Absolute Racing celebrated a return to the podium at the weekend, with Daniel Cao Zhuo claiming a double second place finish during the penultimate round of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA at Shanghai (September 7/8). Teammate Eshan Pieris maintained his fantastic run of scoring points in every race this year.
– Daniel Cao secures two second place finishes
– Eshan Pieris scores points in every race
– One event to go for the end of the season
After showing early pace during Friday’s free practice sessions, Cao stated his intent as a podium contender with a P2 grid spot in an incredibly close qualifying session one just 0.138 off pole position. Placing 5th in the #15 Absolute Racing entry, Pieris was just 1.302 off the top lap with less than a second separating the top four cars on the grid. Qualifying 2 saw Cao end up in third as Pieris qualified P7 for the third race of the weekend.
On Saturday’s Round 10, Cao made a lightning start off the line, moving quickly to secure his 2ndplace on the opening lap. Cao kept the pressure on the first place car for the entire race to follow him across the line in P2 – recording his 5thpodium of the season.
Regrettably Pieris’s strong start in the opening race and promising pace – which looked set to deliver a top 5 place – was short-lived after a spin on lap 1 dropped him down the order. The Sri Lankan driver fought back though, picking his way through the hard-charging field to eventually cross the line in seventh.
The action restarted on Sunday morning at the 5.451km, Hermann Tilke-designed, FIA Grade 1 track. Cao lined up from second place on the grid for the Round 11 of the season as Pieris started from sixth. The Chinese driver had a quite uneventful race to finish second for the second time this weekend.
Pieris had a good getaway and quickly took fifth place. Although he couldn’t manage the pace of the top four he ran well in the middle of the field, enjoying some fierce battles. As his pace dropped Pieris fell towards the opposition to finish seventh.
The last encounter of the weekend didn’t go well for Daniel Cao as his race lasted just a few hundred meters with the Chinese youngster finding himself taken out in the first corner.
In the other Absolute Racing car, Pieris kept his record straight, scoring points for the 12th consecutive time this season. The Sri Lankan rookie moved up two places to 5th at the expenses of his teammate and a rival, and successfully defended his place for 13 laps.
With three races left in the 2019 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA season, the Absolute Racing pair of Cao and Pieris lie third and fifth respectively. Absolute Racing remains second in the Teams’ standings.
The season’s showdown will happen at the Shanghai International Circuit in China on 27th/29th September.
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “We are really happy to be back on the podium in our home race. The encouraging factor this weekend was our outright pace and everyone in the team should be proud of their performance and contribution. Daniel showed he is not far from his first win in the category, and Eshan keeps impressing with his maturity, dedication, and speed in his rookie season. We look forward to finishing the season in strong form in three weeks’ time here again at Shanghai.”
#5 Daniel Cao Zhuo: “The first two races were good. Our team practiced here and our time was very good. In the races, the Hitech GP cars were very fast, but the times of our cars were almost the same. I very much enjoyed the race one. In the final few laps, our tires were quite old and I got understeer right behind Sasahara. It was very hard to catch him. Race two was good but I felt a little bit of oversteer at sector 1. Unfortunately the race three was too short.”
#15 Eshan Pieris: “Overall expectations were much higher this weekend considering the pace during the testing and free practices. However, in the end we fixed a lot on the driving side and race three was much better. I think I’m more prepared to face the changing track conditions Shanghai circuit will throw at me for the next one and it can only be better next time. Shootout to Absolute Racing for always delivering a competitive car and for supporting me.”
RACE WEEKEND RESULTS: