Absolute Racing leaves Ningbo International Speedpark in an upbeat mood after a consistent weekend of results that saw the team achieve six top six finishes and a Masters class win in the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Rnd 10, 11 and 12.
Setting the grid positions for race one, Jaden Conwright set a lap time of 1:40.728 min to sit in second on the time sheet. Akash Nandy stopped the clock five hundredth of a second behind him; enough to put him on the sixth place of the grid for the start of race one on Saturday afternoon.
Following a quick visit to the pits, the second qualifying session got underway. Conwright qualified in fourth place on the grid for Round 12 on Sunday. Team-mate Akash Nandy struggled to get the maximum out of the car and qualified in sixth.
Race one saw two of the three Absolute Racing cars handed drive-through penalties for false starts. Conwright dropped from second to eight place, recovering two positions to finish sixth in the late stages of the race.
Nandy benefited from his teammate penalty to move up in the rankings. However, the Malaysian driver got hit from behind and struggled to keep the car on track with a damaged rear left which forced him to nurse his car to the finish in fourth.
Using a new engine after issues in qualifying, Ryan Liu Zexuan took victory in the Masters class for his Emc2 Racing team, crossing the finish line in eight place overall despite the earlier drive-through penalty.
Round 11 and 12 took place on Sunday. Sunday race two saw Conwright taking a hard-earned fourth. Starting from fourth on the grid, the American driver was never in position to relax, crossing the finish line just 0.3 seconds ahead of his chaser.
Lining up fifth on the grid, Nandy lost one position over the 15-lap race. The Malaysian driver was sixth at the flag.
Despite a pit stop to replace a damaged front wing and a subsequent five-second penalty for a pit lane speed limit infringement, Liu was second in the Masters class.
Apart from the wet track conditions, the third and last race of the weekend had few dramas for the Absolute Racing trio. Conwright and Nandy were fourth and sixth respectively, although the Malaysian driver had to battle for pretty much all of the race to secure his position.
Conwright maintained the third place in the driver standings as Nandy lies fifth. The weekend results left the team in second place in the Teams’ standings.
Further back in the field, Liu finished 11th overall, second in the Masters class once again. The Chinese racer moved up to second in the class standings.
The team now has a five-week break before heading to Sepang, for the 2018 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA season finale on November 24/25.
#29 Akash Nandy: “Going into this round I was feeling very positive and confident with our approach knowing that we would be competitive. Even though I came out of the weekend with some solid points gained for the championship, I was missing a little bit of pace throughout the weekend and I’m very eager to figure this out before we head back to my home ground for the last round of the season. We will be back stronger!”
#80 Jaden Conwright: “I was very motivated heading into the race weekend knowing we had already won at Ningbo in the first round. It was strong weekend where we were able to gather some more valuable points. I’m happy with the results we showed and that I was able to maintain 3rd position in the championship heading into the final round. I can’t wait to take everything we learned throughout the championship into Sepang and fight with everything we got!”
#6 Ryan Liu Zexuan: “It’s been a really hard weekend as I missed the second qualifying. Also, we adjusted the pedal. I reported to the team I had serious understeering but we couldn’t find why. We looked at the data and found I was unconsciously holding 10% of the throttle going into the corner. They fixed it and I was feeling much better in the races.”
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “Before the race, we had hoped for a better result, but after what happened in the qualifying and at the start in the first race with Jaden, we have to be happy with taking home a couple of fourth place finishes and collecting points in every race. The pace is there, just have to get the little details right and have just a bit more luck next time out. We can go into Malaysia with our heads held high and knowing that things will get better.”
Photos @ Champion Cheng