Sacha Fenestraz got his Japanese Formula Three campaign off to a perfect start, with victory in the first race at Suzuka.
Fenestraz qualified second behind pole sitter and last year’s runner-up, Ritomo Miyata.
However, Miyata got a slow start and lost the lead to Fenestraz on the run down to Turn 1.
The pair then proceeded to pull away from the pack.
On Lap 2, Shunsuke Konho used the slipstream advantage to go around the outside of Charles Milesi at Turn 1 to take eighth place.
Konho then set his sights on Milesi’s team-mate Yoshiaki Katayama and repeated the same manouvere on Lap 4 to move up to seventh.
The battle for third place saw some great racing between Toshiki Oyu, Kazuko Kakota and Enaam Ahmed.
Kokata attempted a pass at the Casio Chicane at the end of Lap 7, only for Oyu to slam the door shut.
Then, on the pit straight Kokata try to recreate Konho’s earlier passes around the outside of Turn 1. However, Oyu held his line and kept the position.
When they reached the chicane the following lap, Kokata went down the inside to claim third place.
This proved to be temporary, as Oyu would force his force on the pit straight and re-take the position.
By this point, fifth-placed Ahmed had caught up to them.
So, when Kokata could through at the chicane once again, Oyu’s slow exit allowed Ahmed to move up to fourth.
Shortly after, Ahmed then got passed Kokata at Turn 1 to move up to third place.
Despite persistent pressure from Miyata, Fenestraz held on to win on his Japanese Formula Three debut.
Ahmed finished ahead of Kokata and Oyu, with Hiroku Otsu in sixth place.
2019 Japanese Formula Three – Round One Results, Suzuka Circuit
|Pos.||Driver (Nationality), Team||Time|
|1||Sacha Fenestraz (FRA), B-Max Racing with Motopark||12 Laps|
|2||Ritomo Miyata (JPN), Team TOM’s||+0.576|
|3||Enaam Ahmed (GBR), B-Max Racing with Motopark||+15.470|
|4||Kazuko Kokata (JPN), Team TOM’s||+16.084|
|5||Toshiki Oyu (JPN), Toda Racing||+17.845|
|6||Hiroki Otsu (JPN), ThreeBond Racing||+18.390|
|7||Shunsuke Kohno (JPN), RS Fine||+18.800|
|8||Yoshiaki Katayama (JPN), YTB by Carlin||+19.780|
|9||Charles Milesi (FRA), YTB by Carlin||+20.683|
|10||Ai Miura (JPN), ThreeBond Racing||+29.649|
|11||Tairoku Yamaguchi (JPN), Tairoku Racing||+38.544|
|12||Ryuji ‘Dragon’ Kumita (JPN), B-Max Racing with Motopark||+45.905|
|13||Katsuaki Kubota (JPN), Hanashima Racing||+54.821|
|14||Ameya Vaidyanathan (IND), B-Max Racing with Motopark||+3 Laps|