1/43 Leyton House March 881 Judd Japanese GP 1988 – Ivan Capelli
The Japanese GP hold at the Suzuka circuit was the fifteenth and second last GP of the season. Here the championship of the season 1988 should be decided as Ayrton Senna had trimmed Alain Prost’s lead in the standings to 5 points.
After the qualifying the two McLaren (Senna, Prost) were in the first row followed by Gerhard Berger (Ferrari) and Ivan Capelli (March-Judd) who completed the second row.
The March team’s late season showing made their sponsor, the Japanese real estate company Leyton House, very happy. Capelli could qualify in front of the two Lotus-Honda of outgoing world champion Piquet and home town favorite Satoru Nakajima at the home track of Honda.
It was an exciting race as Senna had to win to obtain the world champion title.
Unfortunately his engine died at the start. The car was fourteenth at the second corner and no one could expect that he will get back to the pole. But within a few rounds only he began to fight back. By the end of the first lap he was already eighth. By the end of the fifth lap he was only 9.7s behind Berger (3rd position) in his Ferrari. Once past the red car, Senna’s sternest rival would be the excellent Ivan Capelli, who overtook Berger with his March on the sixth lap. At the moment when Senna started to cut into the margin that separated him from Capelli, the Italian was giving Prost a hard time. For one glorious moment the sea-green March actually nosed in front of the McLaren in front of the pits, but his normally aspirated Judd just could not win against the turbo-charged Honda and Prost maintained the lead.
Finally Senna had taken his McLaren past Prost when he had some traffic and won the race and the world championship after leading the last 23 laps without any problem.