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Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) rises from the turmoil of the Japanese block to take victory!
FIA Gran Turismo Championship 2008 Nations Cup Asia/Oceania Regional Finals
2018. 10. 10.

The third and final block saw Japan’s top ten take to the track. The top two competitors from this block will advance to the World Final, while positions 2-8 would go through to the Repechage block for a second chance.

The Japanese drivers competed on their home circuit at the Fuji International Speedway, racing in Gr.3 machines.

Pole position was taken by Japan’s undisputed champion Ryota Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) in the Vantage GT3.

2nd place starter Yuki Shirakawa (yukiku) [AMG GT3] took the first corner wide, an error which was not overlooked by veteran drivers Shogo Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) [GTI VGT Gr.3], who started in 3rd, and Tomoaki Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) [Ford GT LM] who started in 4th.

The front three drivers, Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi), Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12), and Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) had all chosen Soft tyres to start with and slowly pulled away from the rest of the drivers.

On the second lap at the approach of the Dunlop curve Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) overtook Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) from the outside to take 2nd place.

On lap 3, the battle for 4th began to heat up. At this point, Tatsuya Sugawara (blackbeauty-79) [F Type Gr.3], Yusuke Nakao (CLS63AMG-sc) [Corvette C7 Gr.3] and Shirakawa (yukiku) were all racing bumper-to-bumper.

On lap 5, the front 3 cars switched from Soft tyres to Medium.

2nd and 3rd, Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) and Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) got caught in the pack as they left the pits, while Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) raced ahead widening his lead.

On lap 9, Yoshida’s (gilles_honda_v12) efforts to take 2nd were rewarded when he took Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) on the inside on corner one. However, on the Coca-Cola corner, he was pushed to the outside and switched to protecting his 3rd place position. At a glance, Yamanaka’s (yamado_racing38) driving might have looked rough, but this was a battle between two veteran drivers who each know the other’s strengths and weaknesses very well.

Kokubun (Akagi_1942mi) and Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) both headed for their final pit stop on lap 10, changing to Hard tyres. Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) made his pit stop one lap after but managed to maintain 3rd place.

In a turn of events reprising the Online Series, Kokubun (Akagai_1942mi) kept one step ahead in the whole race and auspiciously crossed the finish line in 1st place.

Coming in 2nd place, veteran Yamanaka (yamado_racing38) beat his rival Yoshida (gilles_honda_v12) for a place in the World Final.

Comments from the winner: Ryota Kokubun(Akagi_1942mi)

I only really thought about keeping my own pace.

Luckily, I started on pole position, and a gap opened up after I exited the first corner. That gave me enough breathing room to keep a steady pace until the end and maintain my lead.

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