FR Japan: Dominant Miki Koyama wins 3 out of 3 at Motegi
An unstoppable Miki Koyama completed a dominant weekend at Motegi and scored three pole positions, three wins and three fastest laps in Formula Regional Japan.
Just one week after her first single seater win, Miki Koyama is now looking unstoppable in formula regional japanese championship, as the former W Series racer completed a perfect weekend at Twin Ring Motegi, third race meeting of the 2022 season. Koyama, 24, took three podiums at the Fuji season opener, before scoring two race wins at Okayama last week. In doing so, she claimed the championship lead. At Motegi, Koyama kept momentum and immediately showed her speed around the 4.801 km of the Motegi Road Course, dominating practice sessions and topping the timesheets in qualifying. With the best second-fastest lap, she conquered pole position in all three races last weekend. Under clear skies, Koyama had a great start and cleared the competition at lights out in Race 1, followed by Yoshiaki Katayama and rookie Kazuki Oki. The latter battled in the opening laps with Sota Ogawa, until the latter made a move stick on lap 3 to advance into a podium position. Koyama continued to stretch her gap in the lead until a Safety Car neutralization on lap 7, after Masaru Miura spun and beached his CMS F3 car into the gravel trap at Turn 1. Miki Koyama's 4 second gap was therefore deleted - but the driver of the #8 Super License machine kept it under control at the restart on lap 9 and slowly built back a margin, despite Kayatama trying to put some pressure. Ultimately, he couldn't keep up with Miki's pace and the Toyota Junior driver crossed the finish line to secure her third win of the season, 3.5 seconds up the road. Behind them, Sota Ogawa held on to third after a race-long battle with series newcomer Kazuki Oki. Yuki Tanaka was fourth and class winner among the Master entries, preceding Takashi Hata and Hirobon. A technical issue for Hirobon on the starting grid of Race 2 meant that the field had to take an extra formation lap, as the Master category leader had to line up from the pit lane. Despite some wheelspin, Koyama led the pack at Turn 1 and soon pulled away from Ogawa Sota and Yoshiaki Katayama. Approximately 2-second per lap quicker than her pursuers, Miki Koyama opened a 7 second gap by lap 3 - before Katayama attacked Ogawa for second and made contact that left Ogawa with a broken rear wing. They would continue to battle despite the scratched cars - but Hata and Tanaka then dived on the inside at Turn 9 as they tried to seize the opportunity and ended up tangling at Turn 9, when a multiple-car pile up saw Katayama, Hata, Tanaka and Miura involved. Only Miura would continue, as Oki navigated through the chaos to claim second place. The race remained green and Koyama now led by over 10 seconds, with unchallenged pace throughout. After 15 lonely laps, Miki Koyama took victory with an over 20 second margin and preceded Kazuki Oki - at his first podium in the series - and Masaru Miura. The third and final race of the weekend at Motegi was a cleaner one and Koyama once again kept her cool at the start, leading Sota Ogawa and Yoshiaki Katayama at the start. Half a second per lap faster, Miki Koyama extended her lead by 10 seconds by lap 15, while positions behind her were settled after the first lap. Ogawa and Katamaya rounded out the podium, while Oki and Hata completed the top five. Hata led the Master category, ahead of Miura and Tanaka, after the retirement of Hirobon. At a historic venue for women in motorsport - Motegi played host to Danica Patrick's first and only victory in Indycar, albeit on the oval layout - Miki Koyama is writing a little yet significant chapter of racing history with her Formula Regional campaign. With dominant pace throughout the first half of the season, the Japanese lady extended her lead in the championship as she now enjoys a 59 points advantage over second-placed Sota Ogawa. Japanese Formula Regional will return to the track in two weeks' time at Sportsland Sugo, before the summer break.