Honda junior Syun Koide moved into the lead of the Japanese Formula 4 championship at Fuji Speedway by extending his winning run to five races.
Qualifying was cancelled due to heavy fog but Koide still took pole for race one having set the pace in free practice ahead of Toyota junior Rin Arakawa.
The fog remained for the race, and Koide immediately swerved off the line to defend his lead. The safety car was out on the opening lap as cars barged into each other and it knocked Yuta Fujiwara out of the race.
Racing resumed on lap four, and the top two of Koide and Rin Arakawa broke away. On many laps, Koide weaved down the pit straight in an attempt to break the tow but he could not shake off Arakawa, who finished a second behind.
pre-race points leader Yusuke Mitsui tried to pass Koide as they crossed the timing beam. Koide stayed ahead, and next time by he weaved down the long pit straight in an attempt to break the tow.
Reimei Ito was third at the start, but pre-race points leader Yusuke Mitsui tried to pass him as soon as they got to the timing line and after a few corners of hustling eventually got through.
Ito then came under pressure from Bionic Jack Racing’s Yugo Iwasawa, but he then got passed by Takuya Otaki. He reclaimed fifth a few corners later, and they went on fighting wheel-to-wheel for another two laps. Jin Nakamura was able to pass Otaki, and that then freed Iwasawa to catch Ito and get ahead of him.
Ito just held off Nakamura through the final lap to finish fifth, and Toyota’s Rikuto Kobayashi set fastest lap – earning himself race two pole due to qualifying’s cancellation – on his way to seventh. Otaki came eighth, ahead of Kazuma Nishimura and Gento Miyashita’s battle for ninth.
Daiki Fujiwara got between them at the end, but was penalised 40s for contact with Takumi Sato early on.
Kobayashi went from first to fifth in the sunny race two, with Mitsui taking the lead from him into the opening corner. He fell to third on lap three after battling with Koide, and got passed by Arakawa later in the lap too, then on the next lap Iwasawa cleared him too.
Koide made it into the race lead on lap five, passing Mitsui at turn three, but couldn’t pull away and often weaved down the pit straight again to stay ahead. He won by 1.1s, and Iwasawa finished third after two passes on Arakawa.
His first was a brilliantly executed pass around the outside at the chicane, but Arakawa got back ahead into turn one. A few laps later Iwasawa overtook him again.
All the positions behind were hotly contested, and Fuma Horio finished an impressive sixth ahead of Ito and Miyashita.
Race 1 (14 laps)
1 Syun Koide HFDP 27m27.132s
2 Rin Arakawa TGR-DC RS +1.035s
3 Yusuke Mitsui HFDP +2.817s
4 Yugo Iwasawa Bionic Jack Racing +7.126s
5 Reimei Ito OTG Motor Sports +9.272s
6 Jin Nakamura TGR-DC RS +9.274s
7 Rikuto Kobayashi TGR-DC RS +10.067s
8 Takuya Otaki Media Do Kageyama Racing +11.286s
9 Kazuma Nishimura HFDP +13.161s
10 Gento Miyashita Skill Speed +14.182s
Pole: Koide, 1m46.739s
Fastest lap: Kobayashi, 1m46.330s
Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Koide 25m03.220s
2 Mitsui +1.164s
3 Iwasawa +4.624s
4 Arakawa +5.115s
5 Kobayashi +5.402s
6 Fuma Horio Helm Motorsports +7.710s
7 Ito +8.059s
8 Miyashita +8.712s
9 Nakamura +12.603s
10 Kotaro Shimbara Zap Speed +12.673s
FL: Iwasawa, 1m46.662s
1 Koide 125 2 Mitsui 112 3 Iwasawa 79 4 Arakawa 57 5 Ito 55 6 Kobayashi 34 7 Nakamura 29 8 Nishimura 26 9 Sato 23 10 Jiei Okuzumi 14