Daisuke Yamawaki and Shinichi Takagi took a second Japan Cup victory at Fuji on Sunday after a dramatic and exceptional opening stint where Takagi was the only driver with slick tyres in damp conditions.

By Steven Walton

Takagi started the #98 K-Tunes Racing Ferrari from pole position for the 60-minute sprint race at Fuji on Sunday afternoon.

The Ferrari was believed to be the only car on slicks and it looked like the wrong call initially as Takagi was effortlessly passed by several cars on the first lap.

The #96 K-Tunes Racing Lexus driven by Morio Nitta took the lead.

Takagi fell back to seventh after the first 10 minutes and was more than 15 seconds off the race lead.

But, about 15 minutes into the race, the track conditions improved and Takagi’s lap times improved, allowing him to rapidly climb back through the field.

About 25 minutes into the race, he snatched the lead back.

By the time Takagi brought his #98 Ferrari in for its mandatory pitstop, he had already built a commanding gap which entirely negated the team’s 15-second success penalty for winning the first race a day earlier.

Yamawaki took over the #98 Ferrari in the second half of the race and was unchallenged as he took victory by one minute.

Sunday’s victory capped off a perfect weekend for the #98 K-Tunes Racing Ferrari, which not only won both Japan Cup races but also got both poles too. Yamawaki and Takagi now lead the Japan Cup standings too.

The #98 Ferrari was one of just two Pro-Am GT3 entries this weekend, with the other six GT3 cars racing in the Am class.

Tadao Uematsu, the solo driver of the #55 Team Macchina McLaren finished second overall, just two-tenths ahead of the third-placed #7 Comet Racing Ferrari shared by Yusuke Yamasaki and Yorikatsu Tsujiko.

The seven-car GT4 field finished dramatically as the #82 Sunrise Blvd Porsche, shared by Yoshitomo Makino and Daiki Fujiwara, passed the #39 Toyota Gazoo Racing Indonesia car for the GT4 class lead on the final lap of the race.

Top five

  1. #98 K-Tunes Racing (D. Yamawaki/S.Takagi)
  2. #55 Team Macchina (T. Uematsu) +1:00.763
  3. #7 Comet Racing (Y. Tsujiko/Y. Yamasaki) +1:00.964
  4. #96 K-Tunes Racing (K. Suenaga/M. Nitta) +1:42.381
  5. #9 Bingo Racing (Motoki/S. Takei) +1 lap

Full results are available here.

Header image credit: SRO Motorsports Group


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