• Championship leader Raoul Hyman and Absolute Racing’s Jaden Conwright secure front row starts
• China’s Yu Kuai impresses as third quickest in both sessions
Shanghai, China (September 21, 2018) – Dragon HitechGP’s Jake Hughes took pole position for both Races 7 and 9 today as the Briton makes his debut at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend with the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA. Hughes, pole-sitter and winner of the opening three races in Malaysia earlier this year, will be joined on the front row for Saturday’s Race 7 by team mate championship leader Raoul Hyman, while Absolute Racing’s Jaden Conwright, who won his maiden F3 race just a few weeks ago in Ningbo, will start alongside Hughes for Sunday’s Race 9.
Third quickest in each of today’s two fifteen-minute sessions was Chinese driver Yu Kuai of ZEN Motorsport, recording his best qualifying results to-date. Lining up alongside Yu in Race 7 is Dragon HitechGP driver Charles Leong of Macao, while Hyman was fourth quickest in today’s second wet qualifying session. In the Masters category, ZEN Motorsport driver Yin Hai Tao was fastest in both sessions and takes the class pole honours.
With Thursday’s practice sessions held in wet conditions, this morning’s Free Practice presented the international field of fledging talent its first opportunity to run on the 5.451km home of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix in the dry. As the first of two qualifying sessions got underway, it was Yu who jumped to the top of the time sheets, taking provisional pole ahead of the likes of Japan’s Tomoki Takahashi of Super License and Absolute Racing driver Akash Nandy of Malaysia.
Dragon HitechGP elected to hit the track late, but when they did, immediately made an impression. With five minutes remaining in the session, Hyman moved up to second on the time sheets, before Hughes snatched provisional pole ahead of Yu. Hyman bettered his lap time to go second behind Yu and from there, the pair pushed one another as they battled for pole. Hughes won out, but just barely – a mere 0.051 seconds separating Hughes with his 2:04.855 lap and Hyman – while Yu was just a further four-tenths of a second behind.
While there was just a short five minute break between the two qualifying sessions, track conditions were already changing with a very slight drizzle at the start of the session which slowly got a little heavier. Mid-way through the second run to determine the grid for Race 9, the session was declared wet, however all cars remained on slicks on the damp track.
The wet conditions were advantageous for some drivers, like Conwright who, with four minutes remaining, was on provisional pole having struggled in the first qualifying session. As the clock wound down, positions changed with each passing lap – Takahashi took a brief turn at the top of the leaderboard, before Hughes then set his fastest time on his fourth lap with 2:06.275. Only Conwright was able to join Hughes in lapping under 2:07, as the American bettered his time to earn his place on the front row alongside Hughes.
Yu drove his best lap of the session with just seconds on the clock, with Hyman set to line-up alongside. Forming the third row of the Race 9 grid is Takahashi and Leong, while Monaco’s Louis Prette of BlackArts Racing improved his time in the closing stages to start from seventh on the grid.
ZEN Motorsport driver and Shanghai native Yin Hai Tao was the fastest driver in the Masters Class for both Races 7 and 9.
Tomorrow’s Race 7 begins at 12:15 local time (03:05 GMT). With the fastest laps in Race 7 setting the grid for Race 8, the first of Sunday’s two races is scheduled for 10:15 local time (02:15 GMT), with the final race of the triple-header at 15:55 (07:55 GMT).
All three races will be live-steamed on the official website (www.f3asia.com) and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/F3AsianChampionship.
Jake Hughes/GBR/Dragon HitechGP
Pole Position, Races 7 and 9
“It’s my first time here [in Shanghai]. In Q1 we changed the car quite a bit from free practice. I wasn’t really comfortable to be honest. It was still fast but it was really difficult to drive so I was quite happy and relieved to get pole. Raoul was really close to me and I think we were fighting every lap. We changed the car for Q2 a little bit in the five-minute gap, but it rained straight away so in the end it was pointless to make the change. It was an interesting session – as a neutral fan if you were watching on the outside I think it looked quite entertaining every lap changing. From my side I found it quite good fun and even more so when I was told on the radio that I had another pole.”
Raoul Hyman/GBR/Dragon HitechGP
2nd Race 7
“The first one was pretty straight forward. The car felt a little bit better than it had in Free Practice and getting everything together was pretty good. It was a pretty clear session and we were just getting quicker and quicker as went to the end. In the second session it was a bit of a lottery. We went out and it started raining. We got a few laps in, mine wasn’t great. It wasn’t ideal but fourth on the grid isn’t going to be too difficult to overtake on a track like this.”
Jaden Conwright/USA/Absolute Racing
2nd Race 9
“Session 1 wasn’t the best session but the fact that we were able to come back in session 2 is a good thing. I have some mixed feelings because the first session was definitely not the best – we were constantly trying to figure out something that we were missing, but all the wet running we had yesterday was a big help for session 2 as it was mixed conditions. Session two was a good boost.”
Yu Kuai/CHN/ZEN Motorsport
3rd Races 7 and 9
“Obviously it’s a good result for the team, for myself I think the car feels quite balanced throughout the weekend and I think there are still areas where we can [improve] both in the car and in my driving, but overall I think it was a good qualifying session. Hopefully we can gain a bit more in the race.
“I can feel that the communication with the team is better, myself I’m becoming more and more accustomed to driving this car and I think there is a big improvement in terms of my ability of controlling the car and of course of the team doing a really good job of giving me a great car to drive this weekend.”
Yin Hai Tao/CHN/ZEN Motorsport
Pole Position Masters, Races 7 and 9
“I’m happy with both pole positions in the Master group. Shanghai is my home town and this whole week, I’ve felt the car and myself getting better and better and the performance improving. Until now, I’m really happy.”
Qualifying Race 7
|1||34||Jake HUGHES||GBR||Dragon HitechGP||2:04.855|
|2||27||Raoul HYMAN||GBR||Dragon HitechGP||+0.051|
|3||5||YU Kuai||CHN||ZEN Motorsport||+0.478|
|4||11||Charles LEONG||MAC||Dragon HitechGP||+0.890|
|5||29||Akash NANDY||MAL||Absolute Racing||+0.970|
|6||7||Tomoki TAKAHASHI||JPN||Super License||+1.080|
|7||80||Jaden CONWRIGHT||USA||Absolute Racing||+1.301|
|8||8||Jeremy WAHOME||KEN||SVC Asia||+1.519|
|9||3||YIN Hai Tao (M)||CHN||ZEN Motorsport||+2.103|
|10||4||Louis PRETTE||HKG||BlackArts Racing||+2.204|
|11||2||Takashi HATA (M)||JPN||Super License||+2.624|
|12||6||LIU Zexuan (M)||CHN||Emc2 Racing||+2.759|
|13||33||Akash GOWDA||IND||M-Sport Asia||+3.021|
|14||30||DRAGON (M)||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||+4.668|
|15||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||+4.772|
Qualifying Race 9
|1||34||Jake HUGHES||GBR||Dragon HitechGP||2:06.275|
|2||80||Jaden CONWRIGHT||USA||Absolute Racing||+0.154|
|3||5||YU Kuai||CHN||ZEN Motorsport||+0.804|
|4||27||Raoul HYMAN||GBR||Dragon HitechGP||+1.055|
|5||7||Tomoki TAKAHASHI||JPN||Super License||+1.550|
|6||11||Charles LEONG||MAC||Dragon HitechGP||+2.347|
|7||4||Louis PRETTE||HKG||BlackArts Racing||+2.813|
|8||3||YIN Hai Tao (M)||CHN||ZEN Motorsport||+2.885|
|9||29||Akash NANDY||MAL||Absolute Racing||+3.089|
|10||33||Akash GOWDA||IND||M-Sport Asia||+3.093|
|11||2||Takashi HATA (M)||JPN||Super License||+3.267|
|12||6||LIU Zexuan (M)||CHN||Emc2 Racing||+3.397|
|13||8||Jeremy WAHOME||KEN||SVC Asia||+3.922|
|14||30||DRAGON (M)||JPN||B-Max Racing Team||+4.910|
|15||9||Thomas LUEDI (M)||HKG||BlackArts Racing||+12.878|