A lights-to-flag win for ‘Hirobon’ in TCR Japan’s Saturday race

A lights-to-flag win for ‘Hirobon’ in TCR Japan’s Saturday race

28 August 2021

‘Hirobon’ claimed a lights to flag win in TCR Japan’s first race at Twin Ring Motegi and so extended his leadership in the Saturday Series to 44 points; this was the third victory of the season for the Birth Racing Project’s driver and his CUPRA.
The 23-year-old rookie Yusuke Shiotsu completed an impressive Touring Car debut in the DOME Racing Honda Civic, by closely following ‘Hirobon’ in both the Qualifying and the Race, while championship returnee MIneki Okura recovered after a bad start and drove his Alfa Romeo Giulietta to finish third.
At the start, Shiotsu started well from P2 on the grid, but pole sitter ‘Hirobon’ swerved to the left to close the gap and led the field into T1. Behind them, Yuki Fujii was third, while Masanobu Kato and Masayoshi Oyama passed Okura who made a slow start from P4.
‘Hirobon’ built a small gap over Shiotsu during the first two laps, while Okura overtook Oyama for P5 in lap 3 and then put the pressure on Kato.
Further back, there was a close fight for P6 between Oyama, Kenji Suzuki, Keiichi Inoue and ‘Mototino’; Oyama spun in lap 5 and ‘Mototino’ seized the opportunity to move up from ninth to sixth.
In lap 6, Okura finally passed Kato for P4 after their cars made slight contact.
During the final part of the race, Shiotsu was able to close the gap to ‘Hirobon’, and so did Okura who was now chasing Fujii for P3.
In lap 9, Okura passed Fujii and took the third position, while ‘Hirobon’ increased his pace and hold on to the first position until the chequered flag, beating Shiotsu by 3.2 seconds.
The Sunday Series race will start tomorrow at 11:25 local time (04:25 CEST); live streaming at www.tcr-series.com

Motegi – Race 1
1. ‘Hirobon’ (Birth Racing Project, CUPRA), 11 laps
2. Yusuke Shiotsu (DOME Racing, Honda Civic Type R FK8), 3.254
3. Mineki Okura (M-Prototyping Stile Corse, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce), 5.561
4. Yuki Fujii (Team Hitotsuyama, Audi RS 3 LMS), 10.195
5. Masanobu Kato (Team Mars, Audi RS 3 LMS), 10.925

Championship points – Saturday series
1. ‘Hirobon’ 89 pts; 2. M. Kato 45; 3. K. Inoue 34

Picture: TCR Japan

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