Two poles and another win in Okayama. ALMOST PERFECT WEEKEND FOR IMPERATORI Alexandre Imperatori left little to his competitors when he took the two poles and a win in Okayama this week-end. Unfortunately, a mechanical failure prevented him...
Two poles and another win in Okayama.
ALMOST PERFECT WEEKEND FOR IMPERATORI
Alexandre Imperatori left little to his competitors when he took the two poles and a win in Okayama this week-end. Unfortunately, a mechanical failure prevented him to start the first race and make it perfect.
This week-end's races in Okayama marked the entry into the second half of the championship for the competitors of the Japanese Formula 3 Championship. Alexandre arrived the circuit eager to build on his success in Motegi. Okayama (hosted the pacific round of the F1 championship in 94 and 95) is the only track where Alex has a good previous knowledge this season: indeed, he tested for two days with ThreeBond racing after the 2006 season.
An additional test day was organized on thursday since no winter tests could take place at the venue. The day was marked by heavy rain but Alexandre emerged on top with a time of 1.38.5: a good sign for the rest of the week.
The weather then shifted to hot sunshine for the rest of the weekend. In Friday's two practice sessions (45 minutes each), the young swiss of PTRS racing team worked hard with his engineer to define the best setup for the car and was satisfied to find a good balance. He eventually topped the time sheets in each session.
For saturday morning's qualifying a few more adjustments were done to the car and Alex showed great speed right from the beginning on his first set of tyres. He then went even quicker (1.26.0) to take pole for round 9 and pole for round 10 (1.26.1). The result was very impressive as he managed to put some A-class cars behind him and dominated his closest rival by 3 tenths of a second.
Every looked set for a great race on saturday afternoon. The fate would decide otherwise: the engine starter broke at the start of the formation lap and Imperatori couldn't take the start. The team tried to start him from the pit lane but there was nothing to do with the engine so Alex had to give up even before the race started. "It is extremely unfortunate, Toyota said that this kind of problem usually shows signs beforehand but we didn't have a single glitch all week-end and it chose a very bad timing to occur... With the speed we have this week-end this was an opportunity to score big!" the young swiss confided disappointed. "Nevertheless I will push hard tomorrow to prove that the win can't escape us this week-end".
The second race of the week-end featured 25 laps and Alexandre was again on pole position. Everything went much smoother and the PTRS driver took a brilliant light-to-flag victory. Under the flag the gap to the second was close to 12 seconds. "I was pushing hard in the beginning and was following the Championship-class car of Nakajima easily but the team asked me to back off a bit so from then on I controlled my race. Even so the gap kept widening and soon I couldn't see anyone behind." said a delighted Alexandre. "It makes a bit for yesterday but we still missed valuable points and I will keep pushing hard in all races."
On top of the win, Alexandre scored the fastest lap. Alexandre is still second in the championship standing but closing the gap to just 9 points despite not scoring in the first race. The Japan F3 championship will now take a month break before coming back into action at Suzuka.