Round8 '98 FORMULA NIPPON - EIGHTH ROUND Satoshi Motoyama Takes His Third Title LEMONed Le Mans Sweeps First and Second with Norberto Fontana's Second Place Finish On Sunday September 20th, the Eighth Round of Formula...
'98 FORMULA NIPPON - EIGHTH ROUND
Satoshi Motoyama Takes His Third Title LEMONed Le Mans Sweeps First and Second with Norberto Fontana's Second Place Finish On Sunday September 20th, the Eighth Round of Formula Nippon 1998 took place at the Central Park MINE Circuit with a dry track and temperatures reaching nearly 30. Although 14 teams consisting of 24 cars were at the grid for the 2 p.m. start, the red flag was out after a multiple car crash occurred just after the start. Nineteen cars competed and 10 cars finished the race that was re-started at 2:30 p.m. Although Masami Kageyama took the lead after starting from the third grid, he suffered a set-back after being forced to the pits as a penalty for a flying start, and Hideki Noda (COSMO OIL CERUMO), who started from the pole position, took the lead on the third lap of the 62 lap race. However, after being pursued by second-placed Satoshi Motoyama for many laps, Noda spun out on the 17th lap and was out of the race. Motoyama, who never gave up his position throughout the race, went on to win Formula Nippon for the third time this season. Motoyama, who also took the Fastest Lap record of 1min. 17.899 sec. has increased his series points difference by 14 over second place. Norberto Fontana, who started from the ninth grid, held his place within the top six during the race in spite of having brake trouble. On lap 56 Fontana passed second placed PhoMarc Goossens (5ZIGEN), and finished second after vigorously pursuing top-placed Motoyama. The decisive one-two finish will help boost LEMONed Le Mans' team points. This is the second time this season that Fontana has taken a Podium place and he has moved up from eleventh to seventh place overall. Goossens, who fought hard for 18th place in the preliminaries, took third. After jumping up to sixth place on the ninth lap and also benefiting from the retirement of drivers above him, Goossens took his second Podium place this season. Ralph Firman (SHIONOGI NOVA), who started from the second grid, finished fourth despite engine trouble which kept him from increasing his pace and even dropping down to sixth place at one point during the race. Although he started the race from the very last position, Katsutomo Kaneishi (ARTA) increased his standing from the outset, maintained seventh place from the 17th lap on, and finished fifth. After receiving a penalty and dropping down to 18th place, Masami Kageyama (SHIONOGI NOVA) tenaciously increased his placing and finished sixth while maintaining his second placed ranking. Rookie Yuuji Tachikawa (TMS) held second place from the 17th lap until lap 54, but hopes for him attaining his first Podium' place were vanquished when he was forced out of the race after hitting Goossens.