- Absolute Racing Shanghai native seizes lead off start; locks in Race 14 pole position with fastest lap on way to flag
- Second for Jack Doohan sees title contender slice three points off Hitech GP team mate Ukyo Sasahara’s championship lead
- Masters champion Paul Wong takes fifth class win of the season for the 852 Challengers
Shanghai, China (September 27, 2019) – Local hero Daniel Cao gave the Shanghai race fans plenty to cheer about when he stormed to his maiden F3 Asian Championship in Race 13 today on his home track. The 17-year-old Absolute Racing driver, who took two second-place finishes here two weeks ago, seized the lead off the start with a bold move around the outside to pass both the Hitech GP title contenders, Ukyo Sasahara and Red Bull Junior Driver Jack Doohan.
Doohan kept his title aspirations very much alive with a strong run to second place, taking three points out of Sasahara’s lead and pushing Cao all the way to the flag. His Japanese rival nevertheless begins the penultimate race with a 35-point advantage thanks to his third-place finish, despite struggling in the latter stages with a yet-to-be-identified issue.
The 2019 F3 Asian Championship Masters class winner Paul Wong, meanwhile, took his fifth win of the season so far, although he was denied a battle with his category rival Thomas Luedi of BlackArts Racing following his early retirement after contact with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Tommy Smith. Smith was later handed a three-place grid penalty for the incident.
Although the 2019 Asian F3 Championship Certified by FIA title and the 18 super licence points which go with it will be won by Sasahara or Doohan on Sunday, with the runner-up taking 14 points, there is still a total of 38 of the valuable credits to be shared amongst the third to ninth-place finishers. That means much remains at stake for these young talents as they prepare for the final day of competition this season.
A scorching qualifying session saw Sasahara become the first driver to lap the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit in the Tatuus F3 T-318 in less than two minutes, a feat replicated shortly afterwards by Doohan, who lined up alongside the 23-year-old Japanese driver on the grid. Cao and BlackArts Racing’s Brendon Leitch made up the second row, with Hitech GP’s Jackson Walls and Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jordan Dempsey on row three.
Off the start, Sasahara pulled across to close the door on Doohan, but Cao, starting on fresh rubber after a suspension issue put him out of the second qualifying, stormed around the outside of both title contenders and into the lead. Doohan resisted a move from Leitch, then squeezed past Sasahara and up to second.
During the hectic opening lap, Tommy Smith ran wide and made contact with Thomas Luedi, the BlackArts Masters driver sustaining radiator damage which saw him retire on lap four.
Sasahara began to close in on Doohan, the battling pair enabling Cao to pull away at the front, the Chinese driver pushing hard and pulling out a healthy advantage. With ten minutes remaining on the clock, however, Sasahara could tell all was not well with his car, his pace slowing dramatically.
Behind him, Leitch was on the warpath but Dempsey and Walls were also chasing hard. Walls made a move on the inside of Dempsey, the pair side-by-side and neither giving an inch, until the Australian found a way past with a text book move.
Leitch had now closed right up to the struggling Sasahara, finding his way past on the inside. His podium contention was short-lived however, a puncture picked up during the overtake seeing him limp back to the pits.
As Cao headed towards his first victory, Doohan was still pushing hard in his pursuit of the local hero. However, Cao kept his nerve, crossing the line more than a second ahead of the Red Bull Junior driver. Sasahara was relieved to have made it to the finish and to collect the crucial 15 points for third, while Walls crossed the line in fourth ahead of Dempsey. Zen Motorsport’s Yu Kuai was sixth ahead of Absolute Racing’s Eshan Pieris.
Saturday’s two final races of the 2019 championship will be live streamed via the championship’s Facebook page and on www.f3asia.com Race 14 begins at 10:05, with Race 15 starting at 14:45 (GMT+8).
Daniel Cao/Absolute Racing/1st – Race 13
“Before the start, I knew my tires were the newest out of the three cars, so my car had more grip at the start. Before turn one, I had passed the two Hitech GP cars and then led the race. During the race it was a bit dangerous for me because Jack Doohan was so fast in the last few laps. But I’m very happy and thanks to everyone! Tomorrow, from pole, I will do my best to repeat this.”
Jack Doohan/Hitech GP/2nd – Race 13
“It was not a good start, but Ukyo didn’t get a good one either – a lot of wheel spin. Daniel got it right and went around the outside of us. Then I saw an opening of the entry to turn two. Ukyo was a little bit wide. I didn’t really have anything else to lose, so I just went for it. I thought maybe I could go to Cao but I didn’t know he had the better tire, and at that point Ukyo was on it. He was really quick in the first few laps. My pace wasn’t too good so Ukyo was coming and keeping the pressure really hard. Then, once the tires came on, already it was a bit too late to get the victory, but I think it was a good pace and a good pace going in to tomorrow. I’m going to give [the championship] the best I can. I’m going to keep on going to try and get the championship right to the last lap of race three!”
Ukyo Sasahara/Hitech GP/3rd – Race 13
“Firstly, congratulations to Daniel who deserved this victory today. It was a shame we couldn’t win as a team. Suddenly I lost the pace in the middle of the race. There was something really not right on the left and right corners. I just tried to finish the race and bring the car home in one piece. At one point, Brendon overtook me but unfortunately he got a puncture.”
Paul Wong/852 Challengers/1st Masters – Race 13
“I’m very happy to have won the Masters class championship, and very surprised! This is only my first season and I’ve only been taking it race by race and trying my best in each. I hope to improve more next season and fight for even better results.”
Results – Race 13
|1||5||Daniel CAO||CHN||Absolute Racing||30:44.965|
|2||2||Jack DOOHAN||AUS||Hitech GP||+1.113|
|3||1||Ukyo SASAHARA||JPN||Hitech GP||+16.320|
|4||17||Jackson WALLS||AUS||Hitech GP||+18.790|
|5||3||Jordan DEMPSEY||IRL||Pinnacle Motorsport||+21.517|
|6||4||YU Kuai||CHN||ZEN Motorsport||+29.604|
|7||15||Eshan PIERIS||LKA||Absolute Racing||+30.543|
|8||33||Akash GOWDA||IND||M-Sport Asia||+51.245|
|9||44||Paul WONG (M)||CHN||852 Challengers||+1:12.861|
|10||86||Brendon LEITCH||NZL||BlackArts Racing||+1 Lap|
|DNF||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||-|
|DNF||16||Tommy SMITH||AUS||Pinnacle Motorsport||-|
Fastest lap: Daniel Cao/Absolute Racing/2:01.393/Lap 2/161.65kph
F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Drivers’ Classification after Race 13
|1||1||Ukyo SASAHARA||JPN||Hitech GP||271|
|2||2||Jack DOOHAN||AUS||Hitech GP||236|
|3||5||Daniel CAO||CHN||Absolute Racing||156|
|4||86||Brendon LEITCH||NZL||BlackArts Racing||122|
|5||15||Eshan PIERIS||LKA||Absolute Racing||114|
|6||3||Jordan DEMPSEY||IRL||Pinnacle Motorsport||67|
|7||17||Jackson WALLS||AUS||Hitech GP||65|
|8||8||Yu KANAMARU||JPN||Super License||50|
|9||4||YU Kuai||CHN||Zen Motorsport||46|
|10||12||Ayrton SIMMONS||GBR||Pinnacle Motorsport||40|
|11||7||Tomoki TAKAHASHI||JPN||Super License||27|
|11||21||Petr PTACEK||CZE||Seven GP||27|
|13||33||Akash GOWDA||IND||M-Sport Asia||21|
|14||77||Jamie CHADWICK||GBR||Seven GP||18|
|14||95||Miki KOYAMA||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||18|
|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||5|
|18||44||Paul WONG (M)||HKG||852 Challengers||3|
|17||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||1|