September 28, 2019 Rd 19 Okayama International Circuit

Miyata takes his seventh win with a lights-to-flag victory
DRAGON records 10th Master class win

Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM’S)

 The forecast had said the weather would get worse in the Okayama region but it turned out to be wrong with the cloudy skies on Saturday morning clearing up before the track got completely dry in the afternoon when a Japanese Formula 3 championship race got underway for 18 laps.

 Ritomo Miyata in Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317 cruised to a perfect lights-to-flag victory in Rd 19 at Okayama International Circuit over the title winner Sacha Fenestraz (in B-Max Racing with motopark F3). Sena Sakaguchi (Corolla Chukyo Kuo TOM’S F317) clinched podium finish on his special appearance.

■Miyata beats the crowned champion to a dominant victory

Sacha Fenestraz (B-Max Racing with motopark)
Ritomo Miyata(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM’S)

 In the qualifying that had started at 8:35 am under cloudy skies Fenestraz topped early attacks on first set of fresh tyres, but fell a bit short of taking pole position which was snatched by Miyata who significantly improved his times on his second set of tyres to 1m20.990. The TOM’S man was the only driver who did under 1 minute 20 secs.

 Charles Milesi (YTB by Carlin), Sakaguchi, Enaam Ahmed (B-Max Racing with motopark F3), Yoshiaki Katayama (YTB by Carlin), Toshiki Oyu (TODA FIGHTEX) and Hiroki Otsu (ThreeBond F318) were the top eight qualifiers in this order even though Milesi would be forced to start the race from the tail of the field for running over the speed limit on the pitlane.

 Following a brief drizzle the weather had gradually got better and the temperatures had rapidly gone up when all the 13 cars left the dummy grid for formation lap at 1:25 pm.

 At the start Miyata slipped down the inside on the run to turn one to protect his line from a good-starting Fenestraz to snatch the holeshot. Fenestraz continued his overtaking attempts at the Attwood turn and the hairpin, but each time Miyata firmly defended his lead. From here, Miyata proceeded to keep his rival at arm’s length.

 With Katayama and Oyu struggling to get up to speed in P5 and P6 respectively in the aftermath of Ahmed’s engine stall at the start Otsu negotiated the traffic to fourth place. Milesi also made up his lost ground.

■A wild-card Sakaguchi completes the podium

Sena Sakaguchi(Collora Chukyo Kuo TEAM TOM’S)

 Up front, Miyata set the fastest lap on lap five with 1m22.694, and while lapping at impressive pace at 1 minute 22 secs to 23 secs flat, opened up his lead over Fenestraz running at the lower 1m23sec, ending up 7.076 sec clear of the Frenchman at the chequered flag.

 Thus, Miyata enjoyed a lonely race to pick up his seventh win of the season. Keeping up with Fenestraz throughout the race a wild-card Sakaguchi completed the podium finish.

 Otsu, Oyu and Katayama rounded out the top six. Milesi narrowly missed out on the points after scything his way through the order and hunting down Shunsuke Kohno (RS FINE K&N F318) in the early stages to finish seventh, having started from the tail of the field.

DRAGON(B-Max Racing with motopark)

 Now all eyes are on who will win the very last race of the 41-year-long run Japanese Formula 3 championship on Sunday, whether Miyata will go lights-to-flag again, or Fenestraz or someone else will stop Miyata’s winning streak.