NISSAN MOTORSPORTS

November 12, 2013

NISSAN'S FUJINAMI SHOWS TENACITY IN FINAL RACE

Formula Challenge Japan Rounds 10 - 12 Race Report

November 9-10, Suzuka Circuit (Mie prefecture) - Rounds 10 through 12 of Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ) were held at Suzuka Circuit, where Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP) driver Kiyoto Fujinami (#14) finished the final race in 7th place.

Three races were held at this final round of the season. Joint tests were held on Thursday, and sufficient driving time was set aside on Friday for practice runs ahead of qualifying sessions and the trio of races, but Fujinami experienced mechanical issues near the end of the final practice session, and had to have an engine replacement prior to qualifying. There were two qualifying sessions, in which he finished 10th for Round 10, and 11th for Round 11.

Round 10 started at noon on the 9th (Sat.). Due to trouble with the signaling system, the length of the race was reduced by one lap from the originally scheduled 12. Fujinami made a favorable start, succeeding in climbing six positions, but with his tires not yet warmed up at the beginning of the race, he lost control, and fell back to his original position. Near the end of the race, he battled with the cars around him for 10th place, and maintained his position to finish in that position. In Round 11, held later in the afternoon on the same day, he passed several cars at the start, improving on his qualifying position by three places to finish 8th.

Round 12 was held on the morning of the 10th (Sun.), but heavy rain began falling during the formation lap, and the drivers were forced to stop their machines on the starting grid. The cars were all mounted on slick tires for dry conditions, so they switched to rain tires, and the 16-lap event (one lap shorter than originally planned) was restarted. The starting grid for Round 12 was decided based on the best times in Round 11, earning Fujinami 9th in the grid. He got into the points-earning range by advancing to 6th on the opening lap, and a battle for 6th place ensued with the three machines close behind him, but at the first corner on lap 6, he went slightly off track and lost the position. After that he was pursued by two other machines, but worked hard to block them at critical moments, protecting his 7th place to the finish.

Kiyoto Fujinami (Round 10: 10th, Round 11: 8th, Round 12: 7th)
“I went into this event wanting to win all three races, but we experienced mechanical trouble on Friday, and things got off to a bad start. In the two races on Saturday, I was able to improve my position at the start, but lost ground as the race went on. However, in the final race, I was able to hang on and not get overtaken easily, so I feel that I was able to make good use of my reflection on the previous day and make adjustments to my driving. This season I was able to take pole position twice in the season-opener, and made it to the podium in Round 4, but as the other machines got faster, my own results got worse. It's shame that I finished the season without getting any wins, but I want to do my best to show off what I learned this year in my future career.‘

Click images above to see larger versions.

 

[ Race Results ] - Rd.10
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 1 FTRS FCJ Kenta Yamashita 22'44.525
2 4 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Tsubasa Takahashi 1.630
3 5 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Keishi Ishikawa 2.314
10 14 NDDP FCJ Kiyoto Fujinami 22.066
[ Race Results ] - Rd.11
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 1 FTRS FCJ Kenta Yamashita 24'43.809
2 4 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Tsubasa Takahashi 1.427
3 5 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Keishi Ishikawa 1.971
8 14 NDDP FCJ Kiyoto Fujinami 19.683
[ Race Results ] - Rd.12
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 1 FTRS FCJ Kenta Yamashita 36'49.294
2 5 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Keishi Ishikawa 10.501
3 4 HFDP/SRS scholaraship /Kochira R Tsubasa Takahashi 5.400
7 14 NDDP FCJ Kiyoto Fujinami 50.340

 

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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