Photo: TCR Japan

Takuro Shinohara tops official pre-season test at Fuji

Takuro Shinohara was fastest in the official TCR Japan series pre-season test at Fuji International Speedway for Audi Team Hitotsuyama.

The Audi RS 3 LMS driver lapped the Japanese circuit in 1:48.043 and was well clear of his closest rival in the form of team-mate Hideki Nakahara, just over six tenths behind.

Honda driver Resshu Shioya was third fastest for Team G/Motion, just below nine tenths of a second from the top time.

Mineki Okura was fastest of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR drivers in fourth position, recording a time of 1:49.015 and was just 77 thousands of a second faster than Birth Racing Project (BRP) driver Hirobon.

Takeshi Matsumoto, who claimed the 2019 TCR Japan Sunday series title, was sixth fastest behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, 1.2 seconds from Shinohara’s time.

Jun Makino was seventh fastest for Nilzz Racing, driving an Audi RS 3 LMS, with Jun Sato rounding off the top eight for team Adenau.

Rio Shimono, the sole female driver of the series, was ninth fastest ahead of BRP team owner Kouichi Okumura, driving a Cupra TCR, marking the first time the Spanish manufacturer is represented in the series.

Yuya Oota, who is entered for the season by BRP, was supposed to take over the wheel from Okumura after an initial shakedown but was unable to continue due to a lack of spare parts from Spain due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 13 cars were on site for the test, that was closed off to the general public due to the pandemic, but only 12 cars took part in the test.

This was as Go & Fun Squadra Corse driver Hideji Maejima was forced to sit out both the morning and afternoon session due to delayed spare parts from Italy.

The 2020 TCR Japan series is scheduled to start at Autopolis on May 16-17.