Mardenborough wins Japan F3 at Motegi, widens championship lead

Mardenborough Wins Japan F3 at Motegi, widens championship leadMEDIA RELEASE: Rounds 11-12 of the All Japan F3 Championship were held at Twin Ring Motegi, where Jann Mardenborough achieved 2 consecutive victories. This has widened the lead he has over the rest of the competition in the championship.

Mardenborough and Katsumasa Chiyo are undertaking full season entries into this year’s F3 Championship, but due to a crash that occurred in the SUPER GT round held at the beginning of August, Chiyo was forced to sit out of this tournament. Takaboshi, who competed in rounds 5-8, stood in for Chiyo in these races.

The morning of qualifying day was met with heavy rain and the F3 qualifying sessions were held over wet conditions. However, in the afternoon the rain let up and strong rays of sunlight swiftly dried the road surface.

Every car headed into the following race with dry settings but just as the field lined up on the course and they were minutes away from the formation lap, rain clouds suddenly appeared and the circuit experienced a sudden squall.

With the track immediately returning to wet conditions the race for round 11 began as a safety car start. After two laps behind the safety car the race was resumed. When the race restarted, Mardenborough, starting from 2nd place on the grid, immediately shot out after the lead car but found it hard to find an opening through the water spray of his rival and the battle between the two unfolded for approximately 8 laps.

At 90°C corner on lap 11, he finally saw a chance and managed to get passed his rival to take the lead. In the following lap he recorded a time over 1 second faster than the other competition and pulled away from the rest of the pack, ultimately taking his third victory of the season. Takaboshi started from 7th place, carried out a bumper to bumper battle with the car to his front, but passed the finish line in 7th place.

Round 12 was held under fine weather on the 21st (Sun). Starting from pole position, Mardenborough immediately pulled away from the pack in the first lap and dominated the remainder of the race to take his season 4th win. He also recorded the fastest lap, taking the most points possible from a single race, which expanded his championship lead to 19 points over his closest rival in the rankings.

Having suffered an unexpected loss of pace in qualifying, Takaboshi started this race from 9th place and went on to display a furious pursuit right from the opening stages. Despite Motegi being described as a course “with very few opportune overtaking places making it very difficult,” he managed to move up one position in the opening lap and then another in the second.

Having moved into 7th right at the start, he was then in the battle for 5th place and by lap 8 he found an opportunity and moved into the 5th spot. At this point there was still a 3-second difference between him and the 2 machines battling it out for 3rd, but with every subsequent lap he reduced this difference by approximately 1 second.

By lap 12 it had become a 3-way battle for the 3rd step on the podium. At the first corner of lap 15 he saw an opening and came in on the inside of the car in front but he unfortunately lost control and spun out. With this he fell out of the fight for the podium but he managed to make it back onto the course and valiantly fought back up through the order to ultimately finish in 8th.

Jann Mardenborough (round 11 – 1st / round 12 – 1st)
“I was able to take victory in both a wet and dry race so it was a really good weekend for me. I crashed in Thursday’s practice but the team were able to get the car back in shape and it felt really good in both qualifying and the race.

It’s really fun to race at Motegi because the races really come down to hard braking battles. There are still 5 races remaining in the championship so it might be a little early to be thinking about the title. I just want to focus on the next tournament and make sure I’m completely prepared for it.”

Mitsunori Takaboshi (round 11 – 7th / round 12 – 8th)
“I was called in suddenly to compete, but on the physical side, I’m always keeping up with my training so there was no problem there. I’m still not completely accustomed to competing in the F3 so I was a little worried, but I was able to get passed that with the two days of practice leading up to qualifying.

I managed to mark down the fastest time in the pre-qualifying practice so it was a little disappointing that I wasn’t able to pull out the same pace when qualifying was held under wet conditions. Still, the fact that in round 12 I was able to jump up a number of positions here at Motegi, which is known as a track where it is difficult to overtake, really proved the potential of the car, which is good.”