Japanese F3: Fenestraz, Miyata and Katayama on Song in Okayama

YTB by Carlin driver Yoshiaki Katayama leads the Japanese F3 field around the Okayama International Circuit © Motorsport Forum

The third round of the 2019 Japanese F3 Championship saw Sacha Fenestraz, Ritomo Miyata and Yoshiaki Katayama all claim wins at Okayama.

Fenestraz Continues Dominance, Ahmed Falters

Sacha Fenestraz celebrates his fifth race win of the Japanese F3 Championship in Okayama. Image sourced from @Corazondef1 via Twitter.

Earlier in the week, a driver change had been made at Team TOM’s, with Sena Sakaguchi replacing Kazuko Kotaka.

The first race saw Sacha Fenestraz continue his momentum from Autopolis and start from pole position.

However, the Frenchman got bogged down at the start and allowed Enaam Ahmed to take the lead from fifth.

Unfortunately, the B-Max driver was forced to pit and receiving a penalty for a jump start shortly after.

Hanashima Racing’s Katsuaki Kubota was also punished for his jump start, and eventually finished last of the 14 drivers.

This handed the lead back to Fenestraz, who pulled away and a sizeable gap to claim his fourth consecutive race win.

Behind him, Yoshiaki Katayama (YTB by Carlin) was battling with Suzuka race winner Ritomo Miyata (Team TOM’s) over second place.

The two drivers remained with a second of each other for the majority of the race and saw Miyata set the fastest lap. Despite this, Katayama was able to control the pace and claimed second.

Further back, Katayama’s team-mate Charles Milesi finished fourth, ahead of the returning Sakaguchi.

Toda Racing’s Toshiki Oyu took the final points-playing position in sixth, while Ahmed’s recovery drive saw the Brit finish in tenth.

Miyata Claims Second Win of the Season

Ritomo Miyata (centre) on the podium after the second Japanese F3 race at Okayama. He is joined on the podium by Sacha Fenestraz (left) and Sena Sakaguchi (right). © Motorsport Forum

Race two in Okayama saw Ritomo Miyata lead at the start, from Sacha Fenestraz and Sena Sakaguchi.

For the majority of the race, the trio were close together and remained within three seconds of each other.

Then, on Lap 13, Hiroki Otsu crashed at Turn 1. This brought out the Safety Car and neutralised the field.

With just one lap to go, the race restarted and saw Fenestraz try to lunged down Miyata into Turn 1.

However, the Japanese driver shut the door and held on to claim his second victory of the season.

Fenestraz settled for second, but extended his championship lead, with Sakaguchi in third on his Japanese F3 comeback.

YTB’s Yoshiaki Katayama and Charles Milesi were fourth and fifth repsectively, while Toshiki Oyu pipped Enaam Ahmed to the last point in sixth.

Katayama Reaches the Summit

A jubilant Yoshiaki Katayama celebrates his maiden win in the Japanese F3 Championship © Motorsport Forum

Yoshiaki Katayama was on pole for the final race of the weekend from pole and led at the start.

Further back, Enaam Ahmed hit the car of Hiroki Otsu at Turn 12 and found himself at the back of the pack.

The British driver would retire a few laps later, ending a horrid series of races which yielded no points.

Back at the front, Katayama created a small gap to Sacha Fenestraz and Rimoto Miyata in second and third.

The action stagnated for the majority for the race, only for Fenestraz to attempt a late charge.

Despite his best efforts, the Frenchman couldn’t get close enough for an overtake and Katayama secured his first win in the series.

Fenestraz took second, with Miyata in third and Sena Sakaguchi a further four seconds behind in fourth.

Charles Milesi spent most of the race unchallenged in fifth, while Toshiki Oyu ended the race in sixth.

Fenestraz Enhances Iron Grip on the Championship

After eight races, Sacha Fenestraz now leads the Drivers’ Championship on 73 points.  Behind him, Ritomo Miyata moves to second places, but is 30 points adrift.

Toshiki Oyu is in third on 29 points, while Yoshiaki Katayama’s win moving him up to fourth position with 23. Enaam Ahmed’s non-points scores in Okayama drops him fifth on 22 points.

2019 Japanese F3 Championship – Drivers’ Standings after Eight Rounds

Pos. Driver (Nationality), Team Points
1 Sacha Fenestraz (FRA), B-Max Racing with Motopark 73 Points
2 Ritomo Miyata (JPN), Corolla Chukyo Kuo Team TOM’s 43 Pts
3 Toshiki Oyu (JPN), Toda Racing 29
4 Yoshiaki Katayama (JPN), YTB by Carlin 23
5 Enaam Ahmed (GBR), B-Max Racing with Motopark 22
6 Kazuko Kotaka (JPN), Corolla Chukyo Kuo Team TOM’s 12
7 Sena Sakaguchi (JPN), Corolla Chukyo Kuo Team TOM’s 10
8 Hiroki Otsu (JPN), ThreeBond Racing 10
9 Shunsuke Kohno (JPN), RS Fine 8
10 Charles Milesi (FRA), YTB by Carlin 8
11 Ameya Vaidyanathan (IND), B-Max Racing with Motopark 0
12 Ai Miura (JPN), ThreeBond Racing 0
13 Tairoku Yamaguchi (JPN), Tairoku Racing 0
14 Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita (JPN), B-Max Racing with Motopark 0
15 Katsuaki Kubota (JPN), Hanashima Racing 0