MAIDEN WIN IN JAPAN F3 FOR IMPERATORI Alexandre Imperatori has given a boost to his title hopes when he took a maiden win and a second place in the two races of Japanese F3 National class at Autopolis. This week-end was held the second round...
MAIDEN WIN IN JAPAN F3 FOR IMPERATORI
Alexandre Imperatori has given a boost to his title hopes when he took a maiden win and a second place in the two races of Japanese F3 National class at Autopolis.
This week-end was held the second round of the Japanese F3 Championship in Autopolis near Kumamoto in the south of Japan.
No winter test have taken place at this circuit located quite far from Tokyo and therefore, an additional day of practice was added on thursday. During these practices as well as the official sessions on friday, Alexandre Imperatori showed he could not only learn the track quickly but that he would be challenging for the win. The swiss was regularly at the top of the time sheets : "Autopolis is a great circuit and because everybody have little experience of the track, things are more even here and I hope to show our performance".
Unfortunately, things didn't go very smooth in saturday morning's qualifying. Indeed, the session was disturbed by very strong winds and Alexandre had difficulties to find the right rythm : he had to settle for two 4th places. "These results will make it harder for the races as it is difficult to overtake on this circuit but the fight is not lost yet." Alexandre said after the qualifying. With main opponent Yamauchi sitting on pole, it would prove to be a big challenge.
A great start by the young swiss saw him emerging from the first corner in second place, trailing front row man Yasuoka, while pole-sitter Yamauchi came in third. Immediately, Alexandre began puching the leader and tried many overtaking moves before Yasuoka finally lost the car under braking effectively handing the lead to Alexandre. With 7 laps to go, the PTRS driver had to keep is focus to maintain Yamauchi out of striking distance and took a well deserved maiden win in the Japan F3 National class. "The start was key, I got off greatly and then kept pushing Yasuoka as I knew I was much faster, After I got in the lead, I just tried to avoid mistakes and take the win home. Tomorrow will be hard again as I will have to compensate again a 4th starting place handicap" Alex said.
In sunday's race, the start was again crucial but Imperatori handled it perfectly again to take second from 4th. Starting to pressure the leader Yasuoka, it looked like a replay of saturday's race. Unfortunately, after a few laps, Alex began struggling with heavy oversteer and couldn't keep attacking Yasuoka for the win. "After yesterday, we made a few adjustments to the setup of the car and in the beggining of the race, with fresh tyres, the car felt good. But after a few laps, it deteriorated rapidly and I was struggling with the car". A small mistake by the swiss even allowed pole sitter Yamauchi to take second place for a while before the latter made his own mistake and Alexandre re-took his position and kept it until the finish line.
After the race, feelings were mixed : "It's a shame that we didn't have the car to push today because a second win was within reach. Anyways, we had a great week-end, including our first win, and we took a good haul of points. I look forward to our next race in Suzuka in two weeks time."
Before that, Alexandre is now headed for Brands Hatch to defend the swiss title chance in the rookie session of A1GP.