Asian F3: training ground for Koyama
Like Chadwick in Sepang, the second round of the Asian F3 hosted the acclaimed WSeries hopeful Miki Koyama in Buriram, Thailand.
Japanese driver Miki Koyama was among the pleasant surprises of the inaugural round of the WSeries in Hockenheim: her comeback from P17 on the grid to 7th certainly didn't go unnoticed and now Koyama will be under the spotlight for the upcoming round in Zolder.
Like Jamie Chadwick (who eventually went on to win the first WSeries race), Koyama took the opportunity to join Asian F3 to gain some more milage in the Tatuus T318 car powered by Alfa Romeo, the exact same car employed in the women-only series.
It is worth noting, though, that the two series use different tyres manufacturers (Hankook in WSeries, Giti in the Asian F3).
In the first race of the weekend in Buriram, Thailand, Koyama immediately caught the attention for her stellar qualifying performance that earned her the seventh position on the grid.
At the start, she lost one place, only to gain it back during the first lap. She spent most of the (very uneventful) race running alone, following Ayrton Simmons from a distance and managing the gap to Kanamaru behind.
The first race was once again monopolized by the Hitech cars of Ukyo Sasahara and Jack Doohan, with the Japanese ultimately prevailing on the Australian and making it 4 wins out of 4 for Hitech.
Koyama crossed the line in 7th, 5 seconds behind Simmons and 2.5 seconds in front of Kanamaru. The race direction however demoted her to 9th after several post-race penalties were applied.
The second race saw Koyama starting from 8th on the grid, as the front row was once again locked by the Hitech drivers.
After fierce battles in the midfield, the young Japanese lady dropped back to P10 but then started a determined recovery: she managed to get past Kanamaru and gained one more position after a contact between Leitch and Simmons sended the former into the gravel.
As Doohan lead in front of Sasahara, Koyama was able to catch Czech Beckhauser but ultimately finished behind for 0.008 at the photofinish.
The last race of the weekend at the Cheng International Circuit saw Koyama starting once again from the fourth row and battling hard in the middle of the pack during the first few laps. A contact was likely the cause for the 21 year-old from Yokohama to drop to P12.
At the front it was the usual Hitech supremacy, only with Leitch briefly worrying the leading duo in the very first stages of the race.
As Koyama seemingly struggled for pace, she crossed the line in P11 after Gowda had hit trouble on the last lap.
In a championship dominated by the same team running the WSeries, the Thai weekend was clearly training ground for Miki Koyama, who hasn't denied the intention to come back in the Asian F3 for more rounds in the near future.
Can we expect the Japanese promising star to take advantage of the extra track time in Zolder? Only a few days left to find out.
Ph credits: WSeries media