Date posted on October 31, 2010 · Published by Mark Goddard
Richard Bradley clinched the 2010 F.BMW Pacific Overall Drivers Championship plus the Rookie Championship in fine style taking full points in the first race at Okayama Circuit in Japan.
After an extremely close qualifying session held in cold, dry conditions Bradley started from fourth place with team mates, Kotaro Sakurai, Nabil Jeffri and Duvashen Padayachee in 8th, 10th and 14th places respectively. The top six drivers were covered by a mere three tenths of a second.
Local driver, Yuichi Nakayama, led from pole whilst Bradley made a good start to slot into third behind his only title rival, Oscar Tunjo. At turn seven at the end of the long back straight Bradley took second place in a well executed move and immediately pulled away to chase down Nakayama. The latter was a guest driver and in the knowledge that a top five finish was all that was needed to clinch the championship Bradley drove a controlled race and kept well within his limits. However the plan almost can unstuck when Calvin Wong, on a charge, caught the leading duo with a lap to go and simply rammed into the back of Bradley under braking for turn 10, incurring a reprimand from the stewards. The impact lifted the rear of Bradley’s car off the ground but he was able to continue to take the chequered flag second on the road, first points scoring driver, with a bent exhaust and his rear flooring in fire!.
Kotaro Sakurai made a good start and slotted into sixth place on the first lap before rising to fifth by the seventh lap before dropping a place when Afiq drafted by on the pit straight. Sakurai held sixth place to the finish. Nabil Jeffri had a spirited race disputing eighth place, eventually finishing tenth on the road. Duvashen Padayachee had dropped to fifteenth place on the first lap but fought his way back to 13th place on the road after the flag.
After the race the cars of race winner, Nakayama and that of Sakurai were excluded due to the same gearbox infringement, which the stewards accepted in both cases that the breach of the rules was “inadvertent”. This gave Bradley the overall race win and moved Jeffri and Padayachee up to 8th and 10th places.
The final race of the weekend takes place tomorrow, Sunday October 31st, and Bradley hopes to win on the road now he is unfettered by championship worries. Sakurai should finish on a high note before his home crowd whilst Jeffri and Padayachee are both determined to finish well.