Absolute Racing’s Philip Hamprecht (19) proved unbeatable today in Races 5 and 6 of the Formula Masters China Series (FMCS), taking two convincing victories at the 4.3km Zhuhai’s International Circuit. Second in Race 5 was Eurasia Motorsport’s Aidan Read of Australia, with 18-year-old Chinese driver Sean Zheng Shangguan of Absolute Racing taking his second podium of the season.
Runner-up to Hamprecht in Race 6 was team mate Zheng, a well-deserved finish after a fierce battle with fellow countryman Jeffrey Ye. Ye was the third across the line, celebrating his first FMCS podium of the season. He was also the top performing Chinese Driver of the weekend with consistently strong outings in all three races.
After six of the 18 races on the 2016 FMCS calendar, Hamprecht’ s two wins in Zhuhai give him a 27 point lead at the top of the Drivers Classification ahead of Read, who has a five point advantage over Korean Kim Jeong Tae of Cebu Pacific Air by PRT. Zheng lies fourth after a superb Zhuhai performance, seven points adrift of Kim and ten ahead of Nicholas Rowe of Cebu Pacific Air by PRT. Rowe had to sit out the Zhuhai weekend on medical grounds due to a high fever.
Ye has a four point lead in the Chinese Drivers Classification ahead of Zheng, the top Chinese finishers in Race 6, with Hong Shi Jie of Super License by KCMG third in the standings.
Absolute Racing leads the Team Classification with an impressive advantage of 21 points over Cebu Pacific Air by PRT, with Eurasia Motorsport in third.
In the searing heat but under clear skies, the 6-lap Race 5 saw a wheel-perfect performance from Hamprecht who led from pole to flag, resisting unrelenting pressure from Read. Seventeen-year-old Read managed to close the gap to 0.203 second towards the end of the race, posting the fastest, but ultimately having to settle for second.
Behind the pair, a tight, four-car battle was underway. Leong Hon Chio of CHAMP Motorsport lost third position to Kim and Zheng at Turn 1, the pair getting away well from the third row of the grid. Kim climbed to third while Zheng bided his time, the Chinese driver successfully making his move on the main straight on Lap 6. Leong fended off Ye to cross the line fifth.
The fastest Chinese driver in Race 5 was Zheng ahead of Ye and Hong Shijie of Super License.
“We went for a little bit more risky strategy,” explained Hamprecht. “We chose to drive old tyres today. It was a short race and I was starting from the pole and tried to pull away. We knew we had the speed from yesterday. The race was quite good at the first two to three laps and I was getting quicker. I managed to pull a little gap on the second lap and held from there. On the last lap I made a little mistake, but I finished the race. I’m really happy for the result. It is good for the championship.”
After an eventful opening lap, Hamprecht led the pack and set about building a gap, once again creating an unassailable lead to take the flag more than four and half seconds ahead of Zheng.
Zheng, however, had first to get by first Read and then Ye to claim second place. First he hunted down Read, who made contact with Kim and retired from the race, then Ye, making his move up to second on the penultimate lap. It was an historic moment for the series with two Chinese drivers on the podium for the first time since FMCS began four years ago.
With the first two race weekends of 2016 complete, the fourth season of FMCS travels outside China next month for Races 7-9 – the mid-point of the 18-race season – at Thailand’s Buriram International Circuit, also known as the Chang International Circuit. With the championship making its debut in Thailand, the drivers will have the added challenge of a brand new track, promising plenty of on-track drama.
“I finished the two qualifying sessions in fourth and due to a mistake I made,” said Sean. “I didn’t finish the first race, but I was glad to be on the podium in the second race. The third race was pretty hard to fight. I managed to keep my position and passed one car at T1 and jumped to third. Read was behind me and gave me a lot of pressure. Unfortunately he had contact with another car and withdrew. I kept my head down and continued to chase Jeffrey [Ye]. The gap between us was pretty big on the first few laps, but I took the chance on the second last lap and overtook him. I am very happy with the result and grateful for the team who gave me a good car.”
Race 5 Results
|1||5||Philip HAMPRECHT/GER||Absolute Racing||10:09.951|
|2||24||Aidan READ/AUS||Eurasia Motorsport||+0.203|
|3||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||+7.116|
|4||1||KIM Jeong Tae/KOR||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+8.270|
|5||8||LEONG Hon Chio/MAC||CHAMP Motorsport||+9.421|
|6||3||Jeffrey YE/CHN||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+9.486|
|7||17||HONG Shijie/CHN||Super License||+13.256|
|8||88||James YU/CHN||Super License||+13.572|
|9||55||Takashi HATA/JPN||Super License||+33.901|
|10||12||LIU Wang/CHN||Ameteur Cup||+37.022|
|11||4||Thomas SWIFT/HKG||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+44.500|
|12||39||James WONG/HKG||Ameteur Cup||+46.618|
|13||22||HUANG Heng Yi/CHN||Ameteur Cup||+49.835|
|–||9||XIE Rui Lin/HKG||CHAMP Motorsport||DNS|
Fastest Lap: Aidan READ / Eurasia Motorsport/ 1:40.963 / top speed at 153.323k/h
Race 6 Results
|1||5||Philip HAMPRECHT/GER||Absolute Racing||20:24.945|
|2||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||+4.494|
|3||3||Jeffrey YE/CHN||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+5.310|
|4||8||LEONG Hon Chio/MAC||CHAMP Motorsport||+16.927|
|5||17||HONG Shijie/CHN||Super License||+19.921|
|6||55||Takashi HATA/JPN||Super License||+28.437|
|7||4||Thomas SWIFT/HKG||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+31.510|
|8||9||XIE Rui Lin/HKG||CHAMP Motorsport||+35.552|
|9||88||James YU/CHN||Super License||+38.933|
|10||1||KIM Jeong Tae/KOR||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+57.215|
|11||22||HUANG Heng Yi/CHN||Ameteur Cup||+1:05.266|
|12||12||LIU Wang/CHN||Ameteur Cup||+1:18.748|
|13||24||Aidan READ/AUS||Eurasia Motorsport||DNF|
|–||39||James WONG/HKG||Ameteur Cup||DNS|
Fastest Lap: Zheng Shangguan / Absolute Racing/ 1:41.469 / top speed at 152.559k/h
Formula Masters China Series Points Classification after Race 6:
2016 Drivers Classification (Top 5)
|1||5||Philip HAMPRECHT/GER||Absolute Racing||53|
|2||24||Aidan READ/AUS||Eurasia Motorsport||50|
|3||1||KIM Jeong Tae/KOR||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||47|
|4||2||Nicholas ROWE/AUS||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||38|
|5||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||25|
2016 Best Chinese Driver Trophy
|1||3||Jeffrey YE/CHN||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||57|
|2||17||HONG Shijie/CHN||Super License||47|
|3||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||46|
|4||88||James YU/CHN||Super License||25|
2016 Masters Trophy
|1||55||Takashi HATA/JPN||Super License||50|
|2||37||Carlo MANTORI/ITA||Ameteur Cup||42|
|3||48||Angelo NEGRO/ITA||Ameteur Cup||38|
2016 Team Classification
|1||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||90|
Formula Masters China Series 2016 Provisional Calendar
|21-22 May||1-3||Shanghai International Circuit, China|
|18-19 June||4-6||Zhuhai International Circuit, China|
|23-24 July||7-9||Chang International Circuit, Thailand|
|13-14 August||10-12||Kuala Lumpur Street Circuit, Malaysia|
|24-25 September||13-15||Korea International Circuit, South Korea|
|15-16 October||16-18||Penbay International Circuit, Chinese Taipei|