A lights-to-flag win for ‘Hirobon’ in Fuji’s Race 1

A lights-to-flag win for ‘Hirobon’ in Fuji’s Race 1

03 April 2021

‘Hirobon’ opened the 2021 TCR Japan with a lights-to-flag victory in the Saturday race at Fuji Speedway.
The Birth Racing Project’s driver made good use of the pole position and drove his CUPRA to lead the field into Turn 1. Behind him the Audi RS 3 LMS cars of Yuki Fujii, Keiichi Inoue and Masanobu Kato delivered a tough fight for the second position, while ‘Hirobon’ benefitted from the situation to open a 3.5-second gap at the end of lap 1.
The three Audi drivers kept on fighting, with Fujii and Inoue driving abreast until the former moved into P2 on lap 3 and began to pull away. Two laps later, Kato overtook Inoue for P3.
Fujii began to eat on ‘Hirobon’s advantage, then in lap 9, Kato’s Audi stopped at Turn 1 with a broken front suspension and the safety car was deployed. Racing resumed for the final lap with ‘Hirobon’ closely followed by Fujii who tried an overtaking manoeuvre on the outside of Turn 1 but went wide. And so ‘Hirobon’ crossed the finishing line with a slim margin, while Inoue completed the podium ahead of Jun Sato’s Volkswagen Golf GTI.   
Mineki Okura recovered from a bad start and a spin in lap 2 after making contact with Masayoshi Oyama; at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Okura finished seventh behind the Honda Civic cars of Akihiko Nakaya and Naoto Takeda.    
The second race is due to start tomorrow at 12:40 local time (05:40 CEST), with Fujii on pole position and ‘Hirobon’ alongside him; live streaming at www.tcr-series.com

Fuji – Race 1
1. ‘Hirobon’ (Birth Racing Project, CUPRA), 12 laps
2. Yuki Fujii (Hitotsuyama Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 0.867
3. Keiichi Inoue (NILZZ Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 2.789
4. Jun Sato (Adenau IDI, Volkswagen Golf GTI), 4.117
5. Akihiko Nakaya (DOME Racing, Honda Civic Type R FK8), 5.443

Championship points – Saturday series
1. ‘Hirobon’ 30 pts; 2. Yuki Fujii 22; 3. Keiichi Inoue 18

Picture: TCR Japan


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