F3

Japan: Alexandre Imperatori Fuji summary

Imperatori takes strong points despite challenging weekend in Fuji Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori claimed two strong fourth place finishes and a solid haul of points despite a weekend beset with bad luck at rounds 5 and 6 of the Japanese F3...

Imperatori takes strong points despite challenging weekend in Fuji

Swiss driver Alexandre Imperatori claimed two strong fourth place finishes and a solid haul of points despite a weekend beset with bad luck at rounds 5 and 6 of the Japanese F3 Championship in Fuji.

The 23-year-old, driving for Toda Fightex Racing, showed his talent in qualifying and both races but saw his progress stymied by a gearbox problem, which cost precious time in practice, and an engine misfire in race 2 that prevented him from scoring a podium finish.

At the home circuit of championship front runners Petronas TOM's, Imperatori was pleased to qualify third for both races behind the Toyota-powered Dallaras of series leader Yuji Kunimoto and Rafael Suzuki.

In race 1, Imperatori made a fine start to go around the outside of Suzuki into turn 1 and take second place. He followed Kunimoto and pulled away from the pack in the opening six laps, before his tyres started to deteriorate and he slipped back to finish fourth at the chequered flag.

Race 2 again saw Imperatori make a good getaway from the grid and briefly take second on the run down to the opening corner. Unfortunately he was caught out when Koki Saga left his braking too late into turn 1, forcing Imperatori to take avoiding action with a trip across the grass which dropped him to fifth.

A Safety Car was then called for an accident at the back of the field and Alex immediately noticed an engine misfire on his Dallara-Honda. Despite losing power when accelerating out of corners, Imperatori still managed to pass Saga for fourth and was right on the tail of third place Yuhi Sekiguchi at the finish.

The results leave Imperatori joint fourth in the championship, although two more wins for Kunimoto have given the Japanese driver a huge advantage at the top of standings.

Alexandre Imperatori: "Hopefully I have got a season's worth of bad luck out of the way in one go this weekend! The misfire in race 2 was particularly frustrating as I think we had the pace to challenge the TOM's cars. But the positive for me is the way that the team worked so hard to really improve the set-up in between races so that the tyres lasted better and we had consistent pace all the way through the race.

"Kunimoto is now well clear in the points and we know that TOM's have a really good package, but only a handful of points cover second to fifth. I think we have the pace to challenge for podiums and wins throughout the remainder of the season and, with a bit of luck, we can get second in the championship."

Imperatori returns to Fuji this week for rounds 7 and 8 of the 2010 season.

-source: Alexandre Imperatori

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About this article
Series F3
Drivers Alexandre Imperatori , Koki Saga , Yuji Kunimoto , Rafael Suzuki