July 28, 2019 Rd 14 Sportsland Sugo

Ahmed charges from his first pole to victory
Fenestraz sets the fastest lap and finishes second

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)
Enaam Ahmed(B-Max Racing with motopark)

■Ahmed gets the holeshot as Miyata gets a tardy start, allowing Fenestraz to take second spot

 It rained during the night before, but let up in the Sunday morning, and the Japanese Formula 3 championship Rd 14 race started again under the blazing sun.

 Enaam Ahmed in B-Max Racing with motopark F3 converted his first pole position into victory. Taking second spot from Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) at the start Sacha Fenestraz (B-Max Racing with motopark F3) finished second.

 Miyata got the gap to Fenestraz’s championship lead down to less than 30 points in Rd 13, but saw it extend to over 30 points again as he placed in third.

Enaam Ahmed(B-Max Racing with motopark)

 In the Saturday’s qualifying Ahmed topped the second-best times to clinch pole position for Rd 14 after posting 1m 12 secs level for two laps in a row with his third set of tyres.

 Miyata’s second-best time still remained in third in the closing stages, but his last-ditch effort put him a millisecond ahead of Fenestraz to bring him the front row start.

 Kazuto Kotaka (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) qualified fourth ahead of Harrison Newey (B-Max Racing with motopark F3), Shunsuke Kohno (RS FINE K&N F318), Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX), Esteban Muth (YTB by Carlin), Ameya Vaidyanathan (B-Max Racing with motopark) Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F318) and DRAGON (TEAM DRAGON F3).

 The temperature had already exceeded 30 deg C when the formation lap started at 10:00 am for 18 laps.

 Pole-sitting Ahmed took holeshot to retain his lead.

 Lining up on the grid with his nose slightly pointing outward in trying to take the lead from Ahmed off the line Miyata got a slow start, allowing Fenestraz to pass him, instead. “The lights took a bit longer than usual to go out, and I couldn’t quickly respond to it,” said the TOM’S driver, who saw his team-mate Kotaka to almost run side-by-side through the first corner, but defended the third spot around the outside line.

 Several places back, Kohno made an error at the start, moving Oyu and Muth up to seventh and eighth respectively. Vaidyanathan’s late start also allowed Otsu and DRAGON to improve their positions.

■Battles over a point for fastest lap heat up with no order changes in the leading pack

 With the lead three closely running in the first few laps with Fenestraz finding no chance to get a jump on his team-mate, Ahmed set about establishing his advantage over Fenestraz with a flurry of fastest laps, posting 1m14.778 on lap four, 1m14.609 on lap five and 1m14.579 on lap six.

 In the meanwhile, both Fenestraz in second and Miyata in third went on to target setting fastest lap of the race as soon as they found it difficult to overtake.

 Although posting quick laps with 1m14.577 on lap nine and 1m14.590 on lap 14 Miyata was not able to beat 1m14.457 that Fenestraz posted on lap seven, which would never be beaten even by Ahmed who posted 1m14.502 on lap 13.

 In fact, it would virtually become impossible for anyone to pursue setting fastest lap on lap 13 when DRAGON went off at turn three in an effort to fend off Vaidyanathan, bringing out the yellow flags, which would continue to the end.

Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM'S)
Kazuto Kotaka(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM'S)

 Ahmed maintained a good pace throughout the race, eventually taking the chequered flag for his second victory. Fenestraz was second. Kotaka finished a distant fourth behind Miyata.

 Newey constantly put pressure on Katayama, rounding out the top six.