April 14, 2014
April 12 - 13, Suzuka Circuit (Mie Prefecture) - Rounds 1 and 2 of the All Japan F3 Championship were held at Suzuka Circuit where Mitsunori Takaboshi of the Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP) took the second step on the podium in the first round, followed by his first victory of the season in the second. In addition Daiki Sasaki came home in 6th place in the second round.
# 22 Mitsunori Takaboshi
# 23 Daiki Sasaki
As part of Nismo operations for this season, the pair of Daiki Sasaki and Mitsunori Takaboshi are participating in the C class of the All Japan F3 Championship as drivers for the B-MAX Racing Team with NDDP under the supervision of team principal, Masahiro Hasemi. Up until last year the pair had raced in the N class but this year it has been decided that they will challenge the F3's highest class, the C-class.
The stage for the opening round was Suzuka Circuit. The qualifying sessions for round 1 and 2 were held on the 12th (Sat) under mostly cloudy weather in which occasionally the sun would shine through. The qualifying session for each round lasted for 10 minutes and, in the first, Takaboshi achieved a superb pole position while Sasaki took 5th. This was then followed by the second session in which Takaboshi qualified 2nd and Sasaki 6th.
The final race of the first round began at 3:20pm on the 12th (Sat) where Takaboshi, beginning from pole position, continued to race in top position. Despite clocking up laps in steady form, he was overtaken by one vehicle in the latter stages of the race and ultimately took second place on the podium. On the other hand, Sasaki, beginning in 6th and feeling unsatisfied with his vehicle's balance, was unable to make a good start which caused him to fall back one position in the first lap and forced him into an uphill battle from then on. In the end he passed the checkered flag in 7th.
Round 2 was carried out on the following day on the 13th (Sun) under cloudy skies. Beginning from 2nd position, Takaboshi made a fantastic start to take the lead and, despite being overtaken in the final chicane, managed to use the other vehicle's slipstream on the straight and take back the lead in the final corner to achieve a superb victory in this 17 lap race. Team principal, Masahiro Hasemi said, “It was a good race. This was a good experience for Takaboshi. After winning once, you understand what it means to win and things become easier from then on.” This result is quite significant in that victory was achieved in the first round of his first season participating in the C class.
Mitsunori Takaboshi (Round 1: 2nd, Round 2: 1st)
“Despite starting in pole position in the first round, an error on my part caused me to fall back one place and I was pretty upset at myself about that. Taking advantage of the lesson I learned in the first round I wanted to do my utmost to make up for it in the second. This mindset seemed to work and I managed to make a good start and carry out the best race I could. In the latter stages of the race I managed to pull away from the competition, maintain my lead and pass the checkered flag in first. Next is Motegi, which is a course where overtaking is even harder than Suzuka, so I want to do the best I can in the qualifying rounds.”
Daiki Sasaki (Round 1: 7th, Round 2, 6th)
“The car didn't feel quite right in the qualifiers, so we changed the settings before taking on the final races. I was overtaken by one car at the start but managed to retake my position in the first corner. In the future I want to work on consistently achieving good starts and carrying out a more solid race overall. The next race is at Motegi which is similar to Suzuka in that it is a high downforce course. So based on the data we took away from today we will hammer down the settings and I hope to pass the checkered flag in top position.”
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||36||PETRONAS TOM'S F314||Kenta Yamashita||22'53.174|
|2||22||B-MAX•NDDP F312||Mitsunori Takaboshi||1.122|
|3||1||PETRONAS TOM'S F312||Takamoto Katsuta||5.641|
|7||23||B-MAX•NDDP F312||Daiki Sasaki||9.212|
|Pos||No.||Machine||Driver||Time / Behind|
|1||22||B-MAX•NDDP F312||Mitsunori Takaboshi||32'29.989|
|2||1||PETRONAS TOM'S F312||Takamoto Katsuta||1.899|
|3||36||PETRONAS TOM'S F314||Kenta Yamashita||1.954|
|6||23||B-MAX•NDDP F312||Daiki Sasaki||9.823|