DOUBLE POLE AND WIN IN SUZUKA Alexandre Imperatori capped a successful week-end with 2 poles, a win and a podium at legendary Suzuka circuit in round 3 of the Japanese F3 championship. For the 3rd round of the Japanese F3 Championship, held at...
DOUBLE POLE AND WIN IN SUZUKA
Alexandre Imperatori capped a successful week-end with 2 poles, a win and a podium at legendary Suzuka circuit in round 3 of the Japanese F3 championship.
For the 3rd round of the Japanese F3 Championship, held at the mythic venue of Suzuka, Imperatori turned the potential shown so far into excellent results. The swiss driver from Geneva dominated qualifying in outstanding fashion and secured a race win and a podium for the ACHIEVEMENT BY KCMG racing team.
Friday, dedicated to practice and setup work was a positive day of running in dry and sunny conditions. The point was to tune the Dallara F307 to suit the very complex Suzuka circuit. With rain announced for the rest of the week end, it was also important to find a base for the wet setup.
Alexandre: "At the end of the day I am not 100% satisfied yet with our performance and I believe there is still much speed to be found but we have made progress . It will be important to start at the front to have the best chances of success. We have learnt from the tyre mistakes in Okayama for the rain conditions and we look forward to a strong pair of qualifying in the rain tomorrow".
As expected, by saturday morning, the rain was pouring over the Mie region and wet tyres were fitted for the two 15 minutes qualifying sessions. Alexandre went out immediately and felt at ease with the car immediately. With every lap the did, he improved the pace and knowing it would go down to the last lap in these conditions, he gave it all in the last timed attack to clock an amazing 2.11.0 taking not only pole of the National class runners by 1.2 seconds but also the overall pole position in front of the Championship class runners who have a massive engine advantage, by 4 tenths of a second. It was the first time in the history of Japanese F3 such an event occurs.
In the second qualifying, with the track drying slightly, Alexandre continued his impressive showing and again in the last lap improved the mark with 2.09.6 to take pole position by 1.7 sec over Honda driver Yamamoto.
Alexandre: "The car was just perfect and I could feel confident to push it to the limit without risking big. A big thumb up to the team for their efforts."
The first race of 12 laps was scheduled for the saturday afternoon and Imperatori lined up on pole position. The race was also to be run in wet conditions and to play it safe, considering the performance cushion over their competitors it was decided to increase the car's ride height to avoid any aquaplaning risk but obviously at cost of performance.
Alexandre controlled his race from lights to flag, to take a splendid victory, never coming under threat from behind.
Imperatori: "In these conditions and with the advantage we had, it would have been stupid to take any risk so I pretty much controlled the pace knowing we had reserves if needed. This win goes to the team for their dedication since the start of the season!"
In the second race of 17 laps on sunday, the sun had come back to dry the track. Alex had an excellent start from pole and kept his lead but AIM driver Sekiguchi jumped the start and in the first lap tried to overtake costing both valuable time as Alexandre had to defend his position. The swiss driver was carrying more downforce than the 2 closest rivals and despite being quicker in the first two sectors, he lost out in the long back straights where top speed is crucial. In the end of the race, he put pressure on the 2nd placed NISSAN driver in front of him and even tried to pass but just lacked the top speed to place a decisive move.