The 2014 Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) Round 3 brings their Asia’s finest to Autopolis in Kyushu, Japan, after an interval after its Round 2 at Indonesia. Despite worries of rain and fog, the qualification session took place on Day 2.
Tamada missed the Autopolis round last year, due to his injury at Suzuka, so this would be his first time to race here in ARRC. Heavy fog cancelled Free Practice 1 on the first day. Free practice was held, although the course was in wet condition, and was cut short due to heavy fog again.
Both the rain and the fog was being worried for day 2. Free Practice was also held in the wet condition. However, blue sky started to peek through the clouds over Autopolis, and the qualifying session took place in dry condition.
Although some parts of the track was still wet, the racing line was already dry, and all riders went out on slick tires. It was important for the riders to quickly mark a good lap, as the weather at Autopolis this week was hard to predict. This was Tamada’s first time out on slick tires this week, and was far from his perfect setting. As Tamada was starting to pace up, small rain started to fall, and all riders came back to the pit box. Tamada was 9th fastest at this point, and if rain continues, that would be his qualifying result.
However, the rain stopped right away, and Tamada went out on the track again. He would pace in the same time as the leaders in Sector 1 & 2, but was obviously slower in the uphill Sector 3. Although Tamada was unsatisfied with his set-up, he lapped his best at 1’56.534, and qualified 5th fastest for tomorrow’s Race 1 & 2.
Katsuaki Fujiwara (Kawasaki) took pole position at this Kawasaki’s home track. Jakkrit Sawangswat (Honda) qualified 2nd fastest, followed by Tomoyoshi Koyama (Honda) making the front row. Tamada’s teammates, Zaqhwan Zaidi qualified 7th fastest, while Zamri Baba qualified 9th.
(photo by Shigeto Kawakami)