The first race of the Ferrari Challenge APAC Series Round 1 drivers started in very tricky conditions as the track was damp. All 13 drivers decided to start the race on slicks, which proved to be the right choice as the track dried up very quickly. The circuit is also known to be an extremely challenging one with 18 turns but the race was marked by fierce but respectful driving as no caution periods were required over the thirty-minute session.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. As the lights turned green, pole-sitter Yudai Uchida of Rosso Scuderia got off to a brilliant start to lead the field, while team mate Nobuhiro Imada challenged hard throughout the entire race. Towards the closing minutes, after establishing a comfortable lead of nearly 4 seconds, Uchida made a mistake at turn 9 and went into the gravel, allowing Imada to get on his tail again. Imada tried hard to overtake his stable-mate but was unable to squeeze by. The fight was a very close one, which in the end saw Uchida cross the line with only an advantage of 0.187 seconds.
Coppa Shell. In the battle for Coppa Shell class honours, pole-sitter Motohiro Kotani of Cornes Osaka was leading his class throughout the race until the closing laps where unfortunately, he lost control of his car at turn 9, went off the track and hit his rear wing on the tyre barrier. Although he valiantly tried to come back on track, he had to retire in the end as the damage was too big for him to continue. His misfortunes gave the top spot to a charging Kazuyuki Yamaguchi of Cornes Osaka, who ended up first in class after a heated battle with AKITA (Cornes Nagoya) and Kuninari Mori of Auto Speciale, who took the last step of the podium.
Coppa Shell Am. Kanji Yagura, making his debut in Ferrari Challenge, took his first-ever victory in the competition in the Coppa Shell Am class. After an impressive race that saw him battle with the leaders of the Shell class, the driver from Cornes Osaka clinched the win with an impressive 10 second margin over second placed Atsushi Iritani (Cornes Osaka), setting himself up as one of the new talents to watch in the 2022 season. Rounding out the podium was a very strong third place for Ryuichi Kunihiro of M Auto, who was able to defend from the closely following Motohiko Isozaki of Cornes Shiba trying to pass him on several occasions.
Schedule. A second day of racing at Suzuka Circuit starts with Qualifying at 10:30 am local time on 17 July 2022, and Race 2 at 3.25pm.