Yoshiaki Katayama won all three races of Formula Regional Japanese Championship’s Okayama season opener.
The 27-year-old, who’s sharing a car with Super Formula legend Satoshi Motoyama in Super GT this year, has raced in Super Formula Lights for the past five seasons and took one win in 2019 when Carlin co-ran his Okayama Team entry.
Switching to Regional Formula 3 has immediately increased his win tally, although he was beaten to pole for the first race of the weekend by privateer Yusuke Shiotsu who is a graduate of Japanese Formula 4.
Pre-race rain didn’t have too much impact on the racing although did affect the surface grip. Shiotsu made a good start to keep the lead off the line, but Katayama stuck to him and then made a great pass around the outside of the hairpin.
From there the win was his, and he ended the 18-lap race with an advantage of nearly 15 seconds over second place.
TOM’S driver Yuga Furutani was the runner-up after clearing Shiotsu early on, as a battle raged for fourth between Takashi Ito and Ai Miura.
Miura eventually made an move at the hairpin, then spent the rest of the race huting Shiotsu for third.
Ito finished a distant fifth, just ahead of Lucca Allen, while DRAGON crashed out and his car was left as the side of the track.
Katayama took pole for the next two races, with race two again starting on a greasy track and behind the safety car as well.
While Katayama pulled away at the green flag, Furutani had the pace to match this time and they gapped the rest of the field together. They finished 2.161s apart up front, with Miura earning her second podium from seven seasons in F3 by finishing 10s back in third place.
Katayama ran old tyres for race three but it still didn’t stop him from winning, and this time he only just held off Furutani for victory. Miura was third again, and Allen just behind in fourth. DRAGON took the Masters classfication win in sixth, making a strong comeback after his race one off and then having race two ruined by mechanical issues.
Race 1 (18 laps)
1 Yoshiaki Katayama Okayama Team 26m13.277s
2 Yuga Furutani TOM’S +14.609s
3 Yusuke Shiotsu +20.624s
4 Ai Miura Super License +21.344s
5 Takashi Ito Raise Up Motorsport +30.582s
6 Lucca Allen Sutekina Racing Team +31.194s
7 Yuki Tanaka Eagle Sports +36.698s
8 Nobuhiro Imada B-Max Engineering +45.714s
9 Takumi B-Max Engineering +48.143s
10 Masayuki Ueda Rn-sports +1m10.884s
Pole: Shiotsu, 1m26.069s
Fastest lap: Katayama, 1m26.614s
Race 2 (18 laps)
1 Katayama 28m48.935s
2 Furutani +2.161s
3 A Miura +10.526s
4 Allen +17.863s
5 Shiotsu +23.183s
6 Tanaka +29.174s
7 Takumi +34.986s
8 Imada +35.405s
9 Takashi Hata Super License +50.980s
10 Masaru Miura CMS +57.900s
P: Katayama, 1m25.717s
FL: Katayama, 1m26.987s
Race 3 (18 laps)
1 Katayama 26m27.528s
2 Furutani +0.792s
3 Shiotsu +8.834s
4 A Miura +12.299s
5 Ito +27.481s
6 DRAGON B-Max Engineering +38.552s
7 Imada +38.879s
8 Takumi +53.005s
9 M Miura +59.738s
10 Allen +1m03.635s
P: Katayama, 1m26.158s
FL: Furutani, 1m27.313s
1 Katayama 75 2 Furutani 54 3 Shiotsu 40 4 A Miura 39 5 Allen 21 6 Ito 20 7 Tanaka 14 8 Imada 14 9 Takumi 12 10 DRAGON 8