September 30, 2018 Rd. 17 Sportsland Sugo

Tsuboi wins rainy Sugo race with 9 consecutive victories
Both Sasahara and Kanamaru take podium finishes as Miyata gets a tardy start

Sho Tsuboi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

Start of Japanese F3 Round.17

Japanese Formula 3 Championship’s Rd 17 and Rd 9 races took place on Sunday. Due to the typhoon no. 24 approaching Rd 17 was 20 minutes moved up to start at 11:20 am and the race distance was shortened from 25 laps to 20 laps.

The grid was determined by the finishing order of Rd 15, which means TOM’S pair of Sho Tsuboi and Ritomo Miyata (both in Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) would start from front row ahead of Ukyo Sasahara (THREEBOND).

■Incident-packed opening lap

Sho Tsuboi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TOM'S F317)

The rain was easing off and the Sugo circuit was drying just before the cars went out, but it became heavier, quickly transforming the conditions to wet, and all the cars went out on rain tyres.

Tsuboi made a clean getaway from pole while a bit tardy start from another front row dropped Miyata behind Sasahara and Yu Kanamaru (B-MAX RACING F3).
Further back, Tairoku Yamaguchi (Tairoku Racing No. 28) spun at the exit of turn two, forcing Ai Miura (EXEDY B-MAX F317) and DRAGON (TEAM DRAGON F3) off as they were trying to avoid contact.

A contact through a close battle at turn three between the Toda pair of Sena Sakaguchi and Toshiki Oyu (both in TODA FIGHTEX) sent the latter off and Kazuto Kotaka (Planex SmaCame F3) spinning into the wall before seeing Kotaka and Sakaguchi come to halt at the exit of turn three and the S-shape curve respectively.

Staying well out of the opening lap chaos Tsuboi would go on to multiply his lead over Sasahara. A little behind Miyata was closely following Kanamaru in third.

Promoted to sixth by the attrition Kiyoto Fujinami (B-MAX RACING F3) now went into a contention for the final point with Shunsuke Kohno (HubAuto F318) and Yuki Nemoto, an expert in wet (Albirex-RT).
However, it would become even harder to overtake in the early stages that had already had yellows in the section from turn three to the S-shaped curve to clear Kotaka’s and Sakaguchi’s cars when DRAGON (TEAM DRAGON F3) suffered a spin at turn two on lap seven, bringing out further yellows in the section from turn one to turn two.

Ukyo Sasahara(THREEBOND)

■Tsuboi shows an impressive pace despite rain

With each gap of the race leaders increasing in the closing laps the attention shifted to the battle over sixth spot among Fujinami, Kohno and Nemoto, which would be narrowed down to Fujinami and Nemoto as Kohno ran off on lap 13, and then decided on lap 15 when Nemoto proved his strength in wet by passing Fujinami.

Despite the rain getting a bit heavier Tsuboi continued to push on, ending up 2.923 secs clear of Sasahara at the line and claiming his 14th win of the season. Sasahara’s second matched his best of the season in Rd 14. Kanamaru marked his third podium finish in third as Miyata finished fourth.

Holding off Fujinami Nemoto placed sixth behind Katayama, his third points finish of the season.
Jake Parsons (NODA RACING) completed the rainy race with a remarkable top 10 result in ninth for a F3-N driver.

Now there was only Rd 9 race left for the Sugo event which would start earlier than scheduled at 3:05 pm.