Benoit Treluyer took his 3rd win of the Formula Nippon season at Fuji over the weekend, extending his title lead to 14 points over his Impul team mate Tsugio Matsuda.

Treluyer began the race from 3rd place on the starting grid, on a track that was still damp from morning rain. However, his task was made easier when pole sitter Takashi Kogure (ARTA Lola-Honda) spun off and hit the wall on the warm up lap. Fellow front row starter Satoshi Motoyama lead away from the start with Treluyer immediately behind, both of them, like the majority of the field, on slick tyres.

Impul had chosen to go for completely different strategies on their pair of Lola-Toyotas with Matsuda opting for wet weather tyres. But it was Treluyer on slicks that was on the move as he took Motoyama for the lead on lap 2, with a daring move up the inside in to the hairpin.

After just a few laps the complexion of the race started to change as spots of rain once again began to fall. Matsuda’s pace ensured that he soon passed Motoyama and began homing in on team mate Treluyer, whom he duly despatched on lap 6. From there Matsuda began lapping around 4 seconds faster than the rest of the field and looked set to dominate the race, only for the rain to stop after approximately 15 laps and ensure that the slick shod cars soon recovered their pace.

Noticing this instantly, Team Impul’s engineers immediately brought the leader in to the pits for a change to slick tyres. This put Matsuda down to 13th position, with Treluyer re-claiming the lead from Toshihiro Kaneishi (ARTA). Behind Kaneishi were Andre Lotterer (TOM'S), Takeshi Tsuchiya (TOM'S), Motoyama, Bjorn Wirdheim (DANDELION), Katsuyuki Hiranaka (EMS), Yuji Tachikawa (CERUMO), and Toranosuke Takagi (Team LeMans), all bunched together.

With the conditions stabilising the race settled down but Treluyer had a significant 12 second advantage despite losing his fuel meter read-out on his dashboard, meaning that he was forced to back off in the closing laps to be sure of having enough fuel to finish the race.

Andre Lotterer grabbed 2nd place from Kaneishi towards the end of the race after the Japanese driver flat spotted his tyres whilst braking for turn one. Lotterer had started in 14th position on thee grid after spinning in qualifying. He is now just one point behind 2nd placed Tsugio Matsuda in the series points standings. Matsuda himself finished a lowly 7th.

Kaneishi also ceded 3rd place to the charging Motoyama who had fallen back with some engine problems earlier in the race. However, the multiple Nippon champion altered the fuel mixture of his engine and he picked up the pace to claim the final podium position.

With just three rounds to go at Sugo, Motegi and Suzuka, Treluyer’s points advantage puts him in prime position to become the first ever French winner of the Formula Nippon title.

Race Results

1. Benoit Treluyer (F) Impul Lola-Toyota
2. Andre Lotterer (D) DHG Tom's Lola-Toyota
3. Satoshi Motoyama (J) Impul Lola-Toyota
4. Toshihiro Kaneishi (J) ARTA Lola-Honda
5. Yuji Tachikawa (J) Cerumo Lola-Toyota
6. Bjorn Wirdheim (S) Dandelion Lola-Honda
7. Tsugio Matsuda (J) Impul Lola-Toyota
8. Toranasuke Takagi (J) Team Le Mans Lola-Toyota
9. Loic Duval (F) Nakajima Lola-Honda
10. Ronnie Quintarelli (I) IngIng Lola-Toyota
11. Yuji Ide (J) Dandelion Lola-Honda
12. Masataka Yanagida (J) Kondo Lola-Toyota
13. Kazuki Hoshino (J) Impul Lola-Toyota
14. Katsuyuki Hiranaka (J) EMS Lola-Honda
15. Ryo Michigami (J) 5Zigen Lola-Honda
16. Hideki Mutoh (J) Nakajima Lola-Honda
17. Ryo Orime (J) 5Zigen Loal-Honda
18. Seiji Ara (J) Kondo Lola-Toyota
DNF Takhashi Tsuchiya (J) DHG Tom's Lola-Toyota
DNF Naoki Yokomizo (J) IngIng Lola--Toyota
DNF Tatsuya Kataoka (J) Le Mans Lola-Toyota
DNF Takashi Kogure (J) ARTA Lola-Honda

Fastest Lap: SATOSHI MOTOYAMA 1'29.946(56/65) 182.630 km/h


1. Treluyer 35pts
2. Matsuda 21pts
3. Lotterer 20pts
4. Motoyama 14pts
5. Wirdheim 12.5pts
6. Duval 11pts
7. Kaneishi 9pts
8. Tachikawa 8pts
9. Kataoka 5pts
10. Yamamoto 3.5pts

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

Another win and an increased Championship lead for Benoit Treluyer.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Tsugio Matsuda finished seventh at Fuji in the Impul Lola.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Ronnie Quintarella in the Boss Inging car.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Satoshi Motoyama finished third in his Impul Lola.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Takashi Kogura failed to finish in the Arta car.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)
Hideki Mutoh and Masataka Yanagida battle for position.
(Picture f-nippon.co.jp)