Sacha had a 30 point lead in the championship to TOM’S driver Ritomo Miyata after the third round at Okayama earlier in the month. With last weekend’s round consisting of two races instead of three, Sacha wasn’t catchable.
He started the weekend as the fastest driver overall in free practice, topping two of the three sessions before qualifying took place on Saturday.
Rain threatened throughout qualifying, and B-Max Racing with Motopark left it late to send Sacha out to set his lap times.
The French-Argentinian eventually qualified fifth for race one and fourth for race two. While he thought that he could have qualified higher up the grid, he explained what had stopped him.
“During my first flying lap on my second set of tyres I was affected by traffic in the final sector, which I believe cost me two to three-tenths of a second. And when it was time for the second flying lap the conditions had worsened.”
Sacha has been working hard on improving his race starts in between races, which proved to be important at Sportsland SUGO.
At the start of the first race he got off the line quickly. Sacha took the outside line and was able to stay alongside team-mate Enaam Ahmed around the first two corners, making the move up to fourth place at turn 3.
After a safety car period for an incident further down the field, Sacha stayed on the back of Hiroki Otsu when the race restarted. A lap later he made the move at turn 1 to take over the final podium place.
Sacha also got off to a great start in the second race and was able to take third place from TOM’S driver Kazuko Kotaka going into the first turn.
With the balance of the car making the race tough for Sacha and his team, he was able to keep hold of third position at the end of the 25 lap race.
Overall Sacha was happy with what he was able to achieve over the weekend but knows that there is still work to do before the end of the season.
“I’ve been working on my race starts, and it definitely paid off in both races today as I had some of the best starts on the grid. I’m also happy to manage to overtake cars as SUGO is a hard track to overtake on.
“I’m happy that I was able to finish in third place for both races, but I know that we have quite a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be.”
Sacha leaves Sportsland SUGO with a 19-point lead to Miyata in the standings after the TOM’S driver was able to close the gap slightly.
The fifth round of the Japanese F3 championship is set to take place in three weeks time at Fuji Speedway. Before then, Sacha will be back in action next weekend for Super GT’s only international round of the year in Thailand.