Winner – Greg Olson (Autohouse Racing) 29 laps 40:30.666
Fastest Lap – Daniele Vidimari (Team RSI) 1:22.674
Pole Position – Luis Moreno (ANBU Racing) 1:21.155
Greg Olson has taken victory at Fuji for Round 2 of the RF2 Asia Formula Renault All-Japan Series. The Autohouse Racing driver qualified behind the ANBU Racing car of Luis Moreno, but overtook Moreno on the first lap and led the race until the end. Olson said after the race that he “managed to max my potential in qualifying and get on the front row which I was happy with…I got a great start and got ahead of Luis and from there I was just trying to maintain a bit of a gap and look after my front tyres.” To compound Moreno’s first lap misery, Niranjan Kumar of Tri-Continental Racing moved to take second position and held it until the end of the race. Kumar was driving in his first RF2 Asia event for some time and gambled on the Medium downforce configuration of the car. He stated after that he, “got a good start…it was important to get past Luis who was on high downforce.” Kumar could keep Moreno behind in the corners and pulled away on the straights. Despite pressure from Daniele Vidimari in the closing stages, Kumar held on for second. Team RSI’s Vidimari had an outstanding race, finishing six places higher than his starting position. Vidimari initially rued a lack of practice leading to a slightly poor qualifying, but he began to put in faster and faster laps as he climbed up the order. He set the fastest lap of the race on lap 27 with old tyres, underlining the raw pace the Italian has in the car. Vidimari now leads the championship standing by a single point from Greg Olson and is looking forward to the races to come. Luis Moreno must now be rueing not having converted two pole positions into victories and must now consider how he is going to reverse the trend to get himself back in the championship fight.
Further down the field, Mark Robinson converted fifth in qualifying to fifth in the race. Robinson said afterwards that he was pleased with his qualifying time, some four tenths faster than his practice pace. After a cautious start, the Tri-Contintal driver was well placed to take advantage of an incident in turn 10 to take third. However, Vidimari and Moreno’s pace was too much for Robinson and he paced himself to the chasing Dirty Gweilo Racing entry of Chris Shire. Shire never looked like challenging Robinson’s pace and only reduced the gap when overtaking back markers. “Qualifying was disappointing as I just couldn’t get a decent lap together,” said Shire. “I had a good start, but was tagged by a spinning Konstantin Bach and was chasing from then on.” Shire took sixth, some ten seconds ahead of Just-Racing Turtles driver Dmitriy Vozniy. Shire was apologetic after the race following a clumsy overtaking move on the Russian. Carlos Limjoco, in his first entry into the series, finished in the points in eighth having had a battle with Vozniy and Shire early in the race. The Archon Racing driver stated after the race that it was a lonely race in the midfield, but he kept it clean to being home valuable points.
Audie Devanugraha and Malaysian RF2 Racers driver Han Liang took the final points paying positions. Devanugraha, of Crybaby Racing, was a little disappointed after the race having had a good qualifying. However, ping issues virtually destroyed his race and he was involved in several incidents as a result. Liang improved two places from qualifying to take tenth.
Just outside the points was Team Garou’s Pol Faustino who suffered a first lap incident into the first turn, yet finished several places higher than his starting position. Faustino took advantage of others misfortune at the start of the race to move up several places. Unfortunately a spin later in the race caused a significant flat spot and caused Faustino to drop out of the points to Liang.
Macau Sim Racing’s HengOn Sam drove a creditable race, although finished 2 laps down alongside Hydra Racing’s Denis Hawkins.The Tri-Continental entrant of Chris Payne suffered lost his rear wing and had to spend a minute and a half in the pits repairing the damage. Payne was disappointed after the race as he had been targeting a top 10 finish and felt he had good pace. Jason Back was running as high as ninth before having to retire due to damage sustained in an accident he couldn’t avoid happening in front of him. Lukas Lichten pushed hard throughout, but had to retire on lap 15. Konstantin Bach, despite an outstanding qualifying session, suffered from high ping and spun on lap one. The Just-Racing Turtles Team driver retired on lap 7.
Full results and standings can be found through the menu bar above.
Round 3 of the RF2 Asia 2018 FR3.5 All-Japan series at Sportsland Sugo will start at 10:00 UTC+0 on 2nd September 2018.
Entries for the series are still possible. If you are not registered and wish to take part we would love to accommodate you! See the links in the title bar for details, or click here for series sign up!
Images for the article kindly captured and submitted by Carlos Limjoco.