Brake issues hamper Imperatori at Motegi Recurring brake problems blighted Alexandre Imperatori's Japanese F3 performance at Motegi last weekend where a difficult qualifying session all-but ended his hopes of challenging for the podium. The ...
Brake issues hamper Imperatori at Motegi
Recurring brake problems blighted Alexandre Imperatori's Japanese F3 performance at Motegi last weekend where a difficult qualifying session all-but ended his hopes of challenging for the podium.
The Swiss racer came within 0.009sec of taking pole position the last time the championship visited the Twin Ring back in May and that speed was again evident in round five's free practice sessions where the Toda Fightex Racing Dallara-Honda was ever-present in the top three despite running worn tyres.
Optimism turned to frustration in time for Saturday's qualifying however. With air temperatures in the region of 40 degrees, Imperatori was powerless to prevent his brakes from overheating as he struggled to replicate Friday's free practice pace on his way to a pair of sixth place grid slots.
Changes made throughout Saturday afternoon ahead of the opening race cured some of the problems with Imperatori diving inside Tom's driver Rafael Suzuki at the first corner to secure fifth. But Motegi is a notoriously tricky place to overtake and that was as far forward as he would progress throughout the 14 lap race despite applying persistent pressure to those ahead.
The 23-year-old was unable to repeat his first corner heroics at the start of Sunday's longer 20-lap race, but did at least salvage his second top five finish of the weekend after pouncing on Koki Saga's mid-race mistake. Suzuki was also less than a second clear when the chequered flag was waived after resisting race-long pressure in spite of Saturday's brake problem returning in the closing stages.
"It wasn't ideal this weekend after what happened in qualifying," said Imperatori. "We had the pace earlier in the season and would have been at the front again had it not been for the brake issue. This is the last place you want to qualify out of position as it's so difficult to overtake. To move forward even one position in each race is an achievement really. Our race pace was good so it's a shame that we couldn't fight for the podium.
"Okayama is next up, which will be a home race for the team in many ways as they're based just a couple of kilometres away. We should have a good set-up as we've tested there recently, although Tom's will again be the team to beat. They're strong everywhere."
Imperatori and Toda Fightex Racing return to Japanese F3 action at Okayama on September 4-5.