TOM’S driver Ritomo Miyata won the Super Formula Lights title a round early at Suzuka.
B-MAX Racing’s Sena Sakaguchi beat Miyata in qualifying, and did everything to hold on to his pole advantage at the start of the race.
He immediately swept across from the outside towards the pitwall, a gap Miyata was in and only just cleared without contact.
The move proved pointless, as Miyata had the inside line and took the lead while RS Fine’s Shunsuke Kohno picked the outside and swept around Sakaguchi at the exit of the first corner to claim second. Sakaguchi was then penalised 30 seconds for his swerve.
On lap seven of 12 a position was regained by Sakaguchi at the same corner, but Miyata was already way ahead and the penalty left Sakaguchi in eighth.
Miyata’s team-mate Kazuto Kotaka hassled Kohno late on but couldn’t get past and claimed third, and B-Max Engineering’s Yoshiaki Katayama shook off Toda Racing’s Honda junior Teppei Natori for fourth.
Takashi Hata crashed his B-MAX Racing-run car at the exit of Spoon Curve on lap two, but the safety car wasn’t called out while marshals spent several laps trying retrieving the car.
Sakaguchi was more cautous from race two pole, but had time to move to the inside this time and it was Miyata who was compromised as Kotaka went by for second place.
After the first corner there was no change in the top three until mid-distance, when Miyata spun out at high speed. This promoted Natori to third, but he had Kohno right on his gearbox.
Natori’s defending brough Katayama into play, before Kohno overtook around the outside of the first corner. It was Natori with the better traction to exit the corner ahead though, and their battling also drew in Albirex Racing’s Tsubasa Iriyama.
Several lock-ups at the final chicane showed how hard Natori was pushing, and he held onto third.
Miyata was a controlling leader again in race three, this time from pole, while Sakaguchi had to work his way up to second place, taking it on the final lap after going side-by-side with Kotaka through the S Curves. There was a similarly close battle for fourth, with Kohno edging Natori.
Race 1 (12 laps)
1 Ritomo Miyata TOM’S 22m16.776s
2 Shunsuke Kohno RS Fine +11.546s
3 Kazuto Kotaka TOM’S +11.795s
4 Yoshiaki Katayama B-Max Engineering +18.420s
5 Teppei Natori Toda Racing +21.122s
6 Lucca Allen Albirex Racing +25.700s
7 Tsubasa Iriyama Albirex Racing +26.050s
8 Sena Sakaguchi B-MAX Racing +40.003s
9 DRAGON B-Max Engineering +57.055s
10 Nobuhiro Imada B-MAX Racing +1m00.715s
Pole: Sakaguchi, 1m49.046s
Fastest lap: Miyata, 1m50.714s
Race 2 (12 laps)
1 Sakaguchi 22m16.182s
2 Kotaka +1.157s
3 Natori +16.993s
4 Kohno +17.632s
5 Katayama +17.983s
6 Iriyama +18.753s
7 DRAGON +41.270s
8 Masayuki Ueda Rn-sports +50.488s
Ret Takashi Hata B-MAX Racing
P: Sakaguchi, 1m49.337s
FL: Miyata, 1m50.771s
Race 3 (17 laps)
1 Miyata 22m14.764s
2 Sakaguchi +6.254s
3 Kotaka +6.415s
4 Kohno +15.385s
5 Natori +16.113s
6 Allen +20.230s
7 Katayama +24.798s
8 DRAGON +47.273s
9 Ueda +55.648s
10 Imada +59.588s
FL: Miyata, 1m51.475s
1 Miyata 136 2 Sakaguchi 107 3 Kotaka 55 4 Natori 47 5 Kohno 32 6 Katayama 10 7 Mitsunori Takaboshi 8 8 Iriyama 6 9 Seiya Jin 4 10 Allen 4