Absolute Racing celebrated a victorious weekend at Ningbo International Speedpark during rounds 4, 5 & 6 of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA, with Jaden Conwright taking its maiden win of the season on the 4.060km Chinese track.
Heading into Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session off the back of a strong Free Practice performance, Conwright’s pace earned the #80 a first place spot for the start of Saturday’s opening race and for Sunday’s race ahead of team-mate Akash Nandy.
On Saturday’s morning race both Absolute Racing drivers had a poor start. Pole-sitter Conwright made a sluggish getaway and immediately lost three places but then enjoyed a good run to recover two positions during a thrilling first lap. The American showed a strong pace, setting the fastest lap of the race, but was just unable to put himself in a position to secure his first win in the series.
At the start, Nandy also lost three places. The Malaysian driver bounced back and joined the third place battle, eventually finishing the race in a highly commendable fourth place.
With the fastest lap times from the first race of the weekend determining the grid for Race 5, Conwright again found himself starting from pole on Saturdays’ second 15-lap race. Nandy lined up from fifth on the grid.
This time, as the lights went green, Conwright held onto P1 with ease, but he was immediately put under pressure from an opponent. The 19-year-old from California would hold the position for nearly thirteen laps before slipping back to second at the unfurling of the chequered flag.
Nandy found himself battling for a podium position again throughout most of the race, taking the final podium position in the late stages of the race with a courageous overtaking manoeuvre.
With confidence levels high teammates Conwright and Nandy drove to the Sunday race grid determined to show the rest of the pack they are a force to be reckoned with.
Conwright made a clean start and pulled clear of the field. Not only did the American driver took full advantage of his pole position to lead brilliantly from start to finish, but Conwright also picked up the maximum points for his efforts, which have seen him move two positions in the championship standings.
Nandy, who was at the centre of numerous stirring duels at the Chinese track this weekend, just missed out on the podium finish, after finishing fourth the last race of the weekend to add 12 further championship points to the 55 already scored earlier this season.
Conwright is now second in the drivers’ standings with 85 points. He has narrowed the gap to only 13 points, while Nandy remains well placed in fourth. Sitting second second in the teams’ standings, the weekend’s results have helped Absolute Racing to close the gap to the team in front.
Absolute Racing-run Emc2 Racing entry impressed on championship debut. China’s Liu Zexuan collected one win and two second-place finishes in the Masters Class.
The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA heads to Shanghai – ‘the home of Chinese Motorsport’ – in three weeks’ time for the third meeting of the year on September 22/23.
#29 Akash Nandy: “It’s been a bit of an up and down weekend for me. After having a strong showing in Qualifying, I had high hopes for the races. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well and races felt tough. Although we did come home with some decent points for the team, I look forward to coming back to the next round in a much stronger shape.”
#80 Jaden Conwright: “Quite a positive weekend for me and the entire team. Front row lockouts in both qualifying sessions and three podiums for myself. Being able to get both pole positions for the first time in my career was already an amazing feeling, but being able to cap off the weekend with my first win at this level is unbelievable. Thank you to everyone from Absolute Racing for all their hard work over the last three weeks. Let’s keep this momentum going to the next round in Shanghai!”
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “We’ve shown our pace this weekend with three pole-positions, two front row lockouts, two second place finishes, one class win and a overall race win. All in all, it’s been a good weekend. The kind of form we showed this weekend is really good and we’re hoping to close the gap to the championship leader. There are still three events and nine races to go so we’ll remain focused on the job in hand.”
Rounds 4, 5, 6 (Ningbo)
– ENDS –