Only a week ago, Atsushi Hara announced that he will be leaving Team HB and that news was a shock to me. When I heard he was coming to the FEMCA race, I was wondering what chassis he would drive and he decided to drive a Mugen. Because he left HB, no one knew who would pit for him at FEMCA except me, because my Dad had arranged for Ai to assist Hara for the race week. I had school so I could not race or help in the early rounds, but I planned to travel to Beijing for the finals to help Hara in the finals.
Ai and I practiced that morning on Finals day on pit stops and we felt pretty comfortable with working together for Hara. As you know, Ai and I have been working together for almost 3 years now and we know how each other think so we knew we could do the job.
When the race started, it was clear Hara had a great start and our first stop was very slow but precise, Ai and I wanted to make sure we did not rush things. Our stops got faster and faster as the race went on but after Hara had a good lead, Ai slowed it down again just to make sure there were NO MISTAKES. At the end, Hara won and we were happy to be part of his victory. I am glad I was able to help out and I am happy for Hara to win this race!
As for speculations about Hara going to Mugen because he was using one and working with Ai and I, that’s just talk. We helped out because he needed help, nothing else.
Hara is a great guy, a great driver, and wherever he ends up, he’ll be great!