Eurasia Motorsport opened its 2015 Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) account in mixed weather conditions with podium finishes for Australia’s Aidan Read and China’s Hua Miao at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit (25-26 April).
The Asian outfit began testing at the Sepang International Circuit on Wednesday (22 April) with its six car driver line-up, where it fettled its setup and drivers familiarised themselves with the circuit ahead of qualifying on Saturday (25 April). Eurasia Motorsport’s drivers took to the 5.54km Sepang circuit for the two qualifying sessions, where Asuka Muratomi topped the timesheets in the second session to take pole for Race 3, while brother Takeru and teammates Read and Hudspeth all broke into the top ten.
With thunderclouds a precursor to a torrential Malaysian downpour, the start of Race 1 was delayed. With all earlier sessions this weekend held in dry conditions, the drivers did well to quickly acclimatise to the dramatically-altered track. The shortened nine lap race was started behind the Safety Car, as the Muratomi brothers headed into an unknown, both falling victim to the conditions and spinning off the track and out of the race early on.
The four remaining Eurasia drivers continued to circulate the Formula 1 circuit, becoming involved in several midfield battles, before all crossing the line inside the top ten, with young Australian driver, Read, the highest place driver in fourth, ahead of a spirited drive from Hudspeth in sixth and Jeong Tae and Miao in seventh and ninth respectively.
With the grid for Race 2 on Sunday (26 April) being determined by the fastest lap times set in Race 1, Read took up his spot on the second row in third for the six-lap race, which was held in the searing heat of Malaysia, but under clear blue skies. Read, who made his FMCS debut with Eurasia Motorsport in Shanghai last season, would go on to run a comfortable race and covert his grid position into his first FMCS career podium.
Hudspeth continued Eurasia’s success by bringing his car home in fourth place having started from the sixth row, after fending off a challenge from Meritus GP’s Daniel Woodroof, while Asuka, who spun off during Saturday’s wet race, scythed his way through the field to cross the line an impressive sixth, having started from the rear of the grid.
Having taken pole for Race 3 in Saturday’s second qualifying session, Asuka was unable to capitalise on his advantage in the weekend’s final race, after contact with Martin Rump at Turn 1 on the opening lap would see the Japanese driver retire on lap five. Rump would be handed a post-race penalty of a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Shanghai in June.
A confident drive from Read would see him take the fight to Meritus GP’s Woodroof, before bringing his single-seater home in third position to enjoy the champagne celebrations for a second time and move up to third in the Drivers’ standings. Also enjoying the champagne celebrations was Miao, who was the top performing Chinese driver of the weekend and now holds a two point lead in the race for the Chinese Drivers Classification ahead of Yuan Bo, and Jeffrey Ye.
Recording a second consecutive fourth place finish was Hudspeth, after fending off Arrows Racing’s Matthew Swanepoel, as just 0.259s separated the pair across the line for the tenth and final time. Jeong Tae and Miao continued to find their feet in the highly-competitive series to bring their cars home in ninth and 11th, having recorded championship points.
Eurasia Motorsport Team Principal, Mark Goddard, said: “It has been a relatively good start to the season, not the one we would have liked, but still good. Aidan Read has shown that he has a very mature head on top of his young shoulders and he’s certainly going to be on the podium many more times this season, while Sean Hudspethw’s two fourth place finishes shows that it is only a matter of time before he also joins Aidan on the podium. This weekend has demonstrated that there is a lot of potential for Aidan Read and Sean Hudspeth to win races, as with our Japanese drivers, who showed great pace, but were just unfortunate through no fault of their own. Kim Jeong Tae is one of the least experienced drivers on the grid and is improving every time he gets in the car, as is Hua Miao. The field is extremely competitive this year and it’s not going to be easy to win, but all our drivers are getting better with more time in the car, which bodes well for the future.”