Absolute Racing signed-off the 2019 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA in fine style during an action-packed season finale at the weekend, claiming two wins at the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit. Local hero Daniel Cao Zhuo gave the Shanghai race fans plenty to cheer about when he stormed to his maiden F3 victory in Round 13 on his home track on Friday to repeat the feat on Saturday morning’s Round 14.
- Sensational home victories for Daniel Cao
- Eshan Pieris scores points in every single race
- In the Teams’ standings Absolute Racing secures second
Qualifying session on Friday had ‘mixed feelings’ for the team. Cao qualified impressively third in Q1, but right after a suspension issue put him out of the second qualifying. Struggling a bit to find the ultimate pace, teammate Pieris qualified P7 and P8 for race one and three respectively.
Friday ended with race one as the drivers lined up onto the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit, there was palpable anticipation in the air. Cao made a lightning start off the line, moving quickly to secure the first place on the opening lap. The Chinese driver took advantage of starting with new rubber to create a gap to the cars behind, crossing the finish line more than a second ahead of the second-place finisher.
Having struggled to hook-up the car in practice and qualifying, Sri Lankan driver Pieris finished in seventh.
Saturday began with Round 14 with Cao lining up from first and Pieris from seventh. The 17-year-old Absolute Racing driver, who took two second-place finishes here two weeks ago, had another quick getaway, placing the #5 Tatuus F3 T-318 in the first position. The Chinese driver managed his race well and built a gap out in front. He continued to extend his gap with a controlled drive until crossing the finish line with more than two seconds of advantage to the pursuit group.
Pieris had a strong start to the race as the lights went out, but about halfway through the race, the Sri Lankan driver spun while battling for seventh. He eventually saw the chequered flag in tenth.
The weekend ended with race three with the opening laps placing Pieris in fifth and Cao in eighth. Showing some improvement Pieris crossed the finish line in fifth as Cao saw the chequered flag in seventh after starting from the very last position on the grid.
With two wins and seven podium finishes, Cao finished third in the drivers’ standings. Pieris, who managed to score points in every race this season, finished fifth. Absolute Racing claimed second in Teams’ standings.
With a new format for the upcoming season, the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA is already preparing to burst back to life in just a few short weeks, with the opening triple-header at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit on December 14 and 15.
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “Two wins on our home turf; there’s no doubt that this is absolutely the best way to finish the season. This weekend’s result shows just how much progress we have made this season and give us confidence ahead of 2020. We knew from the start of the season that would be difficult to match the front-runners pace as both of our drivers had much less experience. But our drivers have been magnificent, both on track and off it, racing their hearts out. Our staff have also toiled tirelessly, exhibiting fantastic team spirit. Our focus is now completely on 2020; watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.”
#5 Daniel Cao Zhuo: “A great way to end the season. Before the race one start, I knew my tires were the newest out of the three cars, so my car had more grip at the start. Before turn one, I had passed the two Hitech GP cars and then led the race. During the race it was a bit dangerous for me because Jack Doohan was so fast in the last few laps. In the second race it was not so easy to drive from the front because Brendon’s car was right behind him. I think I’m very luck because the two Hitech cars were fighting. On the big straights, sometimes I watched my mirrors, but in the corners, I focused on the car. I’m very happy and thanks to everyone at Absolute Racing!”
#15 Eshan Pieris: “The weekend was once again quite a tough one. I kept a positive mindset through the weekend and in the end I managed P5 in the last race with a good start. It’s been a tough season for me, but I’m glad to have approach every round with Absolute Racing backing me. It feels amazing to be part of a team that always treated me like family. It was a tough but wonderful season with lots of experiences and lessons learnt.”
RACE WEEKEND RESULTS:
– END –