Hong Kong based racing drivers Dan Wells and Alex Au took 3rd position in the Opening Race of Round 3 of the 2017 FRD LMP3 Series at the Shanghai International Circuit on August 26/27.
Replacing previous driver Julio Acosta in the EVISU #91 car, experienced GT-racer Alex Au came into the weekend having never driven a prototype car before, but did a great job to qualify 9th (2nd bronze graded driver) on his debut in the series. A good start saw him follow the KCMG #18 car of fellow bronze driver Pu Junjin for his opening stint, before Alex came in to hand the car over to Dan to finish the race.
Wells came out the pits in P5, but a strong stint and a decisive overtaking move on ex-F1 test driver Ma Qinghua resulted in a podium for the EVISU-backed #91 car, with Dan coming home in P3.
Dan commented, “I was impressed by Alex’s performance on the first stint and was very happy to exit the pits with my engineer telling me that I am fighting for the podium. I got my head down and had to make some moves to secure 3rd place but the team did a great job to ensure I had the car to do it, big thanks to them.”
The Qualifying for the Main Race of the weekend was compromised due to tyre problems which left Dan in a lowly 9th position after being confident from practice to put it on the front row. Alex explains:
“Being a newbie to this car, I made a school boy error in qualifying by flatspotting my tyres on the first lap, so i was stuck with the huge vibration for the whole session, which also messed up Dan’s qualifying. There is a little more responsibility on my shoulders than I first thought coming into this weekend, the team has some expectations too, but I enjoy pushing and trying to do well anyway so I just did my best out there!”
Dan made a place at the start by getting past the PTRS car of Simon Evans, before having some good battles with IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani before his spin and drop down the field. Wells then made an overtake on Le Mans Winner Olivier Lombard to then come into the pits and hand over his car to teammate Alex in 4th position. Alex suffered from his lack of prototype experience with a spin at the final corner which dropped him from a likely 6th place finish to 8th at the flag.
Speaking about his weekend, Dan Wells: “It was a very exciting and close race out there today. Coming from the back is never ideal, but I enjoyed the super hard but fair racing out there. It reminded me a bit of Formula Ford back at the beginning of my career! I managed to maximise my overtaking out there but we weren’t strong enough as a team to bring home a top result in the second race.
“Nevertheless, I was very pleased to see the step forward in performance we’ve shown in this round and will continue with all our efforts to bring home a top result in the final round next month!”.
The 4th and Final Round of the 2017 FRD LMP3 Series will take place at the Zhuhai International Circuit on September 16/17.