Australian Aidan Read (17) of Eurasia Motorsport took the opening victory in the Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) Zhuhai weekend today, winning Race 4 ahead of pole-sitter Philip Hamprecht (19).
Hamprecht topped both earlier qualifying sessions to lock in pole position for Races 4 and 6, with Eurasia Motorsport’s Read and Jeffrey Ye (19) fighting hard to each earn a front row start next to the German.
As the lights went out for the start of Race 4, Read dived past pole-sitter Hamprecht and defended the lead for 11-laps to claim his first win of the season. Although championship leader Hamprecht elected to play safe and collect points for second, maintaining his place at the top of the leaderboard, he nevertheless piled on the pressure to Read all the way to the flag.
“It was quite a good race for me,” said Read. “I started off the second, but it was quite close in Qualifying 1. I passed Philip [Hamprecht] and got the lead on the first lap. From there, it was just about handling the pressure. They were all quite close behind and I had to make sure not to make mistakes. Later the Safety Car was sort of mixing things up again towards the end. The field was bunched up again. There were a couple of laps of sprint to the finish. I’m happy to take my first win of this season, and I hope that it’s the start of something good.”
Starting from 6th on the grid, Kim Jeong Tae of Cebu Pacific Air by PRT put in a superb performance, making up three places to take the final podium place.
Behind the podium finishers, Leong Hon Chio of CHAMP Motorsport moved up a place from his grid position but was unable to close the gap to Kim, finishing fourth. Ye dropped to fifth after missing a gear at T1 on the opening lap, but was top Chinese Driver in the race.
A mechanical glitch brought Sean Zheng’s car to a halt in the middle of track, bringing out the Safety Car on Lap 9, and closing up the field. However, none of the drivers were able to capitalize on the restart two laps later.
Hamprecht set the fastest lap of the race, and will therefore start Race 5 from pole alongside Read. Leong’s consistency paid off to put him on the second row of grid, while Zheng, despite mechanical woes, still managed to post a quick lap time to secure fourth on the grid.
With Nicholas Rowe missing the Zhuhai weekend, the points earned by Hamprecht, Read and Kim in Race 4 put him down the 4th in the overall driver championship standings, three points separating each driver. Sean Zheng retains his fifth place standing, but forfeits his lead in the Best Chinese Driver Trophy to Ye.