Andre Lotterer took his DHG Toms Toyota Lola to a dramatic victory at Motegi over the weekend, leading home Benoit Treluyer (Impul Lola) in difficult and changeable conditions.

As the cars lined up on the grid the heavy morning rain had abated and the track was drying quickly. However, the only driver to gamble on slick tyres was the winner of the previous round at Suzuka, Loic Duval in his Nakajima Lola.

At the green light Takashi Kogure (Arta Lola) made a storming start from pole position to lead the pack in to the first corner from Sakon Yamamoto (Kondo Lola) and Satoshi Motoyama (Impul).

Kogure’s start was deemed to have been made prematurely and he was given a drive- through penalty which he completed on lap 3, leaving Yamamoto heading the field from Motoyama. The car on the move though, in the early stages, was Tsugio Matsuda (Impul Lola) who snatched 2nd from Motoyama on lap 6. This though was short lived after he accidentally triggered his pit lane speed limiter and dropped back to 6th.

The spirited Matsuda soon pushed his way back up through the field to 2nd place, and when the race leader, Yamamoto, started to experience a loose wheel and was forced to pit, Matsuda took a sensational lead.

With the pit stops coming thick and fast in the early stages due to the rapidly drying track, Duval’s already slick shod Nakajima Lola-Honda was vying for the lead with Yuji Tachikawa (Cerumo Lola). Despite being obviously so much faster on his slick tyres, Duval struggled to get passed the defensive Tachikawa and contact was made at the first corner on lap 15, spinning the unfortunate Tachikawa down the order, while Duval continued un-damaged.

The stewards took a dim view of the altercation and Duval was given a 10 second pit penalty for his part in the incident. However, such was his lead by this stage that Duval rejoined the race still at the head of the pack, most of whom had now changed to slick tyres.

At approximately half distance the skies darkened once again and rain began to fall. This was immaculate timing for race leader Duval as he had not yet made his mandatory pit stop.

On lap 41 Duval pitted but a slow stop ensured that he re-joined just behind Andre Lotterer who had ignored the shower of rain and stayed on slick tyres. With the rain having abated and the track starting to dry again, the mixed conditions started to favour those who remained on slick rubber.

Behind the German/French battle, Treluyer, who started from a lowly 20th on the starting grid due to the fickle conditions, was lapping 2 seconds faster thanhis rivals. He soon dispatched Duval for 2nd place and immediately began to reel in Lotterer.

In the closing stages the two were nose to tail with Treluyer often looking down the inside of Lotterer in to the first corner. But the German stood firm and held off the Impul Lola to take the chequered flag by just over a second.

Rounding out the podium was Satoshi Motoyama but he was almost a minute behind the battle for the lead. Duval fell back to 6th place after suffering in the drying conditions with his grooved rubber while Yamamoto finished a lowly 14th.

Round 4 of the 2006 Formula Nippon series will take place on 8/9 July at Suzuka.


1. Andre Lotterer (D) DHG Toms’s Lola-Toyota 1hr53m49.348s
2. Benoit Treluyer (F) Impul Lola-Toyota 1hr53m50.412s
3. Satoshi Motoyama (J) Impul Lola-Toyota 1hr54m44.481s
4. Bjorn Wirdheim (SWE) Dandelion Lola-Honda 1hr54m49.237s
5. Tsugio Matsuda (J) Impul Lola-Toyota 1hr54m49.237s
6. Loic Duval (F) Nakajima Lola-Honda 1hr55m31.263s
7. Ryo Michigami (J) 5Zigen Lola-Honda 1hr53m56.730s
8. Hideki Mutoh (J) Nakajima Lola-Honda + 1 lap
9. Masataka Yanagida (J) Kondo Lola-Toyota +1 lap
10. Yuji Tachikawa (J) Cerumo Lola-Toyota +1 lap
11. Tora Takagi (J) Le Mans Lola-Toyota +1 lap
12. Ryo Orime (J) 5Zigen Lola-Honda +2 laps
13. Shogo Mitsuyama (J) DPR Lola-Honda +2 laps
14. Sakon Yamamoto (J) Kondo Lola-Toyota +4 laps


Tatsuya Kataoka (J) Le Mans Lola-Toyota
Katsuyuki Hiranaka (J) Dandelion Lola-Honda
Kazuki Hoshino (J) Impul Lola-Toyota
Naoki Yokomizo (J) InIng Lola-Toyota
Ronnie Quintarelli (I) IngIng Lola-Toyota
Toshihiro Kaneishi (J) Arta Lola-Honda
Takeshi Tsuchiya (J) DHG Tom’s Lola-Toyota
Takahi Kogure (J) Arta Lola-Honda

FASTEST LAP: No.20 TSUGIO MATSUDA 1' 41.200 (34/62) km/h


1. Benoit Treluyer (F) 15pts
2. Andre Lotterer (D) 12pts
3. Loic Duval (F) 11pts
4. Bjorn Wirdheim 10.5pts
5. Satoshi Motoyama (J) 6pts
6. Tsugio Matsuda (J) 5pts
7. Sakon Yamamoto (J) 3.5
8. Ronnie Quintarelli (I) 1pt
8. Hideki Mutoh (J) 1pt

Form more information, please visit www.f-nippon.co.jp

Andre Lotterer was the victor at Twin Ring Motegi.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
The DHG TOMS team greet their winning driver.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Andre Lotterer at the press conference.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)