Tom’s man Miyata led most of the fifth round of the season on Sunday, becoming the top-ranked driver of seven who chose to stay on the track instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to pit under the safety car when the window opened on lap 10.
At first, this technique seemed destined to pay dividends as Miyata was able to use the clear air ahead to get away from Sacha Fenestraz, who was the best of the stops, by more than a second on a lap.
But Miyata could no longer keep up with the pace as his tires were tired, with his lead on Fenestraz throbbing for about 27 seconds-not enough to maintain the lead after he finally stopped on lap 46.
Far from rejoining just behind Fenestraz, a slow stop meant Miyata actually ran sixth after his trip to the pits, losing to fellow late-stopper Tadasuke Makino, who peat two laps earlier.
With the timing out of the race after 70 minutes, meaning only 49 laps were completed instead of the scheduled 53, there was little chance for Miyata to recover with fresh tires and he finished long. -anim.
Reflecting on his career, Miyata said he felt staying outside was the right step, running in fifth during the vehicle safety period that effectively split the field, arguing it was possible to be second behind Fenestraz will win.
“I didn’t expect everyone in front of us to peat, so it was a big opportunity,” Miyata said. “We were the fastest of the cars that stayed out and among those that were pitted, so that was good from a strategy standpoint.
“We lost time changing the right-rear, and it also took a while for the tire to flatten. It’s a good thing we weren’t punished for that, but without that I’ll definitely be ahead of Makino.
“I thought I would have five or six laps to go [after my pitstop]so surprisingly I only had two laps [due to it being a timed race].
“That’s a big part [of why it didn’t work out]. So is the time lost in changing the tire. I think without that I could be second. ”
Despite the disappointing result, Miyata said he was encouraged by the speed of his career, as he parted ways with closest pursuers Makino and Ryo Hirakawa after a period of vehicle safety.
“Until now the issue was the speed of the race,” he said. “I always qualify for second, third, fourth.
“But this time we improved a lot, I had the best speed, so in that sense there are a lot of positives available this weekend and I want to use it to win next time.”