Ukyo Sasahara unbeatable in F3 Asia as trans-tasman battle completes podium
Race 6 of the F3 Asian Championship at Chang International circuit was taken by Hitech GP’s Ukyo Sasahara in another lights-to-flag victory.
Australian Jack Doohan started second, and as the two teammates battled into the first corner, Eshan Pieris briefly joined the three-way battle. The two leaders quickly pulled away and Pieris ran wide halfway through the lap, giving kiwi Brendon Leitch third place.
Sasahara pulled away from Doohan, with Leitch hurtling towards the pair on much fresher tyres. Meanwhile, fellow Aussie Tommy Smith was up to P9 after starting at the rear of the field and suffering two technical DNFs in the first two races of the weekend.
Leitch applied constant pressure on Doohan, borrowing Doohan’s race-winning move from Race 2. The kiwi moved to the outside then pulled back to the inside, taking the position and torming forwards into Turn 5 and towards Sasahara.
Leitch’s pace was blisteringly quick, with the New Zealander within 1 second of Sasahara by lap 5, while all eyes were on the chasing pack of fifth through ninth, who were separated at once stage by just two seconds.
Doohan sat comfortably in his own race between the lead pair and the chasing pack, until Leitch’s tyre-wear proved too much and his march towards the lead began to stall. With just over ten minutes remaining, Doohan caught Leitch and easily passed him for second,
Back in the chasing pack, the battle between Tommy Smith and Tom Beckhauser for ninth allowed Simmons and Kanamaru to pull ahead in 7th and 8th, and the frantic race fell into rhythm for the first time.
Beckhauser finally caught Smith in lap 15, as Sasahara at the front pulled ahead slowly into a 9 second lead.
Sasahara finished with a dominant 10 second lead, with Doohan in second, ultimately almost 12 seconds ahead of Leitch in third. The sixth 1-2 finish for the Hitech team cemented their lead of the championship, with Sasahara leaving the round on 136 points and Doohan on 122.
Aussie Tommy Smith finished in P10, rewarded with a points-finish after his difficult weekend.
The F3 Asian Championship returns June 22-23 at Suzuka Circuit for Round 3.
F3 Asian Championship - Race 6 @ Buriram
Jack Doohan (AUS) +10.566s
Brendon Leitch (NZ) +22.494s
Eshan Pieris +32.477s
Yu Kuai +33.637s
Ayrton Simmons +41.434s
Yu Kanamaru +42.055s
Tom Beckhauser +42.608s
Daniel Cao +43.772s
Tommy Smith +46.962s
Miki Koyama +53.780s
Akash Gowda +1:00.300
Thomas Luedi +1:26.833
Paul Wong +1 lap