Iori Kimura was the star driver at Sportsland SUGO in Japanese Formula 4, although a penalty cost him a double win.
Syun Koide and Reimei Ito were the top two in qualifying one, but Ito immediately cost himself a chance at fighting for the win in race one as a slow start dropped him behind Honda junior Kimura.
He couldn’t find a way back past during the 16-lap race, as the top three pulled away from the rest of the field. Koide had Kimura in his mirrors for much of the action, but late on he pulled out a gap to finish 1.951 seconds clear. Ito was just 0.181s further back, while the three-car battle for fourth that had initially been dropped also closed back on the frontrunners late on.
Rin Arakawa held off Seita Nonaka and Ryosuke Matsuzawa throughout, although his task was helped late on when Makio Saito beached himself at turn three and yellow flags were waved there for the final two laps. Saito had also been the cause of an abandoned start to the race as he was wheeled into the pitlane from the grid.
Kimura claimed pole for race two, and converted into a win under race-long pressure from Ito. The pair broke away from the battle for the final podium spot within a lap, but a mid-race safety car interruption after Max Salo went off into the gravel brough the pack back together.
Koide passed Matsuzawa on lap one for third, and he briefly challenged Ito on the safety car restart for second place as Ito’s tyres weren’t up to temperature. By the next lap he was back under pressure from Matsuzawa though, and he actually tapped the rear of Koide down the pit straight.
The positions didn’t change, and Koide secured third. On the penultimate lap there was a crash that wiped out Hachiro Osaka and Masayoshi Oyama, but it didn’t interrupt proceedings.
Kimura looked set for a lights-to-flag win in race three, but a mid-race safety car period was the undoing of a double win for the second round in a row – having copped a penalty when set for victory last time out at Suzuka.
He held off Ito at the start, and did so again after the safety car caused by Wataru Yoshimura driving into the barriers. But his driving on the restart was deemed too agressive and he was handed a drive-through penalty.
That limited him to 26th place, and handed Ito his first ever win ahead of Nonaka and Koide.
Race 1 (16 laps)
1 Syun Koide HFDP 22m44.438s
2 Iori Kimura HFDP +1.951s
3 Reimei Ito OTG Motor Sports +2.132s
4 Rin Arakawa TGR-DC RS +4.590s
5 Seita Nonaka TGR-DC RS +5.082s
6 Ryosuke Matsuzawa Helm Motorsports +7.083s
7 Seiya Motojima Saccess Racing +9.461s
8 Kakunoshin Ohta HFDP +11.576s
9 Jiei Okuzumi TGR-DC RS +12.019s
10 Eijiro Shimizu TGR-DC RS +16.290s
Pole: Koide, 1m24.228s
Fastest lap: Kimura, 1m24.349s
Race 2 (17 laps)
1 Kimura 27m10.507s
2 Ito +0.565s
3 Koide +2.456s
4 Matsuzawa +3.856s
5 Arakawa +4.518s
6 Motojima +5.096s
7 Nonaka +5.633s
8 Okuzumi +6.463s
9 Ohta +7.090s
10 Shimizu +8.022s
P: Kimura, 1m24.335s
FL: Kotaro Shimbara, 1m24.986s
Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Ito 29m25.017s
2 Nonaka +1.025s
3 Koide +4.770s
4 Arakawa +5.677s
5 Motojima +6.234s
6 Ohta +6.522s
7 Yugo Iwasawa Bionic Jack Racing +7.700s
8 Matsuzawa +7.931s
9 Takuya Otaki Media Do Kageyama Racing +9.899s
10 Shimizu +10.213s
FL: Nonaka, 1m24.931s
1 Nonaka 155 2 Arakawa 137 3 Kimura 137 4 Ito 126 5 Koide 108 6 Ohta 105 7 Shimizu 61 8 Okuzumi 54 9 Motojima 45 10 Matsuzawa 45