August 16, 2019 Rd 16 Twin Ring Motegi

Fenestraz clinches seventh win with a lights-to-flag victory DRAGON becomes the first Master class champion

Sacha Fenestraz(B-Max Racing with motopark)

 Sacha Fenestraz in B-Max Racing with motopark F3 turned the pole position secured in the Saturday morning into a strong result as he clinched his seventh win of the season in the Japanese Formula 3 championship Rd 16 race that started at 4:15 pm at a scorching Twin Ring Motegi.

 Despite a good getaway Ritomo Miyata (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) settled for second.

 Having started from seventh on the grid Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX) finished a chaotic race with a podium finish in third.

■Fenestraz fends off a hard-charging Miyata for a sweeping victory

 The qualifying that started at 8:20 am for 30 minutes was red-flagged just over 10 minutes into the session due to a failure of the time keeping system, and resumed at 9:10 am with 20 minutes remaining.

 Using first set of tyres before and second and third sets after the red flag Fenestraz took pole position on the last set of tyres, while Miyata - who did just two attacks before and after the red flag - qualified second as his best time fell about a tenth of a second short of the pole-sitter.

 Kazuto Kotaka (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317), Enaam Ahmed (B-Max Racing with motopark F3), Charles Milesi (YTB by Carlin), Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F319) and Oyu followed Miyata in this order.

 With the air temperature that rose up to 38 C in the daytime easing as the sun was setting and the skies were being overcast the formation lap started at 4:15 pm. As the race got underway for 14 laps Fenestraz got a good start from pole, but with a better acceleration Miyata went into side-by-side with Fenestraz down the turn three, the TOM’S driver keeping pushing through turn five and the S-shape bend, only for Fenestraz to hold the top spot.

 Behind the leaders an accident occurred at turn two. Relegated by Ahmed at turn one from third Kotaka had a contact with Ahmed at the exit of turn two, losing his own left front endplate and giving Ahmed a left rear puncture, who would be forced to pit and retire.

 Oyu caught up with Milesi into turn three for sixth place.

■A series of overtaking passes brings up a seventh-starting Oyu to podium

Toshiki Oyu(TODA RACING)

 The two leaders plunged into a close battle early on. Fenestraz posted fastest laps in a row with 1m45.593 on lap three and 1m45.574 on lap four, in trying to pull away from the TOM’S behind, and Miyata was keeping pushing in an attempt to pick up a point for setting the fastest lap of the race, but was struggling for downforce in the wake of Fenestraz ahead through the sector three and four even with better times through the first sectors.

 The early stages also saw a battle over third intensify with Otsu gaining ground on a damaged Kotaka. Otsu, however, would soon find Oyu quickly charging while having difficulties mounting an effective challenge on the car ahead. Oyu tried to pass up the inside into the hairpin on lap three, only to be rebuffed this time, and then dived down the inside of Otsu once again on the hairpin a lap later to get ahead at the exit after a slight contact. The Toda driver survived an overtaking move from Otsu at the 90 deg turn on the same lap by defending firmly the inside line.

 Continuing the momentum Oyu overtook Kotaka at turn three on lap six, and consolidated the third spot at the S-shape turn after a Kotaka’s attempt to snatch it back failed.

 Instead, Kotaka slowed down at the exit of S-shape turn, allowing Otsu to get past through the next V-shape turn.

 Milesi also challenged the ailing TOM’S down the inside of the V-shape turn on lap eight, but had a contact at the exit, forcing Kotaka to spin toward the gravel and into retirement. Milesi would be given a 30secs post-race time penalty for this “dangerous” move.

 In the meantime, Fenestraz’s lead over Miyata had already opened up to almost two seconds. The B-Max driver maintained a controlled drive throughout the race to pick up his seventh win of the season, and extended his championship lead to 33 points with scoring the full 12 points.

DRAGON(B-Max Racing with motopark)

 Miyata could only finish second after he “made a mistake at the 90 deg turn on lap seven”.

 Having started from seventh off the line Oyu scored a podium finish in third.

 DRAGON (TEAM DRAGON F3) became the first Master Class champion by securing pole position for both Rd 16 and Rd 17, and was given a bouquet at the prize-giving ceremony. He also won the race.