Nick Cassidy completed Race 10 and 11 of the Japanese Formula 3 Championship disappointed to have relinquished his championship lead after a tough weekend, struggling for grip in changing conditions at Okayama. However the young Kiwi remains confident he can reclaim the 4 point deficit and the series lead in coming races.
The unpredictable weather made set-up on the car difficult with a flooded track for the first Friday practice, Cassidy finished the remaining practice in P3, 2.3 seconds ahead of his PETRONAS TEAM TOMS team mate, Kenta Yamashita.
Saturday morning was completely dry with GT Asia instead of Super Formula running at same meeting, bench-marking track conditions wasn’t possible for qualifying. Despite these set-up challenges Cassidy qualified in P3 only 0.10 from pole position.
A high downforce circuit, Okayama proves hard to pass on and strong qualifying / starting is critical. Cassidy got away from the start line beautifully, but was pushed wide at turn one down to P5 and he struggled with car balance for the remainder of the race, uncomfortable with the handling.
“This was the first race for 16 races that I was off the podium – the streak had to end at some point.” Said Cassidy.
Good gains were made by the team overnight, leading to another good start but Cassidy was forced to settle for P3 early in race 2. The team were forced to use new brakes – which massively over heated and caused many problems throughout the race. Nick was passed at the restart for P3, and then attacked until the end but finished P4.
“I was thankful that the car got to the finish, to be honest. It was a tough weekend, such a little margin in qualifying made a big difference to the overall result and points. Frustrating as the last time we raced here we won by 10 seconds!” Said Cassidy.
Cassidy is now 2nd in championship, only 4 points off the lead and looking forwards.
“I’m confident that we will bounce back with a normal weekend, but for now off to UK to spend Silverstone GP with my friend Danny Kvyat and carry out some training. It’ll be good to put this weekend behind me and move on.”
Nick will return for the next round of Japan F3 on the weekend of 17 July at Fuji.