahara to earn a point in sixth.
Parsons finished 13th, picking up F3-N full-points again.