FNIPPON: Michael Krumm closes in on championship lead

Michael Krumm took his third podium finish of the season, finishing second to Matsuda of Team PIAA Nakajima, in the third round of the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship held at the Mine circuit today. The six points scored by Michael...

Michael Krumm took his third podium finish of the season, finishing second to Matsuda of Team PIAA Nakajima, in the third round of the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship held at the Mine circuit today.

The six points scored by Michael closes the gap to the ex Formula One driver Tora Takagi who failed to score any points in this event.

Qualifying Saturday 20th May

Both the qualifying sessions where completed in dry conditions, Michael, as usual, featured near the top of the time sheets, finally securing fifth position overall. His worst qualifying position this season to date.

" We struggled today, our set up is not so good here and we have not been able to find a balance in the car that really works. We made some big changes for the second session and I think with the car we have fifth is OK, it means I am on the third row, so I will just have to make a great start" Michael commented on Saturday evening.

From the start Michael gained one position and then another two in the second corner. Going into the second lap he held second position from the fast starting Tora Takagi.

Michael maintained the gap to Takagi at around four seconds until he started to suffer massive oversteer as his rear tyres began to overheat.

With Matsuda in the second Team PIAA Nakajima Reynard catching him, Team 5Zigen called Michael in for an early pit stop on lap 22 of the 61 lap race. It became a long stop, 11 Seconds, as the front left wheel caused a problem for Team 5Zigen, normally one of the fastest teams in the pit lane.

Rejoining track in second position as Matsuda, who had been directly behind Michael, dived into the pits to complete his stop. Michael passed the pit lane having completed an extremely quick out lap on cold tyres as Matsuda exited the pit lane with an advantage of 300 metres, putting Michael in third position.

Michael initially closed onto Matsuda's Gearbox but was unable to pass him as his tyres came up to temperature. In addition, Noda closed on Michael who was still unhappy with the balance and handling of his car.

On Lap 45 Tora Takagi retired with engine failure promoting Matsuda to the lead and Michael to second position, as they would ultimately finish.

Michael said " The car today was really difficult to drive, for sure the cars of Matsuda and Takagi where the best here in Mine, we also had a problem with one of the wheels during the pit stop, so overall I am very pleased with second today. I had a great start and then we made an early stop which concerned me in case I had a problem with tyres later in the race, but this was the correct decision by the team. It was just one of those races where you had to be patient and let it come to you "

<pre> Qualifying Formula Nippon : Mine Round 3 - 20/05/00

P  N   DRIVER             TEAM             BEST      1st      2nd       CAR
1  0   TORANOSUKE TAKAGI  PIAA NAKAJIMA    1'14.711  1'14.801 *1'14.711 REYNARD 2KL
2  7   HIDEKI NODA        LeMans           1'14.828  1'15.306 *1'14.828 REYNARD 99L
3  56  JUICHI WAKISAKA    ARTA             1'14.923 *1'14.923  1'15.427 REYNARD 99L
4  2   TSUGIO MATSUDA     PIAA NAKAJIMA    1'15.209  1'15.475 *1'15.209 REYNARD 99L
5  6   MICHAEL KRUMM      5ZIGEN           1'15.300  1'15.312 *1'15.300 REYNARD 99L
6  68  RYO MICHIGAMI      DoCoMo           1'15.321  1'15.590 *1'15.321 REYNARD 2KL
7  9   RALPH FIRMAN       Morinaga NOVA    1'15.400 *1'15.400  1'15.635 G FORCE
8  19  SATOSHI MOTOYAMA   IMPUL            1'15.425  1'15.525 *1'15.425 REYNARD 99L
9  5   NAOKI HATTORI      5ZIGEN           1'15.455 *1'15.455  1'15.666 REYNARD 99L
10 10  KOJI YAMANISHI     Morinaga NOVA    1'15.613 *1'15.613  1'18.919 GFORCEF03B
11 55  KATSUTOMO KANEISHI ARTA             1'15.886 *1'15.886  1'16.106 REYNARD 99L
12 21  ALEX YOONG         TEAM MALAYSIA    1'16.023  1'16.731 *1'16.023 REYNARD 99L
13 *8  YUDAI IGARASHI     LeMans           1'16.084 *1'16.084  1'16.845 REYNARD 99L
14 12  JAROSLAW WIERCZUK  COSMO OIL CERUMO 1'16.439  1'16.747 *1'16.439 REYNARD 99L
15 3   MASAHIKO KONDO     Olympic KONDO    1'16.549  1'16.951 *1'16.549 REYNARD 99L
16 62  SHINSUKE SHIBAHARA LEYJUN           1'16.767  1'17.217 *1'16.767 REYNARD 2KL
17 63  OSAMU   LEYJUN                      1'17.050  1'17.823 *1'17.050 REYNARD 99L
18 36  TETSUJI TAMANAKA   TAKAGI B-1       1'17.642 *1'17.642  1'18.608 REYNARD 99L
19 14  SHIGEKAZU WAKISAKA MOONCRAFT        1'18.025  ------   *1'18.025 REYNARD 99L
-  11  YUJI TACHIKAWA     COSMO OIL CERUMO ------    ------  ------     REYNARD 99L
(P.P. 107%)  1'19.940

Race Results Formula Nippon : Mine Round 3 - 21/05/00

P  No  DRIVER             TEAM             LAP TOTAL      BEST
1  2   TSUGIO MATSUDA     PIAA NAKAJIMA    61 1:20'07.628 17.406
2  6   MICHAEL KRUMM      5ZIGEN           61 1:20'15.412 17.552  
3  7   HIDEKI NODA        LeMans           61 1:20'31.129 17.381
4  56  JUICHI WAKISAKA    ARTA             61 1:20'46.860 17.474
5  55  KATSUTOMO KANEISHI ARTA             61 1:20'55.788 18.103
6  5   NAOKI HATTORI      ZIGEN            61 1:21'00.812 17.965
7  10  KOJI YAMANISHI     Morinaga NOVA    61 1:21'20.003 18.529
8  12  JAROSLAW WIERCZUK  COSMO OIL CERUMO 60 1:20'13.132 18.056
9  62  SHINSUKE SHIBAHARA LEYJUN           60 1:20'57.974 18.908
10 36  TETSUJI TAMANAKA   TAKAGI B-1       59 1:20'53.144 19.455
11 63  OSAMU   LEYJUN                      59 1:21'09.994 20.027  
-  0   TORANOSUKE TAKAGI  PIAA NAKAJIMA    45 0:59'12.656 17.284
-  14  SHIGEKAZU WAKISAKA MOONCRAFT        40 0:53'54.850 18.364
-  8   YUDAI IGARASHI     LeMans           22 0:29'47.822 18.553  
-  9   RALPH FIRMAN       Morinaga NOVA    4  0:05'27.716 19.107
-  11  YUJI TACHIKAWA     COSMO OIL CERUMO 0  -------     -------
-  19  SATOSHI MOTOYAMA   IMPUL            0  -------     -------
-  3   MASAHIKO KONDO     Olympic KONDO    0  -------     -------
-  68  RYO MICHIGAMI      DoCoMo DANDELION 0  -------     -------
-  *21 ALEX YOONG         TEAM MALAYSIA    0  -------     -------

Formula Nippon Championship Points Pos No DRIVER TEAM Rnd 1 Rnd2 Rnd3 TOTAL 1 0 TORANOSUKE TAKAGI PIAA NAKAJIMA 10 10 0 20 2 6 MICHAEL KRUMM 5ZIGEN 6 6 6 18 3 2 TSUGIO MATSUDA PIAA NAKAJIMA 0 4 10 14 4 55 KATSUTOMO KANEISHI ARTA 3 1 2 6 5 5 NAOKI HATTORI 5ZIGEN 4 0 1 5 6 56 JUICHI WAKISAKA ARTA 0 2 3 5 7 7 HIDEKI NODA LeMans 0 0 4 4 8 19 SATOSHI MOTOYAMA IMPUL 1 3 0 4 9 14 SHIGEKAZU WAKISAKA MOONCRAFT 2 0 0 2

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