· Red Bull Junior and Pinnacle Motorsport ace Doohan reignites title hopes with third win of season
· BlackArts Racing championship leader Joey Alders storms to second from P7 start
· Absolute Racing’s Jamie Chadwick secures maiden series podium at Sepang
Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jack Doohan stamped his authority on Race 10 of the 2020 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA with a flawless run to victory from pole on a drying Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The 17-year-old headed home championship leader Joey Alders of BlackArts Racing, while reigning W Series champion Jamie Chadwick secured her maiden series podium finish with Absolute Racing.
Fourth across the line after the 12-lap race was Doohan’s team mate Pietro Fittipaldi ahead of Hitech Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin, BlackArts Racing’s Yu Kanamaru and Chadwick’s team mate Tommy Smith of Australia in seventh.
Doohan’s win closes the points gap to championship leader Alders to 41 with five races – and a maximum 125 points - of the 2020 season remaining. Mazepin also remains very much in title contention, but with the top nine finishers all earning super licence points, there is still everything to fight for.
Following afternoon downpours and with the track still holding water, the field lined up on the grid shod with wets, BlackArts Racing’s Miki Koyama the only driver brave enough to gamble with slicks after the two formation laps.
As the lights went out, Jack Doohan made a blinding getaway, straight away pulling clear of guest driver Ukyo Sasahara alongside. The reigning champion immediately came under fire from a quick Nikita Mazepin, who snatched second and set off on the hunt for Doohan.
Jamie Chadwick also got away well from P5, getting past Zen Motorsport’s Yu Kuai before diving up the inside of Sasahara to take third. However, it wasn’t long before Joey Alders, who had rocketed through the field from P7 and swept past Sasahara on the way, loomed large in her mirrors. The Dutchman got alongside the Briton, but she held firm against what was a furious and unrelenting attack.
Out in front, Doohan had put more than a second between him and Mazepin, increasing that to over two by the end of lap two. Alders, meanwhile, finally found a way past Chadwick and took advantage of the clean air ahead to make quick headway on Mazepin.
Alders was flying, demonstrating the form which has seen him top the championship leaderboard all season, rapidly hunting down his prey and closing in fast on Mazepin. Mid-way through the race, the Dutchman got alongside the Hitech Grand Prix driver, taking the inside line at Turn 3 to deftly move up to second.
Next it was Chadwick’s turn to challenge the Russian, getting by on Lap 5, knocking Mazepin out of podium contention and down to fourth ahead of team mate Sasahara, who was himself under attack, this time from Pietro Fittipaldi.
With eight minutes remaining on the clock, Alders was quickly eating into Doohan’s lead, while Chadwick had pulled clear of Mazepin. Fittipaldi was again on a charge, setting his fastest lap after getting by Sasahara and closing in on Mazepin up ahead.
With a little over three minutes remaining, the Brazilian made his move to go fourth, collecting his fourth consecutive double-digit points finish.
Alders, meanwhile, chased Doohan all the way to the flag, cutting into the Australian’s margin and setting the fastest lap of the race on his final circuit - thereby clinching pole position for Race 11.
The Red Bull Junior driver had it in the bag though, his faultless run seeing him cross the line still with a margin of more than two seconds to clinch his third victory of the season. Alders and Chadwick joined him on the podium, while Fittipaldi took fourth ahead of Mazepin, Yu Kanamaru and Tommy Smith.
It was a disappointing race for Zen Motorsport’s Yu Kuai after his P4 grid position, the Chinese driver crossing the line 8th ahead of Sasahara, BlackArts Racing’s Miki Koyama and her team mate and Masters class driver Thomas Luedi.
The 2020 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA continues on Saturday with Races 11 and 12 at Malaysia’s 5.543km Sepang International Circuit. Both races will be live streamed via the championship’s Facebook page and YouTube channels.
Jack Doohan (Pinnacle Motorsport) – winner Race 10
“After the formation lap, I thought to go to slicks. But then looking around, no one else was really convinced on the change so we stuck to the wets. The start was pretty good and I was able to pull away from the two Hitech cars. I had a bit of an advantage on that one over Nikita, so I maintained that for a few laps. I didn’t know really how much to conserve the tires – and if [Hitech] were or not. Then Nikita started to drop away, so I tried to not push but back off the pace in case they were trying to save the tires and come later. Then I saw Joey later in the race
had got past and had some pretty quick pace, so I tried to push as hard as I could without overdoing it and killing the tires. But eventually I just didn’t have the pace he did at the end, but still hung on for the win.”
Joey Alders (BlackArts Racing) – 2nd Race 10
“If it had been a four-hour endurance race then maybe I could have got [Doohan]! If I could have started further up the grid, maybe I could have got him. I had good pace throughout the race, so I’m happy with the result.”
Jamie Chadwick (Absolute Racing) – 3rd Race 10
“Obviously early on in the race I made a good start and managed to get by Ukyo. I managed to maintain the pace from there. It was quite tricky at the beginning of the race because it was quite greasy. I thought it was going to get dryer towards the end, so I started battling with Joey but then thought, ‘he’s got a bit more pace so it’s better to avoid battling too much and ruining my tires’. I settled into third. Joey’s pace was probably a bit quicker than mine at that stage in the race.”