Imperatori rewarded for hard graft at Sugo Two more trademark fighting performances helped Alexandre Imperatori score a pair of top-five finishes in round seven of the Japanese F3 Championship last weekend at Sugo. Despite testing since the ...
Imperatori rewarded for hard graft at Sugo
Two more trademark fighting performances helped Alexandre Imperatori score a pair of top-five finishes in round seven of the Japanese F3 Championship last weekend at Sugo.
Despite testing since the previous round, his Toda Fightex Racing team had been unable to bridge the gap to the front-running Toyota-powered cars, leaving the young Swiss sixth for both races at the challenging north-Tokyo circuit.
But Saturday afternoon would yield a significant improvement with Imperatori producing another of his fast getaways to immediately pass Yuhi Sekiguchi.
Set-up changes ahead of the 18-lapper had clearly improved the Dallara-Honda's performance and it wasn't long before he was pressurising Koki Saga. Eventually his persistence paid off and when the Japanese driver made a mistake, Imperatori pounced to take fourth, a position he would keep to the chequered flag.
Race two on Sunday also saw Imperatori move up at the start when he again out-dragged Sekiguchi down to the first corner.
In fact, such was his getaway that Imperatori was also dicing with Yuji Kunimoto for fourth, only for the chasing Sekiguchi to nip back through.
But mounting pressure would again prove his undoing as Imperatori calmly reclaimed the place before setting fast, consistent lap times in pursuit of the championship leader. Further set-up changes overnight had clearly helped narrow the deficit to the leaders, although he would ultimately have to settle for another top-five finish.
Imperatori: "It wasn't a perfect weekend in terms of pace but I felt as though we extracted the most from the car. The changes between Saturday and Sunday certainly made us more competitive and to finish just behind the runaway championship leader at least gives me some confidence ahead of Autopolis. We'll be doing some testing between now and then to get ready for Macau, which we've received an invitation to."
This season's Japanese F3 Championship reaches its climax at Auto Polis on October 16-17.