Japanese F3: Fenestraz Claims Hat-Trick in Autopolis

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Sacha Fenestraz sprays the champagne after a dominant weekend at Autopolis in the Japanese F3 Championship. © Ryuji Hirano

Three successive wins at Autopolis for Sacha Fenestraz, has given the Frenchman a commanding lead in the Japanese F3 Championship

Fenestraz Dominates Rain-Shortened Opener

The first race at Autopolis occurred in torrential rain conditions, which subsequently caused the race stewards to started proceedings under the Safety Car.

When the race got underway, Sacha Fenestraz led from pole, ahead of Toshiki Oyu and Enaam Ahmed.

Behind them, Charles Milesi spun and dropped to last place. The Frenchman would recover and eventually finish tenth.

Katsuaki Kubota would also provide the only incident of the race, after spinning off and denting his rear wing.

Despite this, Kubota was able to continue and ended up a lap down in last place.

Japanese F3: Fenestraz Wins on Debut at Suzuka

The main battle of the race took place between TOM’s team-mates Kazuto Kokata and Rimoto Miyata for sixth place.

Despite constant pressure from Miyata, Kokata held firm and claimed the final point in sixth.

Back at the front, Fenestraz remained unchallenged to win, with Oyu a distant second and Ahmed in third.

Shinsuke Kohno and Hiroki Otsu were fourth and fifth respectively, with the aforementioned Kokata sixth.

B-Max Racing/Motopark driver Sacha Fenestraz en route to his second win of the 2019 Japanese F3 Championship. Image sourced from j-formula3.com

2019 Japanese F3 Championship – Race Three, Autopolis

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Time
1 Sacha Fenestraz (FRA), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 14 Laps
2 Toshiki Oyu (JPN), Toda Racing +7.246
3 Enaam Ahmed (GBR), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 +13.630
4 Shinsuke Kohno (JPN), RS Fine +22.945
5 Hiroki Otsu (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +30.286
6 Kazuko Kokata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +34.706
7 Rimoto Miyata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +35.110
8 Yoshiaki Katayama (JPN), YTB by Carlin +37.853
9 Ameya Vaidyanathan (IND), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 +38.470
10 Charles Milesi (FRA), YTB by Carlin +39.445
11 Tairoku Yamaguchi (JPN), Tairoku Racing +1:11.877
12 Ai Miura (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +1:12.200
13 Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita (JPN), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 +1:48.309
14 Katsuaki Kubota (JPN), Planex F3 +1 Lap

Fenestraz Doubles Up in the Wet

By the time the second race of the weekend had arrived, conditions had failed to improved. As a result, another Safety Car start was required.

After seven minutes, the green flag was brought out and saw Sacha Fenestraz lead from Toshiki Oyu and Enaam Ahmed.

Behind them, Katsuaki Kubota crashed again and lost his front wing instead and was the first retirement.

However, due to the position of his car on the track, the Safety Car was out once again.

On the second restart, Fenestraz maintained his lead from Oyu, while Ahmed had to defend third place from Shinsuke Kohno.

The two went side-to-side for several corners before the latter was forced to concede.

Japanese F3: Miyata Dominates Race Two at Suzuka

The Safety Car then made its third appearance after Tairoku Yamaguchi hit the car of Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita.

After Yamaguchi ran wide at Turn 1, he attempted to return to the racing line. While doing so, he cut across the path of Kumita, who was left with nowhere to go.

Consequently, the two drivers made contact and both sustained heavy damage as they ended up in the gravel trap.

Once the debris had been cleared, the drivers had one lap left and saw Fenestraz take his second win of the weekend. Oyu and Ahmed re-joined him on the podium, with Kohno in fourth place.

Hiroki Otsu claimed fifth for ThreeBond Racing, with Kazuko Kokata absorbing a last-ditch attempt from Charles Milesi to finish in sixth place.

Sacha Fenestraz (centre) on the Japanese F3 podium at Autopolis, alongside Toshiki Oyu (left) and Enaam Ahmed (right). Image sourced from j-formula3.com

2019 Japanese F3 Championship – Race Four, Autopolis

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Time
1 Sacha Fenestraz (FRA), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 13 Laps
2 Toshiki Oyu (JPN), Toda Racing +1.137
3 Enaam Ahmed (GBR), B-Max Racing with Motopark +2.189
4 Shunsuke Kohno (JPN), RS Fine +4.390
5 Hiroki Otsu (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +4.676
6 Kazuko Kokata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +5.898
7 Charles Milesi (FRA), YTB by Carlin +6.858
8 Rimoto Miyata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +7.845
9 Yoshiaki Katayama (JPN), YTB by Carlin +8.048
10 Ameya Viadyanathan (IND), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 +8.543
11 Ai Muira (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +10.896
Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita (JPN), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 Crashed
Tairoku Yamaguchi (JPN), Tairoku Racing Crashed
Katsuaki Kubota (JPN), Planex F3 Crashed

Fenestraz Completes the Hat-Trick

The track was dry for the third race, but saw light rainfall occur during the warm-up lap.

Pole sitter Sacha Fenestraz got a slow start and dropped to second behind Toshiki Oyu. Behind them, Hiroki Otsu moved past Enaam Ahmed for third place.

As the field tried to settle down, the track surface was causing problems for some drivers.

Ameya Viadyanathan had got up to fourth, but struggled to tame his car and fell to eighth within a single lap.

Ahmed experienced a bad end to the weekend, as was shown the black flag and disqualified. The Briton had recieved a drive-through penalty, but failed to serve it within three laps.

Elsewhere, Katsuaki Kubota experienced his third crash in as many races. Running alongside Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita on the approach to Turn 11, Kubota lost control of his car and crashed into the barriers.

Back at the front, the front two were well ahead. Fenestraz began to close the gap and shadowed Honda protege Oyu for several laps.

The Frenchman then finally took the lead around the outside of Turn 1. Fenestraz then pulled away and went on to claim his fourth win in five races.

Otsu finished a distant third, after holding off a resiliant Yoshiaki Katayama. Kazuko Kokata claimed fifth ahead of team-mate Rimoto Miyata.

Sacha Fenestraz’s three wins at Autopolis has enabled the Frenchman to lead the Drivers’ Championship. Image sourced from j-formula3.com

2019 Japanese F3 Championship – Race Five, Autopolis

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Time
1 Sacha Fenestraz (FRA), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 21 Laps
2 Toshiki Oyu (JPN), Toda Racing +3.042
3 Hiroki Otsu (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +36.424
4 Yoshiaki Katayama (JPN), YTB by Carlin +36.986
5 Kazuko Kokata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +37.883
6 Rimoto Miyata (JPN), Kuo Team TOM’s +38.820
7 Charles Milesi (FRA), YTB by Carlin +1 Lap
8 Shunsuke Kohno (JPN), RS Fine +1 Lap
9 Ameya Vaidyanathan (IND), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 +2 Laps
10 Ai Miura (JPN), ThreeBond Racing +2 Laps
11 Tairoki Yamaguchi (JPN), Tairoki Racing +2 Laps
Katsuaki Kubota (JPN), Planex F3 Crashed
Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita (JPN), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 Did Not Finish
Enaam Ahmed (GBR), B-Max Racing with Motopark F3 Disqualified

 

After the second round, Sacha Fenestraz has gained the lead of the Drivers’ Championship with 46 points. Toshiki Oyu moves into second with 26 points, with Rimoto Miyata and Enaam Ahmed tied for third on 22.

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