Home Formula 4Japanese F4 Hibiki Taira completes Suzuka triple win in Japanese F4

Hibiki Taira completes Suzuka triple win in Japanese F4

by Elliot Wood

Photo: Japanese F4

Toyota junior Hibiki Taira became the first driver to win three races in one weekend in Japanese Formula 4 at Suzuka with his fifth victory in a row.

Fastest lap in the first race of the weekend put Zap Speed’s Rin Arakawa on pole ahead of Taira, but it was Taira who made the better launch and was into the lead before the first corner of the race.

Arakawa stayed close to Taira over the opening two laps, but at the start of lap three of 11 he went off at Turn 3 and ended up in the barriers. His crash only required yellow flags at that corner, with no need for the safety car.

His early departure promoted Helm Motorsports’ Reiji Hiraki to second, but he was already 3.8 seconds behind the leader.

That gap grew over the rest of the race, and Hiraki went unchallenged for position by Vegaplus’s returnee Kakunoshin Ohta in third.

The closest battle of the race was for fourth, with Saccess Racing’s Seiya Motojima leading Ohta’s team-mate Syun Koide.

Koide was all over Motojima at the end of the fourth lap, but it took until 130R on lap five that he attempted a move. Motojima defended the inside, taking too much kerb in doing so, while Koide ran wide while taking the outside line but completed the move for fourth.

Down the pit straight Motojima drew back alongside, and reclaimed the place around the outside of Turn 1. Koide kept on the pressure, almost getting by at the same corner on lap eight.

Their battle drew in OTG Motor Sports’ Reimei Ito, who started to force Koide into defence at Turn 1. On the penultimate lap he went around the outside of the corner to snatch fifth, with Koide going deeper into Turn 2 to try to reclaim the place but unable to do so.

Koide finished sixth, ahead of Sota Ogawa (Skill Speed), and Ryunosuke Sawa (Bionic Jack Racing).

Race results (11 laps)
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Hibiki Taira TGR-DC RS 23m25.223s
2 Reiji Hiraki Helm Motorsports +5.947s
3 Kakunoshin Ohta Vegaplus +7.931s
4 Seiya Motojima Saccess Racing +10.926s
5 Reimei Ito OTG Motor Sports +12.325s
6 Syun Koide Vegaplus +12.946s
7 Sota Ogawa Skill Speed +13.681s
8 Ryunosuke Sawa Bionic Jack Racing +15.460s
9 Yuki Urata Akiland Racing +16.387s
10 Hirotaka Kikuchi ATEAM Buzz Motorsport +16.911s
11 Seita Nonaka TGR-DC RS +17.247s
12 Yoshiaki Nakamura Saccess Racing +18.419s
13 Yugo Iwasawa Rn-sports +18.786s
14 Yuga Furutani TOM’S +21.571s
15 Eijirou Shimizu TGR-DC RS +23.319s
16 Daiki Fujiwara KRac Motorsports +24.520s
17 Kaito Tsukada Media Do Kageyama Racing +24.947s
18 Fuma Horio Team Samurai +34.286s
19 Jiei Okuzumi TGR-DC RS +35.457s
20 Sergeyevich Sato Field Motorsports +39.767s
21 Makio Saito Akiland Racing +45.573s
22 Makoto Hotta Rn-sports +45.975s
23 Ikari Bionic Jack Racing +48.538s
24 Yusuke Tsuchiya Team Liaison +51.493s
25 Hachiro Osaka Zap Speed +1m01.981s
26 Masayoshi Oyama Akiland Racing +1m07.258s
27 Motoyoshi Yoshida Zap Speed +1m09.668s
28 Keiji Nakao Ito Engineering +1m14.190s
29 Yugo N-SPEED +1m28.046s
30 Max Salo ATEAM Buzz Motorsport +1 lap
Ret Rin Arakawa Zap Speed
Fastest lap: Taira, 2m08.381s

Championship standings
1 Taira 127.5   2 Hiraki 86.5   3 Nonaka 72   4 Ito 46   5 Arakawa 41   6 Seiya Jin 37   7 Ohta 34   8 Ogawa 32   9 Sawa 20   10 Motojima 14