The Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific made its return to Fuji Speedway Circuit, a perennial favourite among the Challenge drivers, for the 2nd round of the season. Today’s race saw 13 drivers on the starting grid under sunny blue skies, pitting themselves against the challenging 4.563 kilometre circuit with 16 twisting turns to see who could come up top.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. In the Trofeo Pirelli AM class, it was Nobuhiro Imada’s (Rosso Scuderia) race to win. A blistering qualifying round allowed him to set the pace over a strong field. It was rather a closer battle between Imada , who qualified in pole position, and stable-mate Yudai Uchida, who qualified in second position. When the lights turned green, Imada had a very good start and soon found himself fending off the attacks of Uchida, with less than a second gap between them in the early stages of the race. Although Uchida tried several times to overtake Imada, he couldn’t find the extra gear to do so. Imada created a gap in the second half of the race and took the win with more than a 3-second gap to Uchida who came in second.
Coppa Shell. There were lots of excitement in the Coppa Shell class where pole-sitter Motohiro Kotani (Cornes Osaka) battled it out with stable-mate Kazuyuki Yamaguchi and AKITA of Cornes Nagoya. However, Kotani on lap 1 made contact with AKITA at Turn 10 and had to complete a drive-through penalty, causing him to fall out of contention for the podium. Meanwhile it was stable-mate Kanji Yagura who drove an amazing race. Starting in 10th position on the grid, it was Yagura’s stout defense and excellent race-craft that saw him making up places fast in the opening laps, overtaking first stable-mate Atsushi Iritani and Kuninari Mori of Auto Speciale, before executing some smooth manoeuvres to plow through the field. Despite suffering a 5-second penalty for contact with Kotani, he managed a large enough gap to take the win. Yamaguchi, who also suffered a 10-second grid penalty for a false start, managed to keep a steady pace to come in second while Mori took the last step on the podium. It was no less exciting in the Coppa Shell Am class. Andrew Moon of FMK started from pole position in his class with Ryuichi Kunihiro of M Auto and Masa Katsumata of Nicole Competizione starting in second and third respectively. Due to breaking the two-file formation at the start, Moon suffered a 10-second grid penalty being added to his race time, which resulted in him finishing in 3rd position despite a strong race pace. The first two podium positions were hotly contested between Katsumata and Kunihiro. Katsumata proved too strong for his rivals and crossed the line in first, while Kunihiro successfully defended his position and came in second.
Schedule. A second day of racing at Fuji Speedway starts with Qualifying at 9:00 am local time on 24 July 2022, and Race 2 at 3.10pm.