Sprint Race
FIA Formula2 2023
Round 11

Starting from 16th Ayumu Iwasa finishes 7th, he overtakes eight cars to score two points

be Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

The Sprint Race of Round 11 of the FIA Formula 2 Championship took place at the Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Starting from 16th Ayumu Iwasa finishes 7th, he overtakes eight cars to score two points

The qualifying round on Friday, 28 July was hit by heavy rain soon after it began, causing conditions to change dramatically. Ayumu Iwasa was late to enter the track due to his pit position. As a result, he was unable to set a time because of heavy rain during his flying lap and he finished 16th in Qualifying. This meant that Iwasa would have to start from P16 in Row 8 in both the Sprint Race and Feature Race.

The forecast was for rain again on Saturday the 29th, but by the time the Sprint Race kicked off, the rain had stopped and conditions were mostly dry. Also, due to the rain, the F1 Sprint Shootout was significantly delayed and so the following F2 Sprint Race was also delayed by 35 minutes. Under an ambient temperature of 20°C and a track temperature of 27°C, the formation lap got underway at 2:20pm. One car stalled and stopped at the start of the formation lap. This caused a problem with the starting procedure for several other cars and the formation lap had to be redone. As a result, one lap was deducted from the race to make it 17 laps. After a good start, Iwasa improved his position and finished the opening lap in 14th. He then overtook a car on the Kemmel straight on Lap 2 and moved to 12th when a leading car had to pit due to a problem on the same lap. This problem necessitated track maintenance and the Safety Car was brought on.

As the race resumed on Lap 5 Iwasa closed in on the car in front on Lap 6 and got ahead of it on the Kemmel straight to take 11th position on Lap 6. He then passed another car on Lap 7 to climb to 10th. Iwasa, with his superior pace, overtook another car at the end of the straight into the chicane on Lap 9 to take 9th place.

In the second half of the race, Iwasa closed the gap to the car in front aiming for even higher positions. Then, on Lap 15, he succeeded in overtaking on the Kemmel straight and moved up to 8th, a point-scoring position. Iwasa came close behind the car in 7th, and on the final chicane on the closing lap, he made a daring move through the inside to get ahead once. However, the two went side-by-side as the Japanese driver slightly overshot. The other driver held on to the outside, and in the end, just outperformed Iwasa, who then finished 8th. After the race, a technical infringement was found on a car at a higher position and Iwasa was promoted to 7th to earn 2 points.

Ayumu Iwasa
Ayumu Iwasa 11
I think it was good that I was able to improve my position from starting 16th to where I could score points.  I got off to a pretty good start, but the cars in the front rows were slow, so I had to swerve a lot and back off the throttle. So, I couldn't make up as many places as I wanted to. After that, the pace of the car was quite good, especially in Sector 1 after coming out of the final chicane, and I was fast enough to make the overtake on the straight before Turn 5.  The car was good, and in addition, I was able to attack quite aggressively in the race.  I didn't succeed in my attempt at the chicane on the final lap because I made a braking mistake. I felt that I’d have been able to pass the other car smoothly if I hadn't made a mistake. Accuracy of closing a maneuver is an area that I need to improve.
The pace of my car in dry conditions was better than expected. So, if we can maintain this performance of the car and I can race aggressively too, I think we can give a performance like today in the Feature Race. 

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