Absolute Racing and Jaden Conwright took their maiden victory in the new F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA today, winning Race 6 at the Ningbo International Speedpark as the groundbreaking series made its Chinese debut. Second was Dragon HitechGP driver Ben Hingeley, making his series debut this weekend, while team mate Raoul Hyman extended his margin atop the championship leaderboard with a third-place finish.
Fourth overall was Absolute Racing driver Akash Nandy, with Super License ace Tomoki Takahashi of Japan rounding out the top five. Taking his second Masters victory of the weekend was ZEN Motorsport driver Yin Hai Tao of China.
With his win today, Conwright is now second in the championship standings on 85 points, 13 adrift of Hyman. Third is Dragon HitechGP’s Jake Hughes on 75 points. Hughes missed this weekend’s races due to GP3 commitments at Monza. Nandy is fourth in the points, with Macau’s Charles Leong of Dragon HitechGP rounding out the top five. With nine races of the inaugural season remaining, the championship remains very much wide open.
In the Masters classification, Yin leads Takashi Hata of Super License by 14 points, with Emc2 Racing’s Liu Ze Xuan third after his series debut this weekend.
Quick all weekend long, Conwright lined up for today’s 25-minute race from pole for the third consecutive time. Alongside the American was Nandy of Malaysia. Hingeley and Chinese driver Yu Kuai of ZEN Motorsport formed the second row, while Leong and Hyman lined up behind.
As the lights went out Conwright confidently held the lead, with Hingeley quickly getting past Nandy to move up into second. Yu remained in fourth while Takahashi, who had started from seventh on the grid, moved up two places to fifth by the end of the opening lap. Hyman, starting from sixth, dropped back a place at the start to seventh just behind Leong.
As Conwright continued to lead the field, behind him the chasing pack jostled for position. Hyman made quick work of getting past Yu, but was soon forced to contend with Takahashi. Hyman piled on the pressure to the Japanese driver, finally making his way up to fourth on Lap 5. From there, Hyman set his sights on Nandy and on the third and final podium position.
Conwright began to pull a gap to Hingeley and, while the Briton stayed close to the leader for the duration of the 15-lap race, the Absolute Racing driver had a faultless run to the chequered flag take a lights-to-flag victory by 1.532 seconds.
Hyman, in fourth, next turned his attentions to closing the gap to Nandy, and by the end of Lap 12, the gap had shrunk to just three-tenths of a second. While the Briton had hoped to get past the tenacious Malaysian as quickly as possible, Nandy defended well against a determined challenge. The Briton finally found a way past in the closing stages of the race but, despite putting in a series of blindingly quick laps, there was not enough time for Hyman to mount a challenge on Hingeley.
Behind the top four, Takahashi drove a steady race to round out the top five, with Leong finishing one place behind in sixth.
Next up for the Asian F3 Championship Certified by FIA are three races from September 21-23 at China’s Shanghai International Circuit, home to the Chinese F1 Grand Prix. As the series reaches the mid-point of its inaugural season, the championship battle will continue to intensify as the field of fledging talent seeks to prove their mettle on the challenging F1 circuit.
Results Race 6
Fastest Lap: Raoul Hyman/Dragon HitechGP/1:43.357 on Lap 15
F3 Asian Championship 2018 Masters Classification after Race 6