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JUNE 6, 2005

Treluyer rises above the storm

Benoit Treluyer emerged from a rain-sodden Formula Nippon race at the new Fuji Speedway with his first victory of the year. The rain was so bad at one point that the race had to be red-flagged at half distance. The race was then restarted in the rain and the result was declared on aggregate.

Richard Lyons (DoCoMo Dandelion) was on pole position for the event ahead of Katsuyuki Hiranaka (Cerumo) and Tatsuya Kataoka (Team Le Mans) but he made a bad start and things were further disrupted by a first corner incident involving Takashi Kogure (PIAA Nakajima Racing) and Sakon Yamamoto (Kondo). This left Hiranaka and Kataoka ahead of Ronnie Quintarelli (Konda), Benoit Treluyer (Mobilecast Impul), Takeshi Tsuchiya (Team Le Mans), Yuji Ide (Mobilecast Impul), Lyons, and Satoshi Motoyama (Arting Impul). This did not last long, however, as Hiranaka was then given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start and so Kataoka was left in the lead with Treluyer moving to second and Lyons and Motoyama getting up to fifth and sixth places. Rain then arrived and Lyons lost time when he hit a barrier in the pitlane. Kataoka still led from Tsuchiya, Lotterer, Motoyama, Quintarelli, Matsuda, and Treluyer. The rain was so bad that Kataoka spun off soon afterwards and Lotterer moved ahead of Tsuchiya to lead, the latter then spinning on the straight. The race was stopped.

The rain continued but was less intense and so the race was restarted behind the Safety Car. Lotterer led Motoyama, Quintarelli, Tsugio Matsuda (5Zigen), Treluyer, Naoki Hattori (DoCoMo Dandelion), Hiranaka, Toranosuke Takagi (Takagi Planning), Ide, Kogure, and Lyons. The rain was still bad and Motoyama spun while Matsuda grabbed second from Quintarelli while Lyons moved quickly through the field to run fifth. Lotterer led until an engine problem dropped him back leaving Matsuda to fight for the lead with Treluyer. Eventually them two men collided but Treluyer took the lead while Matsuda made a mistake as he tried to catch up and so Motoyama took second. Matsuda was third ahead of Lyons, Quintarelli, and Hiranaka.

The result means that Motoyama now leads the championship by a point from Lyons with Ide third.