Takeshi Matsumoto encored in TCR Japan’s Race 2 at Sugo that was the replacing round for the Sunday Series round of the previous event at Autopolis that had been cancelled due to heavy rain.
Just like in the previous race, Matsumoto took a lights-to-flag victory in his Birth Racing Project-run Volkswagen Golf GTI and even allowed himself the luxury to reduce the pace in the final laps, dissipating much of his huge advantage. ‘Hirobon’ claimed another second place and extended his leadership in the standings, while Takuro Shinohara failed again at the start and then completed a raging recovery to finish third.
The start was a perfect repeat of Race 1, Matsumoto sprinted from the pole position ahead of ‘Hirobon’, Masanobu Kato and Ai Miura, while Shinohara stalled from P2 and dropped at the back of the field.
However, this time Shinohara’s recovery was much quicker and by the end of lap 2 he had already moved into P5 and began closing the gap to Miura. He passed Miura’s Honda at the beginning of the sixth lap, but then it took him four laps to bend Kato’s stubborn defence to take third.
At front, Matsumoto had built a gap too big to be closed, while ‘Hirobon’ was comfortably running in second position; time was ticking out and and despite his efforts, Shinohara could not get close enough to make a move on ‘Hirobon’.
Action will resume tomorrow morning with the Qualifying session for the Sunday Series round of the current event that will start at 13:20 local time (07:20 CEST); live streaming at www.tcr-series.com.
Sugo – Race 2
1. Takeshi Matsumoto (Birth Racing Project, Volkswagen Golf GTI), 16 laps
2. ‘Hirobon’ (Birth Racing Project, CUPRA), 3.978
3. Takuro Shinohara (Hitotsuyama Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 4.697
4. Masanobu Kato (Team Mars, Audi RS 3 LMS), 10.125
5. Ai Miura (DOME Racing, Honda Civic Type R FK8), 12.632
Championship points – Sunday series
1. ‘Hirobon’ 53 pts; 2. M. Kato 36; 3. T. Matsumoto 30
Picture: TCR Japan