•Joey Alders, Jack Doohan and Nikita Mazepin remain in championship contention heading into Round 5 title-decider
•Thomas Luedi and Paul Wong to go head-to-head for Masters class honours
•Pinnacle Motorsport and BlackArts Racing top Team Classification in four-way shootout
Buriram, Thailand (February 20, 2020) – The 2020 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA title fight will go down to the wire between three drivers at the season finale at Thailand’s Chang International Circuit in Buriram on February 22 and 23. BlackArts Racing’s Joey Alders who has topped the leaderboard all season heads into the title-deciding triple-header with a 15-point advantage over Red Bull Junior Jack Doohan of Pinnacle Motorsport, who took a clean-sweep of three straight wins at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit last week. An unbroken, season-long run of double-digit point finishes also puts Hitech Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin in the title mix, the Russian sitting 51 points adrift of Alders.
There’s even more at stake than the coveted title as the championship prepares for the finale of its third season though. The top nine finishers will all earn FIA super licence points, with 18 career-boosting credits for the champion and 14 for the runner-up.
Twenty-year-old Dutchman Alders saw his hefty championship points advantage savaged by Doohan in Malaysia when his 17-year-old title rival dominated the weekend with triple victories. A difficult Race 11 saw Alders struggle for pace and collect just six points, his first single-digit score across 12 races. With a maximum of 75 points on offer in Thailand – at a track notorious for being deceptively tricky and unforgiving – Alders, Doohan and Russian ace Mazepin are each in with a shot at lifting the title.
Returning to the Masters category for the finale is Zen Motorsport’s Paul Wong. Class title rival Thomas Luedi took advantage of Wong’s absence in Malaysia to go top of the leaderboard, and the BlackArts Racing driver heads to Thailand with a slim two-point advantage.
Meanwhile, the Team Classification will be a shootout between joint points-leaders, Irish outfit Pinnacle Motorsport and Zhuhai-based BlackArts Racing, China-headquartered Absolute Racing and two-time and reigning Team champions Hitech Grand Prix.
This season’s talent-packed entry will all be out to maximise their last chance to climb the leaderboard and increase their super licence points haul. Among them Doohan’s team mate and Haas F1 Team reserve Pietro Fittipaldi, currently sixth, BlackArts Racing’s Yu Kanamaru who took a sensational victory in Dubai last month and a podium finish in Race 12 to lie seventh, and Absolute Racing W Series champion Jamie Chadwick. The 21-year-old Williams Grand Prix Engineering development driver heads into the season finale on scorching form having taken two podium finishes at Sepang last week.
Zen Motorsport’s Yu Kuai, who turned 19 last month, is also a strong contender to increase his super licence points tally. Currently ninth in the championship, the talented Chinese driver has shown remarkable speed this season, but more than his fair share of bad luck has hampered his progress up the leaderboard.
Making their debuts with the championship this weekend are 18-year-old Russian Mikhael Belov on the BlackArts Racing squad, and Dutchman Leonard Hoogenboom with Absolute Racing. Belov takes the step up to F3 having finished fourth in last year’s Italian F4 championship, and was runner-up in the F4 North European Zone series in 2018. Twenty-year-old Hoogenboom, meanwhile, currently leads the Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 championship and in 2018 won the Le Mans Cup – LMP3 series.
Testing ahead of Round 5 gets underway on Friday, February 21, with two hour-long sessions on the 4.554km, 12-turn Hermann Tilke-designed track, home to the Thai round of Moto GP and located 400km North East of Bangkok.
A 30-minute free practice session on the morning of Saturday, February 22, is followed by two 15-minute qualifying runs to set the grids for Races 13 and 15, beginning at 11:15. Race 13 gets underway at 14:50 local time the same day (GMT +7). The starting order for Race 14 will be determined by the fastest laps in the previous race, and gets underway at 09:50 on Sunday, February 23, with the final race of the season following at 17:00. Each race will be of 30 minutes’ duration.
All races will be live streamed on the championship’s Facebook page and YouTube channels.