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