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July 16, 2012

NISSAN Motor Co., Ltd.
NISSAN Motorsports International Co., Ltd.

NDDP DRIVER SASAKI SCORES SECOND STEP ON THE PODIUM
- All-Japan F3 championship Rounds 5 and 6 Race Report -

July 14-15, Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka prefecture)
Rounds 5 and 6 of the All-Japan F3 championship took place at Fuji Speedway over the weekend. In the #23 car, NDDP (Nissan Driver Development Program) driver Daiki Sasaki stood on the second step of the podium after Round 5.

#23 of Sasaki

Round 5 podium

Round 2 winners' platform

The #23 machine of Daiki Sasaki

Qualifying started in wet conditions on the 14th (Sat). Although Sasaki was in good form on the dry track surface during the practice session on the 13th (Fri), he struggled in the gradually drying conditions during qualifying. Despite this, he managed to take 2nd position in his class in Round 5 and 3rd place in Round 6, putting him in a good position to aim for a top result.

The track surface steadily dried as races from the other categories were completed, and by the time Round 5 started, the track was dry. Sasaki dropped back several positions at the start but subsequently recovered his starting position through overtaking maneuvers. In particular, his pace did not drop off as much as the rest of the pack during the second half of the race. Although his machine has less engine power that the C class, he managed to keep up with the class leader until the end and claim 2nd position. While not entirely satisfactory, he proved speed of his machine by recording the fastest lap time, showing his confidence for Round 6, held the following day.

Sunday (15th) also started under rain. With the sun appearing at times, race conditions were similar to the changing conditions during Friday's qualifying sessions. Starting from 3rd position in his class, Sasaki dropped back on lap 2 as he came into contact with the car in front, and ended further back in 5th position after being penalised because of the incident. However, like the previous day, the machine pace was good and he managed to record the fastest lap with a best time that was 0.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, accumulating valuable championship points in the process.

Daiki Sasaki (2nd in Round 5, 5th in Round 6)
"My start in Round 5 was disappointing, but I think I showed improvement for Round 6 by reflecting on that mistake. The conditions in Round 6 were a little wet, and it was difficult to judge how hard to push the car without going off. Despite that, my pace was very good, so it was a pity to think that I could have maintained the lead and won if not for the incident. Nonetheless, I showed my pace in overtaking the C class and N class machines during the race. If I can create the impression that overtaking is possible, it will put pressure on the other drivers. In that sense, I feel it was a race that has put me in a better position for the coming rounds."

<All-Japan F3 championship Round 5 Race Results>
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 7 HFDP RACING F307 Kazuki Hiramine 24'42.253
2 23 S Road NDDP F3 Daiki Sasaki 1.157
3 20 KCMG Gary THOMPSON 15.432
All-Japan F3 championship N Class - Race 6
Pos No Machine Driver Time / Behind
1 7 HFDP RACING F307 Kazuki Hiramine 35'10.864
2 19 KCMG Matthew HOWSON 6.658
3 6 Net Move F306 Hiroshi Koizumi 11.989
5 23 S Road NDDP F3 Daiki Sasaki 36.374

The All-Japan F3 Championship is a race series using F3-class formula cars. It is divided into two classes, for machines compliant with current FIA vehicle standards (C Class), and machines using a single make of engine produced byTOM'S, a Toyota affiliate (N Class).
Nissan, Toyota and Honda have each established their own driver development programs, and support participating drivers. In Nissan's development program, the NDDP (Nissan Driver Development Program), the aim is to educate young drivers to enable them to compete worldwide and in the Japanese top category. In 2012, Nissan is supporting the participation of NDDP Advanced Scholarship driver Daiki Sasaki (N Class).

<Related Link>
NISSAN MOTORSPORTS Web Site

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