After a strong start to their European racing careers at Nogaro three weeks ago, Souta Arao and Yuto Nomura graduated from Suzuka Racing School (SRS), now named Honda Racing School (HRS) in 2022, gained their first racing experience urban circuit racing. in the French city of Pau this weekend.
Both finished on the podium in their first weekend in the French Formula 4 championship organized by the FFSA Academy, and they continued their development in Pau with the support of the Red Bull Junior Team and the development program for young Honda drivers Honda Formula Dream Project (HFDP) of which they are both members.
Free practice and qualifying took place on Friday, and Nomura was on pace as he led practice on his very first sighting of the track. Later in the day, Arao took pole position for race one with a final qualifying lap, earning his first pole in the single-seater race, while Nomura qualified second for race three.
Saturday started with the first French F4 race, and Arao converted his pole into a solid second after being beaten at the start. Nomura was aiming for a podium finish and he made an impressive pass for third place as he came up the hill from the track midway through the race. However, an error on the way back sent his car into the barriers and not only ended his race but also ruled him out of the rest of the weekend due to damage to the front left of his Mygale. M21-F4.
Arao raced in a point-scoring position in the second reverse-grid race of the day until he had an incident that sent him into retirement, but he could at least end the day knowing that he had shown competitive running pace.
The final contest of the event was on Sunday, and the experience gained from his first two street-course race fights immediately helped Arao in race three as he got off to a strong start to take the lead against his title rival Hugh Barter.
During the opening laps, a lot of pressure was put on Arao from behind, and he positioned his car well as Barter closed in thanks to the wake effect on the circuit straights. He quickly found a rhythm and held off his opponent lap after lap until he encountered a new challenge from lap stragglers. This traffic was navigated smoothly and Arao took his first single-seater victory to close in on the championship lead ahead of round three at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours next weekend.