Round eight of the 15th season of the Heusinkveld Mazda MX-5 World Tour was at Suzuka, a track well known for its fast and flowing esses section at the start of the lap, but most notably, the fast, near flat out 130R towards the end of the lap. The AM championship leader Anwar Beroual-Smith would not be taking part in the eighth round, meaning he would have to take his first no-show compensation of the season.
The grid saw Robert Hartley beating Eerõ Nomm and Sonny Kanchin to the pole, Nomm and Kanchin were second and third respectively. Marcello Pagnan would start behind Kanchin, with the fast charging Jason Cooper starting behind him in P5.
As the lights went out, the front five didn’t change positions, with the eighteen drivers that entered round five managing to keep it clean on the first lap. Steven Van Opstal ran wide on the exit of the final chicane, allowing Adam Mcnally to take eighth place from him.
Seven laps in, Marcello Pagnan got some oversteer mid-way through turn four, he took a trip through the gravel trap, but was able to continue on, only loosing one place to Drees Nice. A lap later Tom Rathje was the first driver to come into the pits. Jordie Fike was next in the pits with nine laps to go, Rathje was only able to jump Fike by a second.
A lap later the front four came in to the pits, Drees Nice was the earliest to leave his pit stall, followed by Nomm, Hartley and Pagnan, with Sonny Kanchin surprising everyone by being the last one out of the pits, something that Kanchin is normally very good at. Cooper and Khorolsky came in next time by along with Van Opstaal. Khorolsky was able to jump his way up to third, with Cooper having to serve a suspected pit speeding penalty, coming out just in front of Van Opstaal.
As the laps ticked down, Nomm paced Nice, who needed to save fuel after his short stop, he was later passed by Hartley, leaving Marcello Pagnan and Sonny Kanchin behind him. With four to go, Hartley passed Nomm going into 130R with ease because of the draft.
Going into the final lap, Kanchin got passed his teammate Marcello Pagnan. Coming out of turn 11 Drees Nice ran out of fuel after a risky fuel strategy. Kanchin and Khorolsky went to wide through 130R, Kanchin came out on top giving him third place. Whilst Eerõ Nomm went around the outside of Robert Hartley going into the final chicane, Nomm also came out on top, meaning he would win for the first time this season.
The MWT will return to racing next time out at Sebring, for a night race on June the ninth, we will have to wait and see in Nomm can beat Kanchin again.