•Dragon HitechGP takes podium clean-sweep in Race 10
•Malaysian Akash Nandy fourth after drive-through for Jaden Conwright
•Ryan Liu takes brilliant Masters victory
Shanghai, China (October 13, 2018) – Dragon HitechGP driver Jake Hughes wasted no time getting to grips with China’s 4.010km Ningbo International Speedpark, with a wheel-perfect pole-to-flag run to take his seventh victory of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA in Race 10, leading home team mates Raoul Hyman and Charles Leong of Macau to complete a clean-sweep of the podium.
Fourth across the line was Absolute Racing’s Akash Nandy ahead of Super License driver Tomoki Takahashi of Japan, with Nandy’s team mate Jaden Conwright fifth after start infringement penalty. Ryan Liu took victory in the Masters class for his Emc2 Racing team ahead of ZEN Motorsport’s Yin Hai Tao.
Hughes’ win sees him strengthen his position at the top of the Drivers Classification to 19 points clear of Hyman, who is fighting hard to keep the GP3 driver within reach. Conwright remains third but is now 30 points behind Hyman. However, with five races still remaining, the championship fight remains wide open. In the Masters classification, Liu is closing in on points-leader Yin, his win in Race 10 narrowing the gap to just 20 points.
With the fastest laps in Race 10 setting the grid for the first of Sunday’s two races, Hughes once again starts from pole with Hyman alongside, and Leong and Conwright making up the second row. Race 10 begins at 09:55 local time on Sunday, with Race 11 following at 15:05.
Hughes blasted away from pole, tearing clear of his rivals in an untroubled run to the flag. Behind him, Conwright came under fire from Hyman, but the 19-year-old American was having none of it, slamming the door on the Briton. Hyman then faced a challenge from team mate Leong while continuing his efforts to stay with Conwright up ahead.
Nandy made a good getaway too, getting by Takahashi and up to fourth in the order. BlackArt’s Racing’s Louis Prette had an early spin but continued, while M-Sports Akash Gowda faced disappointment, retiring early on after an encouraging qualifying.
As Hughes pulled away in front, Conwright continued to defend well from Hyman, while Leong waited in the wings. In the Masters class, Liu, racing with a new engine after issues in qualifying, had worked his way from the back to lead the category when he and Conwright were handed drive-through penalties for false starts. Just as the penalties were meted out, Hyman made his move on Conwright and up to second behind team mate Hughes.
Conwright’s penalty dropped him down the order to 8th, but promoted Leong to third, giving Dragon HitechGP a 1-2-3 ahead of Nandy. Takahashi, in fifth, came under pressure from series newcomer Ling Kang of China.
Mid-way through the race, a determined Conwright set about recovering ground after his drive through, but SVC Asia’s Jeremy Wahome put up an impressive defense, keeping him at bay right up until the dying moments of the race.
The start of the penultimate lap brought late-race drama when a stranded Takashi Hata brought out the safety car. Ling also stopped before the finish, a disappointing end to what had been a strong championship debut.
The safety car released the field on the final lap, and a faultless Hughes sailed across the line to collect his seventh championship victory, leading home team mates Hyman and Leong. Nandy took 4th ahead of Takahashi, Conwright and Wahome, while Liu took the Masters victory from Yin Hai Tao.
Jake Hughes (Dragon HitechGP) – Round 10 winner
“I really like the track. It’s like a big karting circuit. It’s really bumpy, there are kerbs you can use, and the chicane. You can really drive the car. The tires are working in a different way because of the lack of straits. I really enjoy it. It’s different to anything I’ve driven before.
I made a mega start in the race. Laid down some quick laps. Raoul was battling with Jaden before he [Jaden] got his penalty, so the gap was a bit bigger than probably it would have been. It’s great to get my seventh win!”
Raoul Hyman (Dragon HitechGP) – Round 10 2nd
“I think it’s been a bit closer this weekend than it has been. I got a decent enough start, good enough to get alongside got the nose ahead of Jaden. He wasn’t going to let me go. I wasn’t keen to go around the outside at turn 2 but had to. I was told he had a drive through so I wasn’t particularly keen to sail up the inside because you never really know. Every lap I asked the team if he was going to take it. Meanwhile, I was trying to back off and get a lap in for [the grid] for race two as I didn’t know when the tires were going to peak.”
Ryan Liu (Emc2 Racing) – Race 10 Masters winner
“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 race.”
Sunday, October 14
F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA
Race 10 Results
Fastest Lap: Jake Hughes/Dragon HitechGP/1:40.956/Lap 8/142.99kph
Championship 2018 Drivers Classification after Race 10
F3 Asian Championship 2018 Masters Classification after Race 10