Sakamoto takes first 2004 victory at Thruxton
Japanese racer Yuya Sakamoto took his first win of the 2004 season in round 15 of the UK Formula Ford Championship at Thruxton in Hampshire this afternoon.
Sakamoto passed Valle Makela at the complex on the first lap and was able to pull away as the rest of the field battled for the places behind him. Makela was under immediate pressure from Joe D'Agostino for second place, taking the position. Makela fought back though and was back behind Sakamoto at the end of the first lap.
D'Agostino dropped down the order at the end of lap one and his countryman Charlie Kimball slotted into third place behind Makela and started to put him under pressure. As these two fought amongst themselves it allowed Daniel Clarke to sneak up on them and make a superb move on them both at the chicane and move into second on lap four.
Sebastian Hohenthal closed in on Makela and Kimball on lap six and managed to demote the series leader to fifth for a couple of laps, before the Finn managed to find a way past again.
Clarke tried to close the gap on Sakamoto but after breaking away from the chasing pack he was unable to stay in touch with the leader to make a move. Makela and Kimball tried hard over the last few laps to break away from the rest of the field and managed to get a small lead after Julian Yap moved into fifth as Hohenthal spun at the complex.
Kimball put Makela under immense pressure at the complex on the final lap, forcing him to defend rather than push towards Clarke ahead. However, the lead was never going to be taken from Sakamoto, who was delighted to step onto the top step of the podium for the first time in 2004.
"It feels absolutely fantastic to win," said Sakamoto. "I have to thank the team for giving me the car to do it. I felt really nervous on the first lap but once we complete that it was a case of keeping everything going to the end," he added.
<pre> UK Formula Ford Championship -- Round 15 -- Thruxton Results:
1 Yuya Sakamoto Van Diemen RF03 18m25.358s 2 Daniel Clarke Van Diemen RF04 18m28.053s 3 Valle Makela Van Diemen RF03 18m32.745s 4 Charlie Kimball Van Diemen RF04 18m32.902s 5 Julian Yap Mygale SJ03 18m34.620s 6 Sebastian Hohenthal Van Diemen RF03 18m34.779s