Race 2, Round 3/4
Date: 16/17 April 2005
Track: Suzuka (5,807 km)
Suzuka: Report "More glory for JP"
Date: 17-04-2005

Over the last weekend Suzuka held the rounds 3 and 4 of the All Japan Formula 3 championship.
The weekend started with a great battle in qualifying between the 3 Tom's drivers and Dome Honda factory driver Hideki Mutoh.

In first qualifying Ikeda was on pole and JP qualified second after suffering a bit with traffic through the session. Kazuki Nakajima qualified 3rd and concluded a 1-2-3 for Team Tom's.
Suffering with traffic in first qualifying, JP decided to stay longer in the pits for the 2nd qualifying and get out in the last 10 minutes. The strategy worked very well and JP set the fastest laptime with a clear 4 tenths gap to the 2nd placed Kazuki Nakajima. In 3rd place was Mutoh.

" The traffic in the first session was driving me crazy, everytime I was on a flying lap I caught someone slowing down. In the second session I asked my team to send me out in the last 10 minutes when everyone was pushing and I had no traffic. Then I could do 3 laps which was good enough for pole, that was fantastic."

Still on saturday the 3rd round. Ikeda starting from pole had a good start and stayed ahead of JP in the first corner, followed by Nakajima in 3rd and Mutoh 4th. After a few laps Ikeda and JP started to pull away from Nakajima and the attention was all in the battle between Ikeda and JP. The pressure JP put in Ikeda increased every lap and for a few times he tried to overtake in the last chicane, but Ikeda defended himself well. With 4 laps to go JP finally made a brave move in the pit straight to overtake Ikeda and take the lead. From there the lead always got bigger and JP crossed the line to win for the second time in this season. In second place finished Ikeda followed by Nakajima, making the podium all Tom's.

"Great race for me and my teammates. I had to stay patient and wait for the right chance to pass Ikeda. I took a chance in the main straight and it worked out, so I'm glad. The team deserves a podium like this for the good work they have been doing."

The 4th round was held on sunday. JP was starting from pole position with teammate Nakajima in 2nd and Mutoh in 3rd. Mutoh starting from 3rd had a rocket start and managed to overtake Nakajima and JP. In the first corner JP had a slide and went off in the grass allowing teammates Nakajima and Ikeda go through. After that JP had to work very hard through the race. In a few laps he overtook Ikeda, then Nakajima a few laps later. The gap from Mutoh was around 3 seconds when JP started chasing him, but soon that gap was dropping and with 2 laps before the end JP was already attacking Mutoh for the 1st place. Mutoh defended the lead in every possible way in the end and never gave JP space, however in the final lap JP pushed hard and got under Mutoh in a nose and tail battle. The duo came down the back straight battling and JP tried the inside in the last chicane, but Mutoh was there and they touched each other. Mutoh kept the lead in the last corner and won the race just 3 tenths ahead of JP. In 3rd finished Nakajima also driving a Tom's car.

" I was happy about my start and then came Mutoh like a rocket, I really thought he had a jump start. Then I had a slide on the first corner and my teammates passed me. Overtaking them took me a long time and when I did Mutoh was a long way ahead. I closed up all the gap and attacked him the end, but maybe I needed one more lap. My car was really great and I'm confident we will keep up our performance in Sugo next race."



Information of Japan F3 are from / Japanese Branch: Takahiko Nakajima
Japanese Formula 3 information site:
Official Site All Japan Formula-3-Championship:

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