Sena Sakaguchi topped the post-season Japanese Formula 3 test at Suzuka, marking the public debut of the Dallara 320.
Two rolling chassis of the halo-shod single-seater – which will be introduced to the series next year – were on-track with the B-MAX Racing with Motopark team, and were joined by seven of the current Dallara F312/317 cars.
The two-day test kicked off in the wet, with Sakaguchi immediately setting the pace in the new car.
His closest rival was team-mate Raoul Hyman, who raced as a Sauber junior in FIA F3 Championship this year and was testing an original Dallara F312 chassis.
Euroformula Open podium finisher Simo Laaksonen briefly bettered Hyman in the second of the 320s, but the South African replied at the end of Wednesday’s morning session with the second fastest lap behind Sakaguchi.
Honda junior Teppei Natori, who raced in FIA F3 and EF Open this year, was the man to beat once running switched to slick tyres in the afternoon session.
Sakaguchi and Laaksonen soon bettered the Toda Racing driver’s best lap in their faster cars, but Laaksonen was then shuffled back down the order by Hyman, RS Fine’s Shunsuke Kohno and Motopark’s Ameya Vaidyanathan.
The Thursday morning session was drier, and this enabled the two Dallara 320 testers to showcase the new car.
Sakaguchi ended up over a second faster than Laaksonen, who was 0.081s clear of experienced F3 driver Hyman. The session was interrupted by a red flag period caused when the fifth Motopark car of DRAGON crashed.
Cloud cover meant the final test session was cooler, and most drivers didn’t improve on their best times.
Natori, who is considering a return to Japan in 2020, was the high-profile crasher this time around and ended up way off th pace.
Sakaguchi was once again fastest, with Hyman putting in a strong lap to improve on his morning time and get to within 0.041s of Laaksonen’s best.
In addition to the Dallara 320s in action in Japan, British teams Carlin and Fortec Motorsports have also taken delivery of the new car to race in EF Open next year.
|1||Sena Sakaguchi||B-MAX w/ Motopark||1m49.566s|
|2||Simo Laaksonen||B-MAX w/ Motopark||+1.174s|
|3||Raoul Hyman||B-MAX w/ Motopark||+1.215s|
|4||Ameya Vaidyanathan||B-MAX w/ Motopark||+1.588s|
|5||Shunsuke Kohno||RS Fine||+1.922s|
|6||Teppei Natori||Toda Racing||+2.515s|
|7||DRAGON||B-MAX w/ Motopark||+3.010s|
|8||Katsuaki Kubota||Hanashima Racing||+6.028s|