Ukyo Sasahara sweeps Shanghai and solidifies F3 Asian Championship lead
Japanese driver Ukyo Sasahara has swept the Shanghai round of the F3 Asian Championship, winning all three races and extending his championship lead over Australian Jack Doohan.
Sasahara lined up in pole for the third time this weekend, but this time was joined on the front row by teammate and title-rival Jack Doohan.
Sasahara held off an early challenge from Doohan and took his advantage into Turn 1. Behind the leaders, Kiwi Brendon Leitch took to the outside to pass Daniel Cao, but the Chinese driver had nowhere to go and a collision between the two ended his race.
The safety car neutralised the race, with Sasahara leading Jack Doohan and Jordan Dempsey. Sasahara held firm on the restart, and Dempsey stuck with Doohan, promising a challenge to come later in the race.
Brendon Leitch, at the rear of the field after his opening-lap collision, was charging through the pack, passing Australian Tommy Smith for eighth soon after the restart, and later making his way past Jackson Walls and Yu Kanamaru.
Sasahara took his eighth victory of the season, followed by Doohan in a weekend-high second position, and Dempsey in third.
Sasahara said, “I think the last round is going to be very tough. Jack is getting better and better, so I’ll just try to keep my head down for the last rounds.”
Doohan was still struggling to find a balance with his car:
“I didn’t really have a better feeling unfortunately.”
“I wish I did, but Jordan had good pace behind me.”
“I was struggling to keep him behind me and Ukyo did an awesome job all weekend so credit to him. We’re still struggling to try and find the connection with me and the car, so we’ll keep working over the next two weeks and maybe come back here on it.”
Leitch received a ten-second time penalty, which demoted him to a P8 finish. Australian Jackson Walls finished seventh, while Tommy Smith was P10.
The F3 Asian Championship returns to Shanghai for its championship decider on September 27-28.
Ukyo Sasahara now leads on 256 points to Jack Doohan’s 218 points.