The Mazda World Tour went to Japan for the first time this season, the teams and drivers headed over to Shimotsuma to the Tsukuba Circuit, a short 1.27-mile-long circuit.
Championship leader, Jaume Dalmases Torres set the pace early on in qualifying with a 1:01.069, putting him clear of rival Sonny Kanchin by one and a half tenths. Kanchin wasn’t able to beat him, putting him in second place for the fourth round starting grid, Christophe Sanchez would start behind him in third.
Peter Van Gool got the AM class pole, half a second quicker than any other driver in his class, in fifth place overall.
The pole sitter got a great start and kept his lead going into turn one. Kanchin made contact with Christophe Sanchez at turn one. Sanchez pulled the car over just one corner later, ending his race. Nick Thissen was the only position change in the top three after the first lap.
A five-car train formed a few laps into the race, already five seconds behind Sonny Kanchin who was still chasing down Jaume Dalmases Torres for the lead.
On the exit of the penultimate corner, Jordie Fike seemed to miss a gear right in front of Robert Wielinga who had nowhere to go and hit his rear bumper, sending him into the barrier. Fike continued but running around in the last place with damage.
Kip Stephens was the first driver to come into the pits, on lap fifteen, a very early stop from the PRO driver.
Kanchin’s move to come into the pits on lap twenty-four was heavily influenced by lapped traffic on the back straight, a characteristic of the short track. Torres came in on lap thirty, the last driver to make their stop. Dalmases Torres came out behind the Australian driver who inherited the lead, by two and a half seconds.
As a result of the pitstops, Steven Van Opstaal and Nick Thissen were now the only drivers in the battle for the final podium position, both drivers were doing their best to get past each other, but the more they battled, the more time they would sacrifice.
Jaume Dalmases Torres had caught Kanchin with four laps to go and immediately started to apply pressure. Torres went down the inside at turn one with three to go, they remained side by side until the next hairpin where he was on the outside and forced to yield the position. Torres came back again at the penultimate corner down the inside to successfully retake the lead.
Kanchin wasn’t able to come back to challenge for the win once more, giving Torres another win in his rookie season. Nick Thissen held Van Opstaal off for third place overall to round out the podium.