French F4 2022
Round 3

Arao continues title challenge and Nomura wins again in French F4 Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours

fr Magny Cours

Honda’s Red Bull juniors were both rewarded with podium finishes in round three of the season

Arao continues title challenge and Nomura wins again in French F4 Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours

The first two events of the French Formula 4 season had a strong focus on learning for rookies Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura, both graduates of the Honda Racing School (HRS), with their first experience of European racing, junior single-seaters and street circuit action.

Just a few days on from racing at the Grand Prix de Pau, the two members of Honda's young driver development programme Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) were at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for round three to continue their target to turn their learnings into results in FFSA Academy’s centrally-run series.

On a track with lots of tight corners but also lots of straights, Arao was fifth fastest in free practice and qualifying, and third-fastest when it came to the second-best laptimes that set the grid for race three. Nomura meanwhile qualified ninth on his return to the cockpit after missing two races.

Arao rose to third in race one for his fourth podium of the year, while Nomura also scored by finishing 10th in a close contest. Following penalties for others, that put them sixth and second respectively on the reversed grid used for race two.

Nomura therefore only had to pass one car to put himself in a position to win, and he did just that with an overtake into the Nürburgring chicane before edging away for his second victory of 2022. Arao also gained positions during the race and closed in on the championship lead by finishing fifth.

Unfortunately race three did not go either driver’s way, as Arao had an issue on the grid and was hit from behind. His day ended there, and Nomura then suffered a similar fate during the subsequent safety car period through no fault of his own and damage inflicted to his car led to him spinning and then taking the safer option of retirement from the race. Although neither saw the chequered flag on Sunday, Arao remains firmly in the hunt for title glory, and Nomura is one of only two drivers with multiple wins to their name this season.

Yuto Nomura
Yuto Nomura 15
In the qualifying, the temperature was high, so I wanted to record the time early, but I returned to the pit once due to machine trouble. I was able to get out again immediately, but I couldn't make a time attack when I wanted due to the red flag. It was a disappointing qualifying.

In race one I had a good pace in the second half, but had dropped in the first half and couldn't recover. Race 2 I was able to fix that challenge and win from P2 on the grid, and race three, I was able to move up from ninth place to sixth place at the start, but when the safety car came out, I was hit from behind and retired.

This weekend, I was able to improve my understanding of the car and gain confidence. This result is disappointing, but I will do my best to get good results in the next race.

Souta Arao
Souta Arao 33
During the race week, I had problems in every session and was not able to give 100% performance.

I made a big mistake in the qualifying session but it was not so bad. I hope to improve my ability to respond to the situation and to get a good result in qualifying after the limited practice.

The races themselves were difficult with wobbly steering and brake problems. In race one, two cars collided and disappeared, so I was lucky to get from fifth to third place.”

Race two was a reverse grid and most of the drivers in front of me were using new tires, but I was able to keep up with them in the first half of the race, but in the middle and second half of the race it was very tough.
In race three it looks like I stalled, but the clutch failed and I could not start the race because I could not get into gear. I learned a lot from this weekend and I think I still need to learn how to explain to the team when I have a problem.

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