TCR Talk – The Brits Abroad: Howson confident ahead of Sugo

During 2019, TCR Talk will be following the progress of the various British drivers racing in TCR Series abroad. We start this series off with Matt Howson, who is competing in the new for 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series for KCMG Honda…

The 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series continues this weekend at the Sugo circuit, for rounds three and four of the newest Touring Car competition in the land of the rising sun.

Last time out in Autopolis…

The 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series in action at Autopolis. Credit: TCR Japan

Matt Howson took a lights-to-flag victory in the first round of the brand new TCR Japan Touring Car Series at Autopolis.

With the race declared wet, the first two laps were run behind the safety car as Howson’s KCMG Honda Civic leading the 14-car field across the start line when the safety car came in. Spray was then an issue for a number of laps, together with patches of standing water off the racing line.

In a what turned out to be a quiet first race, Howson managed to keep the KCMG Honda Civic on the iskand and stay out of trouble to take his first win in a TCR car, with Takuro Shinohara’s Audi and the Honda of Yu Kanamaru completing the podium places.

With the first race running in wet conditions, Howson made sure not to put a foot wrong on board the #18 Honda, and wrapped up a stunning first day with a lights to flag victory, picking up the fastest lap in the process and confirming the Civic Type R’s strong pace in any condition.

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / TCR Japan

Howson has to settle for second place in the second of the 2019 TCR Japan Touring Car Series as Yu Kanamaru with the Honda Civic of Team Goh, took victory in Race 2.

The starts saw poleman Takuro Shinohara, driving a Hitotsuyama Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS, struggling to keep the advantage from Kanamaru, who made a great start from row 2, Howson, Yukinori Taniguchi (KCMG Honda), Resshu Shioya (G/Motion Honda), Takeshi Matsumoto (Wakayama Volkswagen) and Shogo Mitsuyama (Green Brave Volkswagen). The leader was soon in troubles, as his Audi slowed down and stopped in the pits.

Kanamuru inherited the lead ahead of Howson and Matsumoto, who had moved up to third with a couple of great overtaking manoeuvres.

Race 1 winner Howson got his head down and made sure that once again he kept the KCMG run Honda in good shape, holding off the faster Wakayama Volkswagen Golf GTI of Takeshi Matsumoto after an entertaining race on a damp track. Howson leads the overall standings after this inaugural event of the series.

Howson’s thoughts ahead of Sugo…

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / TCR Japan

Howson is back in action this weekend where he will race in rounds three and four of the series at Sugo, having enjoyed podium running pace in his last outing in the Super Taikyu Endurance Series. The KCMG driver and TCR Japan points leader gives his thoughts ahead of Sugo.

“Sugo is one if my favourite circuits in Japan and following a strong run for the Honda Civic Type R TCR FK8 in Super Taikyu in April, and our success in Autopolis last time out, I expect to be very strong in TCR Japan,” explained Howson.

“The weather is often mixed and the circuit is unforgiving so whatever happens, winning here will be a huge challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Matt Howson. Credit: KCMG / TCR Japan

TCR Talk will be following Matt Howson as he competes in one of the newest TCR Series that is part of the Global TCR Family.

I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.

All images are used in this blog are courtesy of KCMG / TCR Japan unless otherwise credited.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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