Sacha Fenestraz became the Japanese Formula 3 champion with a round to spare after the B-MAX Racing with Motopark driver won two of the three races at Twin Ring Motegi.
Going into the weekend with a good chance of being able to wrap up the championship, Fenestraz put his car on pole for the first race on Saturday ahead of TOM’S driver and championship rival Ritomo Miyata.
Fenestraz and Miyata were the class of the field throughout the weekend. Miyata tried to find a way past Fenestraz on the opening lap of race one but couldn’t make an early move work. The Japanese driver had to settle for second, although the pair finished over 13 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Miyata started race two from pole position thanks to a quick second-fastest lap time in qualifying. Despite going wide and kicking up some dust on the opening lap, he was able to keep Fenestraz at bay to give himself a small chance of keeping the championship fight open to the final round.
However that chance disappeared by the end of race three. Fenestraz was on pole again after his race one win alongside Miyata, who was passed by Toshiki Oyu at the beginning of lap one.
Miyata quickly regained second place and got back onto the tail of Fenestraz as, like in the opening race of the weekend, the pair pulled away from the rest of the field.
Despite staying in close range to Fenestraz, the French-Argentinian driver beat Miyata by 0.632s at the chequered flag. With a 30 point gap between the two drivers and 24 points the maximum amount achievable at the second Okayama round, Fenestraz became the final Japanese F3 champion before the series rebrands to Super Formula Lights.
The final step of the podium was achieved by three different drivers across the three races. Oyu finished third on Saturday after originally starting from seventh, before finishing fifth and seventh in the two races on Sunday.
Miyata’s TOM’S team-mate Kazuto Kotaka kept hold of third place throughout race two after he was forced to retire in race one after a collision with Charles Milesi. Kotaka missed out on another podium in the final race of the weekend to ThreeBond Racing’s Hiroki Otsu.
Enaam Ahmed had a very difficult weekend that started with gaining a puncture on the opening lap of race one after Kotaka hit his rear left wheel, leading him to retire from the race. Despite also not finishing inside of the top 10 in the other two races, Ahmed still keeps hold of third in the championship standings.
Race 1 (14 laps)
1 Sacha Fenestraz B-MAX Racing with Motopark 24m49.366s
2?Ritomo Miyata TOM’S +2.104s
3 Toshiki Oyu Toda Racing +15.431s
4 Hiroki Otsu ThreeBond Racing +18.970s
5 Ukyo Sasahara B-MAX Racing with Motopark +19.626s
6 Yoshiaki Katayama Okayama Team +26.414s
7 Shunsuke Kohno RS Fine +28.295s
8 Ameya Vaidyanathan B-MAX Racing with Motopark +30.274s
9 Dragon B-MAX Racing with Motopark +44.222s
10 Katsuaki Kubota Hamashima Racing +50.982s
Pole: Fenestraz, 1m44.391s
Fastest lap: Fenestraz, 1m45.574s
Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Miyata 24m43.469s
2 Fenestraz +3.789s
3 Kazuto Kotaka TOM’S +5.599s
4 Charles Milesi Okayama Team +11.519s
5 Oyu +12.338s
6 Kohno +19.083s
7 Yoshiaka Katayama Okayama Team +22.822s
8 Otsu +23.176s
9 Sasahara +23.421
10 Vaidyanathan +24.478s
P: Miyata, 1m44.635s
FL: Miyata, 1m45.143s
Race 3 (20 laps)
1 Fenestraz 35m25.095s
2 Miyata +0.632s
3 Otsu +16.694s
4 Kotaka +28.554s
5 Milesi +31.555s
6 Sasahara +32.167s
7 Oyu +32.720s
8 Dragon +47.018s
9 Katayama +50.346s
10 Kubota +1m12.935s
FL: Miyata, 1m45.740s
1?Fenestraz 148? ?2?Miyata 118? ?3?Ahmed 63? ?4?Oyu 56? ?5?Kotaka 48? ?6?Otsu 32? ?7?Katayama 30? ?8?Milesi 13? ?9?Sena Sakaguchi 10? ?10?Kohno 10