Photo: TCR Japan

Takeshi Matsumoto claims hard-fought victory at Motegi

Team Wakayama driver Takeshi Matsumoto fought hard to withstand the attacks from Takuro Shinohara to take his first victory of the year in the second TCR Japan series race at Motegi.

Matsumoto had taken the pole position for today’s race, with Saturday winner Shinohara completing the front row of the grid.

Matsumoto defended the inside to keep first position as the lights went to green ahead of Shinohara and Honda driver Rio Shimono.

Resshu Shioya from Team G-Motion settled in fourth, with Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR driver Hirobon in fifth place.

Shinohara intensified his attack on Matsumoto on lap seven, with both spending almost en entire lap side-by-side.

BRP driver Kenji Suzuki went off the track and got stuck on the gravel trap with three minutes left of the race. The marshals was able to recover his Audi RS 3 LMS without the intervention of a safety car.

Matsumoto made a mistake at Turn 1 on the last lap, with Shinohara momentarily getting ahead. The Audi driver went over the grass trying to get past, but Matsumoto was able to regain lead.

Matsumoto took his first victory of the year as the chequered flag fell, followed by Shinohara and Shimono.

Shioya fended off Hirobon’s attacks to finish fourth, with Mineki Okura, driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, in sixth place.

Junichi Unemoto of J’S Racing was seventh, followed by team-mate Mototino, also driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR. Hideki Nakahara of Team Hitotsuyama and Jun Makino of Azabu Wako’s ED Niles NGK team completed the top ten.

Matsumoto heads the Sunday series points standings on 30 points, eight points ahead of Shinohara.

The next round of the TCR Japan Series takes place at Okayama on September 26-27.