• BlackArts Racing Kiwi Brendon Leitch snatches final podium place from Shanghai newcomer Jack Doohan
• Five drivers remain in championship contention with five races remaining
Shanghai, China (September 7, 2019) – Ukyo Sasahara took his sixth F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA victory of the season at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit with a wheel-perfect run from pole in Race 10 of the 2019 season. The Hitech GP driver led home local hero Daniel Cao of Absolute Racing, the Chinese youngster having held off fierce early-race challenges from Sasahara’s team mate and Red Bull Junior Jack Doohan, while determinedly keeping the race leader within striking distance.
Third across the line was BlackArts Racing’s Brendon Leitch, taking his fourth podium of the season, ahead of Doohan, Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jordan Dempsey and Hitech GP’s Jackson Walls. The 852 Challengers’ Paul Wong took his fourth Masters class win of the season to strengthen his leaderboard advantage, unchallenged to the flag after rival Thomas Luedi of BlackArts Racing retired with a technical issue just three laps from the finish.
Five drivers remain in title contention with five races of the 2019 season remaining, all to be held at the FIA Grade I Shanghai Grand Prix venue. Sasahara has a 21-point advantage over team mate Doohan, with Cao lying third ahead of Leitch and Eshan Pieris of Absolute Racing. After qualifying fifth, the talented Sri Lankan finished seventh in Race 10, having launched a powerful comeback following a spin early on in the 15-lap race.
As the lights went out for the tenth time this season, Sasahara made a perfect getaway, maximizing his pole advantage and firmly closing the door on Cao. With Doohan, Leitch and Pieris in hot pursuit of the Shanghai-native Cao, Sasahara was able to pull ahead of the pack.
Behind Sasahara, Cao held his nerve, but Leitch was a man on the move, eyeing Doohan in third and sniffing a podium. On the long back straight, the New Zealander got on the inside of Doohan, who is making his Shanghai circuit debut this weekend, getting by and shutting the door on any attempt by the Australian to regain the place. The move gave Cao breathing space, allowing him to close up to Sasahara, keeping his rival within range but without sufficient downforce to get close enough to make a move.
Pieris, meanwhile, was running in fifth before a spin put him back down the order. He fought back though, picking his way through the hard-charging field to eventually cross the line in seventh.
As Leitch pulled clear of Doohan to assure himself of a podium finish, behind the Red Bull driver, Walls was eyeing a move on Dempsey. However, the Irishman held firm to take fifth behind Doohan, shaking off what at times was a spirited attack. Walls finally backed off after an unforced error in the closing minutes.
It was a disappointing outing for Ayrton Simmons, the Pinnacle Motorsport Briton pulling into the pits and retiring just a few laps from the flag. Likewise, there was a premature end to the race for Masters driver Luedi, while Super License driver Yu Kanamaru was stranded on the grid with a clutch issue at the start. He eventually managed to join the field, but was forced to retire after 12 laps.
The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA continues tomorrow, with 11 getting underway at 10:20 local time (GMT+8). Having set the fastest lap in Race 10, Sasahara will once again start from pole.
Race 12 follows at 14:50. Sasahara will start from pole for the third time this weekend, but this time it will be team mate and title rival Doohan who lines up alongside, with Cao and Dempsey on the second row. Both races will be live streamed on the championship’s website and Facebook pages.
Fans can stay up-to-date with the latest championship news via the series’ Facebook page and on www.f3asia.com
Ukyo Sasahara/Hitech GP/1st – Race 10
“My thanks to the team. We were going flat out, but obviously the tires degraded a lot more than I expected. I knew that Cao was much quicker than me, but in the end I managed to get the win so I’m happy. This win is for [F2 driver] Anthoine [Hubert] and his family. Also, I wish a speedy recovery for [fellow F2 driver] Juan Manuel [Correa] as he’s now in the hospital.”
Daniel Cao/Absolute Racing/2nd – Race 10
“Before, our team practiced here and our time was very good. In the race, the Hitech GP cars were very fast and the times of our cars were almost the same. I very much enjoyed this race. In the final few laps, our tires were quite old and I got understeer right behind Sasahara. It was very hard to catch him.”
Brendon Leitch/BlackArts Racing/3rd – Race 10
“It was a good race. We knew we had decent pace, but we weren’t sure how much. With Jack, it was quite easy – he didn’t make it too hard, he’s good to race with. I obviously knew I had a lot more pace than him, so I just waited for the right time and made a nice gap, then waiting for my moment to pounce. After that, it was just trying to gain on the front guys. I did for a little bit but there wasn’t enough to pull them in and I dropped off a little bit after that. But it’s good to get some more points and on the podium for BlackArts.”
Fastest lap: Ukyo Sasahara/Hitech GP/2:04.856/156.096kph
F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Drivers’ Classification after Race 10
|1||1||Ukyo SASAHARA||JPN||Hitech GP||206|
|2||2||Jack DOOHAN||AUS||Hitech GP||185|
|3||5||Daniel CAO||CHN||Absolute Racing||113|
|4||86||Brendon LEITCH||NZL||BlackArts Racing||107|
|5||15||Eshan PIERIS||LKA||Absolute Racing||92|
|6||17||Jackson WALLS||AUS||Hitech GP||39|
|7||3||Jordan DEMPSEY||IRL||Pinnacle Motorsport||38|
|8||4||YU Kuai||CHN||Zen Motorsport||36|
|9||8||Yu KANAMARU||JPN||Super License||30|
|10||7||Tomoki TAKAHASHI||JPN||Super License||27|
|10||21||Petr PTACEK||CZE||Seven GP||27|
|12||12||Ayrton SIMMONS||GBR||Pinnacle Motorsport||26|
|13||77||Jamie CHADWICK||GBR||Seven GP||18|
|13||95||Miki KOYAMA||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||18|
|14||33||Akash GOWDA||IND||M-Sport Asia||17|
|15||30||Kiyoto FUJINAMI||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||14|
|16||95||Tom BECKHÄUSER||CZE||BlackArts Racing||12|
|17||16||Tommy SMITH||AUS||Pinnacle Motorsport||3|
|18||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||1|
|18||44||Paul WONG (M)||HKG||852 Challengers||1|
F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Masters Class Classification after Race 10
|1||44||Paul WONG (M)||CHN||852 Challengers||202|
|2||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||111|
|3||30||DRAGON (M)||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||62|
|4||28||Tairoku YAMAGUCHI (M)||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||43|
2019 F3 ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP CERTIFIED BY FIA PROVISIONAL CALENDAR
|April 6-7||Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia||Round 1 (Races 1-3)|
|May 11-12||Buriram International Circuit, Thailand||Round 2 (Races 4-6)|
|June 22-23||Suzuka Circuit, Japan||Round 3 (Races 7-9)|
|Sep 7-8||Shanghai International Circuit, China||Round 4 (Races 10-12)|
|Sep 27-28||Shanghai International Circuit, China||Round 5 (Races 13-15)|