Round 9 Autopolis Circuit, Japan September 5, 2004 Weather: Overcast Junichi Kazishima took both overall and Division 3 honours in Round 9 of the Asian Touring Car Series at Autopolis Circuit in Japan. The local driver, in a Honda Civic EK9,...
Autopolis Circuit, Japan
September 5, 2004
Junichi Kazishima took both overall and Division 3 honours in Round 9 of the Asian Touring Car Series at Autopolis Circuit in Japan. The local driver, in a Honda Civic EK9, started from pole, but it was not an easy green light to chequered flag win.
Kazishima, who is competing in the series for the first time, is familiar with the Autopolis Circuit, but was nonetheless thrilled to have taken victory.
On the opening lap, Chen Jun San of Chinese Taipei in a Honda Integra DC5, overtook both Kazishima and fellow countryman Kenji Kuroki. A battle ensued between Kazishima and Kuroki, with the former regaining the second place on lap 3.
The following lap saw Kazishima take the lead once again and he didn't look back from there on. Chen crossed the line second overall, followed by Kuroki.
Said Chen, "It's wonderful to race here. I know that Kazishima and Kuroki are both very fast, so I knew I had to overtake them on the first lap. Japanese drivers are my idols, and I always try to learn from them."
The major drama in the 10 lap race was the fight between Ao Chi Hong of Macau and Kenji Kuroki. Ao was on a charge and determined to take Kuroki and successfully pulled off an overtaking manoeuvre to grab 3rd. However, three corners later Ao braked too hard putting his Toyota Altezza into a spin, and dropping him back to 5th.
"I have almost got used to my new car now, so this is my best performance so far this season," said Ao, who is hoping for a podium finish in the next race.
Second in Division 3 was Leung Kwai Chin in a Team IMSP Honda Civic EK9, with team mate and fellow Hong Kong driver Ben Law third in a Civic EG6.
Said Ben Law, "This is the first time I have raced in Japan, so I feel very lucky to have claimed 3rd place. The circuit is a lot more difficult than I had expected - both mentally and physically challenging."
The action continues with Round 10 of the Asian Touring Car Series over 10 laps of the 4.6km Autopolis Circuit.