IMPERATORI'S DOMINATING PERFORMANCE IN FUJI Since Suzuka, Alexandre Imperatori seems unstoppable in the Japanese F3 Championship N class. In Fuji he took his straight 3rd and 4th pole position and despite a bit of bad luck, was clearly quickest...
IMPERATORI'S DOMINATING PERFORMANCE IN FUJI
Since Suzuka, Alexandre Imperatori seems unstoppable in the Japanese F3 Championship N class. In Fuji he took his straight 3rd and 4th pole position and despite a bit of bad luck, was clearly quickest in races.
After a long 6 weeks break in the season, the Japanese F3 championship resumed at Fuji with rounds 7 and 8. Two weeks ago the KCMG team of Alexandre had scheduled a test session during which good progress was made. Therefore, the whole team was confident they could achieve another successful week end in the F1 Circuit of Mount Fuji.
The week end started well with the first practice session on friday morning with Alex topping the times. Minor changes were made for the second session which was eventful as Alexandre had to sit out most of the session after another car ran into him right at the beginning of the session. The team could fix the car in time for Alex to complete a single lap on
old tyres. He created surprise by coming just 3 tenths shy of the top time made on new tyres.
On saturday morning, two qualification sessions were held for round 7 and 8 respectively under a hot and shiny sun. The swiss driver did a 1.38.2 laptime in the first part and lowered the benchmark to 1.37.9 in the second session to take both pole positions. This means he has now taken 4 pole positions in a row and in all conditions (wet and dry).
In the afternoon, Alex got off the line well went the start was given and held on to his position, while in front of him, the C class car of Cozzolino stalled. This would be important at a later stage. Indeed, using his performance advantage, Cozzolino quickly caught up and even though not racing against Imperatori, he put a bold move and forced him to slow down in avoidance. This enabled the Honda factory car of Yamamoto to have an easy way into the lead around the outside. In the maneuver, Alexandre was now 2.5 seconds behind the leader but an excellent string of consistent quick laps allowed him to carve into the lead a tenths by lap and crossed the line 1 second behind Yamamoto but 14 seconds clear of the third placed driver.
Alexandre: "We were very quick again in the race and if we hadn't had interference from the C-class car we would never have lost the lead. At least we have shown great performance and true consistency"
The weather had worsened for the second race of the week end featuring 21 laps and everyone fitted wet tyres to the cars.
Alexandre had an excellent start from pole to lead into the first corner but lacked a bit of traction on the exit which allowed Nissandriver Sato to squeeze on the inside of the next corner. After that, Imperatori took his time to judge the pace of his car in the wet and prepare his attack on Sato. It was quickly evident that The KCMG swiss driver had a good pace of around half a second quicker a lap and could plan a move to take the lead. In the process Alexandre signed the fastest race lap.
This was done in clean fashion at the last corner. It looked like it would be a trouble free run to victory. Unfortunately Sato immediately tried to take the slipstream and misjudged the distance between the cars: he punted Alexandre in the main straight just a few seconds after being overtaken. It was evident at once that it caused a puncture on Imperatori's car who had to slowly bring the car back to his pit for a tyre change. It cost much time and Alexandre crossed the line in 8th position.
Alexandre: "If we hadn't had the puncture we would be leading the championship by now, so it's a real shame. We dominated all week end and our performance at the moment gives me much confidence. The season is just at half point so with just 11 points to the top everything is open. I must thank the team and particularly my engineer because our car was just excellent this week end. Probably the best I've driven so far!" Next race : Suzuka 12.07.2009