Thompson in positive mood after Okayama races Irish racing driver Gary Thompson left Okayama in a positive mood last weekend after rounds 11 and 12 of the Japanese F3 Championship. With his Achievement by KCMG Racing team having spent the ...
Thompson in positive mood after Okayama races
Irish racing driver Gary Thompson left Okayama in a positive mood last weekend after rounds 11 and 12 of the Japanese F3 Championship.
With his Achievement by KCMG Racing team having spent the four-week break prior to the event making numerous changes to his Cebu Pacific Air-backed Dallara chassis, the 18-year-old Dubliner produced his best qualifying performance of the season and was able to mix it with the leading factory-supported drivers in the races.
Unfortunately, his weekend wasn't all plain sailing as, after a strong fourth-place finish in round 11, Thompson suffered suspension damage early in round 12 and came home eighth, despite fighting hard for a top five finish while dealing with the problem.
After qualifying in fourth and fifth in the hotly-contested National Class, the Aviation Display-supported Thompson made a solid start to Race 1 and battled for a podium throughout the opening half of the 18-lap race.
Having found no way past Kazuki Miura ahead, Thompson began to suffer heavy rear tyre wear, a problem that had first emerged in Friday's free practice sessions, but put in a mature drive to take a comfortable fourth place at the chequered flag.
Hoping for a similar display in race 2, the young Irishman again made a strong start and was challenging for fourth once more on the opening lap when he was touched by the car ahead as he tried a move around the outside.
Having initially dropped back to seventh, Thompson was back up a place with one of the best passing moves of the weekend, but it soon became apparent that he'd suffered suspension damage during the earlier contact.
Despite doing his utmost to hold off the train of cars behind as the problem intensified, he eventually slipped to eighth at the finish.
Gary Thompson: "The guys made a lot of changes to the car ahead of this weekend and although the step forward isn't as big as we might have hoped for, we have definitely improved. We're heading in the right direction and that is a big positive.
"On Friday in practice we worked hard to get the right set up, without ever actually nailing it, but then we found something in qualifying and I was really pleased with how that went.
"In race one I was fighting with the Honda and Toyota-supported works drivers, which again is very encouraging, and we'd have had at least fifth and probably better in race 2 had it not been for the incident on the first lap.
"We now head to Sugo in three weeks time looking to build on the progress we've made here."