April 2, 2013


Formula Challenge Japan, Rounds 1 & 2 Race Report

Fuji Speedway, Shizuoka prefecture (30-31 March, 2013) - The first and second rounds of the Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) series were held at Fuji Speedway, with the #14 machine of Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP) driver Kiyoto Fujinami placing fourth in the season's opening race.

Fujinami first participated as an NDDP driver in last year's FCJ. This year is his second year in the category and at the joint tests held before the opening rounds he displayed speed that regularly placed him in the top group. Even in qualifying he beat his personal best time by a wide margin. Fujinami secured consecutive pole positions for the two opening races.

With refreshing his feeling,he was ready for entry to the season's second contest, which got started on the 31st (Sunday) at 12:35. Since it had rained during the night, track conditions were wet. Although it was difficult to make a good dash at the start, Fujinami nonetheless displayed his cool, making a good getaway and entering the first corner in the lead. Despite his rivals fighting each other closely due to the slippery surface, Fujinami finished the opening lap in third place. Then, as he came onto the home straight on lap 3, he made contact with the car ahead, causing him to go off track at the first corner and forcing him into retirement.

Kiyoto Fujinami (1st Round: 4th, 2nd Round: retired)
"For both races I was able to make a calm start but I was made painfully aware of my weakness in putting together an opening strategy for the race. Although I was able to finish in fourth place for the first round, I crashed in the second. Even though I was able to start in pole position, not being able to hold onto the top spot robbed me of my cool. I learned a lot about the technical aspects but I'm very disappointed at not being able to produce better results. I would like to make sure I don't make the same mistakes again and win next time."

Click images above to see larger versions.


[ Race Results ] - Rd.1
Pos No Machine Drivers Time / Behind
1 11 FTRS TMC FCJ Sho Tsuboi 25'50.087
2 5 HFDP/SRS-F/Kochira R Keishi Ishikawa 1.929
3 5 HFDP/SRS-F/ARTA Shota Kiyohara 4.863
4 14 NDDP FCJ Kiyoto Fujinami 4.930

[ Race Results ] - Rd.2
Pos No Machine Drivers Time / Behind
1 4 HFDP/SRS-F/Kochira R Tsubasa Takahashi 39'37.053
2 5 HFDP/SRS-F/Kochira R Keishi Ishikawa 2.966
3 1 FTRS FCJ Kenta Yamashita 9.868
- 14 NDDP FCJ Kiyoto Fujinami -20Laps


Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ)

Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) is a race series that, through the cooperation of the three automakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda, was founded in 2006 using a new junior formula (open-wheel) car. In FCJ, as the focus is put on improving drivers' skills, participating vehicles are all identical and cannot, under any circumstances, be modified from their original specification. The chassis is built by Italian specialist constructor Tatuus, with engine supply coming from Renault. The three manufacturers Nissan, Toyota, and Honda have all embarked on driver training programs, and support participating drivers. NISSAN's driver training program, NDDP (NISSAN Driver Development Program) is aimed at "training young drivers so they can play an active role in motorsport globally, and also in Japan's top racing categories."

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