Imperatori seals season finale podium at Autopolis Alexandre Imperatori brought down the curtain on his Japanese F3 season in style at Autopolis last weekend with a podium finish in race two. The Swiss driver again overcame the performance ...
Imperatori seals season finale podium at Autopolis
Alexandre Imperatori brought down the curtain on his Japanese F3 season in style at Autopolis last weekend with a podium finish in race two.
The Swiss driver again overcame the performance deficit to his rivals by ending the championship on a high note with third position in the 21-lap second race at the technically challenging south Japanese venue.
Starting fifth, Imperatori took advantage of an early accident ahead to vault into podium contention. But although comfortable in the early stages on fresh rubber, the Toda Fightex Dallara Honda began to struggle once the best of its grip disappeared, leaving the 23-year-old to grimly hang on in the closing laps.
"That was one for the team," said Imperatori afterwards. "They've worked hard all season to find extra speed so a podium in the final race is a great reward for their efforts. We struggled in free practice on old tyres so I knew what to expect at the end."
The weekend's opening race also saw Imperatori make inroads. Again lining-up fifth, he made an electric start to run side-by-side with Yuhi Sekiguchi through the first two corners before having to concede.
A caution period soon after allowed him another crack at the Japanese once the Safety Car was withdrawn. The pressure of their duel was felt by Yuji Kunimoto who ran through the gravel trap at turn one and gifted Imperatori a place.
And despite suffering from fading tyres, he was able to hold off the newly-crowned champion over the remaining laps to take the chequered flag fourth.
With the domestic campaign coming to an end at Autopolis, Imperatori's attention now turns to the traditional Macao event on 18-21 November, the jewel in Formula 3's crown. It will be his second appearance around the Armco-lined city streets where some of motorsport's greats have triumphed over the years.
"For me, it's the best track in the world," he said. "We had an unfortunate race last season but I'll be putting my experience to good use this time round. The walls are so close and the track so narrow that even the slightest mistake can cost you. Considering it's a street circuit, there are sections which are very fast, as well as those which are incredibly slow, so finding the ultimate set-up is tricky. I can't wait!"
Just a week later (26-28 November) it's off to Korea for the inaugural standalone Korea F3 Superprix event, staged at the brand-new F1 circuit in Yeongam.