Australian Aidan Read made a powerful return to the Formula Masters China Series (FMCS) by taking an emphatic win in Race 13 at the Sepang International Circuit today. The 17-year-old Eurasia Motorsport driver had been forced to miss the last round due to illness, but marked his return with a superb performance to cross the line more than 7.6 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Kim Jeong Tae of Cebu Pacific Air by PRT. Championship leader Philip Hamprecht was third for Absolute Racing, having pushed Kim hard right to the bitter end.
Hamprecht’s third place strengthens his lead in the overall championship standings, but Zheng Shangguan of China, fourth in Race 13, maintains second on the leaderboard, 40 points adrift of the German.
On a drying track after a morning downpour, pole-sitter Read was amongst several drivers who struggled with wheelspin off the line. He lost the advantage, dropping down to fourth. By contrast, Kim rocketed off the grid from the third row, dramatically grabbing the lead ahead of Hamprecht and Absolute Racing team mate Zheng.
Read immediately launched into his impressive comeback, diving past Zheng on the opening lap and taking the fight to Hamprecht. Kim, meanwhile, continued to pull away at the front but Hamprecht, undeterred by the hard-charging Read, reeled him in, passing him on Lap 4 to take the lead.
Read tried to follow Hamprecht through, but Kim defended well, initially holding off the Australian before succumbing to the pressure on the same lap.
“I started on pole and had a pretty poor start,” said Read. “I just started going straight backwards. I got too much wheelspin in the wet and dropped back to fourth behind Zheng, while Kim went from fifth to first with a good start. After the start it took time in traffic to clear some guys, and then from there we had the speed and it was a good race. We set the fastest lap as well, so for tomorrow we’ll be in a good spot. It’s good to be back as this is my first round after some illness. I couldn’t be happier.”
Now it was Hamprecht’s turn to try and pull clear of the chasing pack, but both Read and Kim ate into his margin, the Australian snatching the lead on Lap 5 and the Korean taking second two laps later.
From there, Read charged unchallenged to take the chequered flag by an impressive margin, setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to secure pole position for Sunday’s Race 14. Zheng will start alongside Read, with Hamprecht and China’s James Yu of Super License making up the second row.
Results – Race 13
|1||24||Aidan READ/AUS||Eurasia Motorsport||24:26.860|
|2||1||KIM Jeong Tae/KOR||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+7.660|
|3||5||Philip HAMPRECHT/GER||Absolute Racing||+7.917|
|4||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||+11.667|
|5||88||James YU/CHN||Super License||+21.947|
|6||17||Stephen HONG/CHN||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||+26.014|
|7||55||Takashi HATA/JPN (M)||Super License||+32.476|
|8||8||LEONG Hon Chio/MAC||DP Motorsport||+1:44.765|
|9||48||Angelo NEGRO/HKG (M)||Amateur Cup||DNS|
(M) Master Class
Fastest Lap: Aidan Read/Eurasia Motorsport/2:23.593/Lap 10/ 136.038 kph
Formula Masters China Series Points Classification after Race 13:
2016 Drivers Classification (Top 5)
|1||5||Philip HAMPRECHT/GER||Absolute Racing||184|
|2||6||ZHENG Shangguan/CHN||Absolute Racing||144|
|3||24||Aidan READ/AUS||Eurasia Motorsport||133|
|4||1||KIM Jeong Tae/KOR||Cebu Pacific Air by PRT||120|
|5||2||James YU/CHN||Super License||73|