Ukyo Sasahara and Jack Doohan complete second 1-2 finish in F3 Asian Championship
Australian Jack Doohan started the second race of the F3 Asian Championship with his nose pointed at polesitter Ukyo Sasahara, but was unable to catch him off the start as both stormed away from the chasing pack into the first corner.
Behind them, Eshan Pieris and Tomoki Takahashi pushed through the pack. Pieris moved from his P5 start up into third, while Takahashi moved from the P7 grid spot up into fourth by the first corner.
The leading pair pulled away as the battle for fourth began to dominate the race.
Kiwi Brendon Leitch battled hard with Takahashi through T15, along the main straight, and into the first complex of corners, finally making the move into turn two,. Takahashi, slowing as he was passed, was tagged by Jamie Chadwick, who lost her front wing, later having to pit for repairs.
Takahashi, struggling to hold on to his pace from the start, gathered the chasing pack of Daniel Cao, Akash Gowda, Yu Kanamaru, and Jordan Dempsey.
Cao went wheel-to-wheel with Takahashi down the main straight but was unable to get past on the first attempt. The Chinese driver, racing for Absolute Racing, was able to pass and claim fifth position into the first corner on the next lap.
Jack Doohan was unable to stick with Sasahara, and was caught by Pieris and Leitch around the halfway point of the race. Pieris dived down the inside into the first corner but was compromised as he went deep, falling back into the clutches of Brendon Leitch.
Sasahara’s five-second lead disappeared when a safety car was called on lap 9 to recover Luedi’s car from the track. On the restart, Sasahara pulled away, while Pieris challenged Doohan on the outside, however the positions of the top three remained unchanged.
Pieris’s attempt on Doohan later in the lap backfired, as Pieris slowed to recover and was caught in a three-wide battle with Brendon Leitch and Daniel Cao, and both were able to pass the Sri Lankan.
Ukyo Sasahara once again drew ahead, finishing in first with a 2.656s lead:
It was a good start again and at the first corner Jack was alongside me, but it was fine. After a couple of corners, I could manage the gap so I just tried to take care of the tires – not degrade them too much. The car was perfect, so I must thank all the Hitech GP team members.
Despite his struggles, Red Bull Junior Team driver Jack Doohan was able to hold Brendon Leitch off in the closing stages of the race, coming home in second to match his result from the first race:
I just don’t think we really had the pace for the race. The other guys coming from behind were definitely a lot quicker, and Ukyo as well. I was struggling to keep [Leitch] behind me and make the least amount of mistakes I could. I knew he was going to be there the whole time, so I just wanted to try and maintain my position to the end and luckily it held up.
Kiwi Brendon Leitch praised the work BlackArts Racing had done in preparing his car:
It was pretty dicey. The Absolute cars are quite quick so it was just a matter of keeping them behind me. Then I knew I had some good tires and the BlackArts car is handling really well, so we’re making some big progress there. The last couple of laps we had some good speed and I put a bit of pressure on Jack, but I didn’t quite have enough to get past.
Australian Thomas Smith finished in P13 for Pinnacle Motorsport.
After the opening day’s races, Ukyo Sasahara leads the F3 Asian Championship on 50 points, with Jack Doohan in second on 36 points.