Chinese driver Ye Yifei took his second Asian Winter Series victory in as many race weekends, after a flawless drive in a tense third race at the Sepang International Circuit. The result capped another outstanding performance by Ye Yifei and Absolute Racing. The title decider is due to take place next month.
The quick race pace he had already shown in the previous rounds at Thailand’s Buriram International Circuit, was replicated with a dominant free practice session on Saturday morning with a category record lap time under the 2 minute mark. In the qualifying session held on Saturday lunchtime, he put his car in the first row for the first and third races of the weekend.
In this first race of the weekend the Buriram’s Race 3 winner had started from second on the grid alongside Rinus van Kamthout, and he really tried to overtake for first when racing got underway, but he couldn’t make it. The 18-year-old Chinese driver kept pushing to put his opponent under pressure and to achieve a good lap for the second race grid position. He ended up running wide on the second lap. After the scare he settled back into his stride to cross the finish line in second.
The action exploded into life again on Sunday morning with Ye, who started from P2, trying to gain advantage over his rival through Turn 1 without success. In the first two laps he was really pushing hard to try to overtake. He couldn’t make the move to the front and ran second the rest of the way while saving some tires for the last race.
Ye saved the best for last. With the same mindset as the previous races to get a good start and try and overtake at Turn 1, this time he didn’t miss the chance and took the first place in the opening lap before the safety car was called out to retrieve a stricken car. On the restart the #16 Absolute Racing Tatuus F3 T-318 remained in front, and pulled away to take a dominant 11 second victory.
“I am really happy with my race win! It’s pity we couldn’t do better in qualifying but we’ve shown a great pace throughout the weekend and I think it was a very good weekend overall. With one last round to go, we are ready to fight for the title. We still have some gap to Rinus and let’s try to do the best in the next round to make it up. Many thanks to everyone at Absolute Racing for the top job,” said a delighted Ye.
Following this weekend’s results, Ye sits in second place in the drivers’ championship standings with 104 points, 29 points behind the championship leader with three races to go and 75 points available.
The Asian Winter Series returns to the 5.543km Malaysian Sepang International Circuit for its third and final round from February 22-24.
#16 YE YIFEI – ASIAN WINTER SERIES RESULTS:
Qualifying 1: P2 (FL: 2:01.824)
Qualifying 2: P2 (FL: 2:01.436)
Race 1: P2 (FL: 2:02.250)
Race 2: P2 (FL: 2:02.045)
Race 3: P1 (FL: 2:02.895)
ASIAN WINTER SERIES DRIVER CLASSIFICATION:
1. Rinus van Kamthout (NLD) Hitech Grand Prix – 133 Points
2. YE YIFEI (CHN) ABSOLUTE RACING – 104 Points
3. Alessandro Ghiretti (FRA) Hitech Grand Prix – 73 Points
4. Tomoki Takahashi (JPN) Super License – 44 Points
5. Akash Nandy (MAL) Pinnacle Motorsport – 44 Points