May 19, 2019 Rd. 5 Autopolis

Fenestraz wins a wet race with slicks, securing third victory in a row
Having led for much of the race Oyu misses out on his first victory
Otsu claims first podium finish

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)
Toshiki Oyu(TODA RACING)

The grid for the closing round of Autopolis event was determined by the results of Rd 3 race, which means Sacha Fenestraz in B-Ma Racing with motopark F3 would start from pole position for Rd 5 with Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX) as fellow front-row starter and Enaam Ahmed (B-Ma Racing with motopark F3) in third.

The track had dried during the preceding Super Formula race with sunshine breaking through the clouds, so all the cars naturally lined up on the grid on slicks, but surprisingly it began to rain again just before the start of the race, prompting Charles Milesi (YTB by Carlin), Ameya Vaidyanathan (B-Ma Racing with motopark F3) and Katsuaki Kubota (Planex SmaCame F3) to pit for rain tyres at the end of formation lap.

As the lights went out at 16:15 Fenestraz got a bit tardy start, allowing Oyu to leap into turn one at the front. From here the Toda proceeded to steadily stretch his lead during the early stages. Ahmed almost caught up with Fenestraz, only for the pole-sitter to defend the second spot through the opening bends. Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F319) and Kazuto Kotaka (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOMfS F317) followed the top three.

Lead battle between Oyu and Fenestraz

Toshiki Oyu(TODA RACING)
Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)

Ahmed was given a drive-thru penalty for crossing the white line on the reconnaissance lap but as a result of his oversight of the black flag, coupled with a misfortune of the team radio being disrupted he didnft serve it and was disqualified.

With no sign of letting up Tairoku Yamaguchi (Tairoku Racing #28 car) came in for rain rubber at the end of the opening lap, and Shunsuke Kohno (S FINE K&N F318) running sixth followed the suit at the end of lap four.

As the race hit the halfway point, however, the rain was easing. The time to change over to rain tyres didnft come after all, with lap times of those on slicks settling down somewhere between 1m49 and 1m50 secs.

Fenestraz set about reducing the gap to Oyu on lap 10, mounting pressure little by little before slipstreaming on the main straight on lap 16 to overtake the Toda around the outside in to turn one.

Otsu finishes third after 4-way battles

With the circuit quickly changing to dry in the closing laps battles for fastest lap of the race went into full swing. Fenestraz posted 1m47.402 on lap 18, which would be broken by Oyu on the same lap with 1m46.968, the fight continuing until lap 20 when Fenestraz secured the fastest lap of the race with 1m46.214.

The elimination of Ahmed left Otsu far behind closely battling over third spot with Kotaka, Yoshiaki Katayama (YTB by Carlin) and Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOMfS F317).

Tairoku Yamaguchi(TAIROKU RACING)

Fenestraz ended up 3.042 secs ahead of Oyu at the chequered flag, wrapping up the Autopolis event with scoring full marks of 35 points from the weekend.

Oyu narrowly missed out on his first victory in second place ahead of Otsu, who claimed his first podium finish since his return to F3 after fighting 4-way battles.

The battle for fourth came down to the very final lap with Katayama getting the better of Kotaka, the place tying his best result. Miyata came sixth.

Despite the switch to rain tyres that left him laps down and a collision with Kubota Yamaguchi completed the race to mark his fourth Master class victory.