To end their first year racing in Europe, Honda juniors Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura visited Paul Ricard
It was a thrilling end to the French Formula 4 championship last weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard, and two of Honda’s young drivers starred in the races.
Honda Racing School (HRS) scholars Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura, representing Honda's young driver development programme Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) and the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, went into the event with strong expectations after gaining confidence in simulator and test running of the circuit.
Unfortunately Friday’s free practice session did not mark a strong start to the weekend for either driver, but qualifying later that day was a big improvement and Arao qualified an impressive second for races one and three. Nomura was 10th fastest, putting him on pole position for the reversed-grid race two.
There was a strong start to Saturday too as Arao converted his front row start into race one victory. He took the lead on the opening lap and then resisted a title rival all race long to earn his second win of the season. Nomura also moved up a spot from his starting position, finishing ninth.
Race two was a thriller, with lots of wheel-to-wheel battles for the two Honda juniors to get involved in. Even until the final corner it was unclear what the race order might finish as, and Nomura and Arao met the chequered flag in seventh and ninth place respectively.
With the championship crown now out of mathematical reach, Arao looked to claim another win in race three. He challenged for the lead in the race’s first half but his pace ultimately delivered second place, his ninth podium of the season, and put him third in the points standings. Nomura finished the race in 12th, which meant he came seventh overall in his first European racing campaign.