Jack Doohan wins Race 4 as F3 Asian Championship makes outstanding Middle East Debut

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The F3 Asian Championship made a spectacular Middle East debut today at the Dubai Autodrome, with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jack Doohan winning a heart-stopping Race 4 which produced 16-laps of intense combat from lights out to chequered flag.

Second was BlackArts Racing’s Joey Alders, who maintains his championship lead, with a thunderous late-race charge from series newcomer Sebastian Fernandez seeing the Spanish-Venezuelan take a podium on his debut.

There was action aplenty throughout the race, however it reached a dramatic crescendo on the final lap when Hitech Grand Prix’s Ukyo Sasahara and race winner Doohan clashed, the contact resulting in retirement for the reigning champion having led every lap from pole up to that point. The heated high-speed exchange saw Doohan handed a five-second penalty, although his margin of victory was so great he still retained the win, and Sasahara receive a three-place grid penalty for Race 5.

After four of 15 races, Alders remains at the top of the leaderboard, he and Doohan with two wins apiece but with the Dutchman 11 points ahead. Third is Hitech Grand Prix’s Nikita Mazepin ahead of Absolute Racing’s Devlin DeFrancesco.

Race 4

Ukyo Sasahara made a clean getaway as the lights went out but Jack Doohan thundered past Nikita Mazepin in from P3, and immediately began challenging Sasahara for the lead as the field plunged into Turn 1.

Sasahara held firm as the chasing pack jostled for position. Early gainers were Jake Hughes, quickly up to fifth, and Devlin DeFrancesco, while Jamie Chadwick made up two places from her P10 grid position.

With five minutes gone, Hughes had closed up to Joey Alders, the Dutchman locking up and losing valuable time. But all eyes were on Sasahara and Doohan as the 16-year-old Australian closed the gap to a little over half a second.

Series newcomer Sebastian Fernandez had closed up to Chadwick, the pair wheel-to-wheel into Turn 1. The Spanish-Venezuelan got up over the kerbs to barge past, but almost immediately handed back the position. After a cat and mouse chase led by Chadwick chased by Fernandez, Yu Kuai, Yu Kanamaru and Australian Tommy Smith, Fernandez had another try, this time taking the position cleanly.

At mid-race distance, Sasahara had kept Doohan far enough away to be out of immediate danger – for now. Meanwhile, Mazepin held on to podium contention from Alders, but the Dutchman had closed the gap to less than four tenths as the drama intensified.

The final laps, as day turned to night and with the ever-present threat of rain, saw some of the most intense competition in the championship’s history.

Alders got by Mazepin to seize third and, as the other drivers’ lap times fell, Fernandez began his epic charge, soaring past Fittipaldi, DeFrancesco and Hughes before expertly manoeuvring past Mazepin and up to 4th. 

At the front, meanwhile, Doohan was now within striking distance of Sasahara, an uncharacteristic error by the Japanese driver losing him crucial time. The final lap saw a gripping battle, with Doohan frantically seeking a way past, the pair side by side and banging wheels, before dramatically making decisive contact just a few corners from the flag.

The incident ended the race for Sasahara, having led every lap of the race until that point, as Doohan raced on to take the chequered flag.

Alders took a well-deserved second place finish ahead of Fernandez taking a podium finish on his championship debut after an astonishing run from ninth on the grid.

Mazepin took fourth ahead of DeFrancesco, Chadwick, Fittipaldi and Smith in eighth. Alder’s team mate Yu Kanamaru crossed the line in ninth ahead of MP Motorsport’s guest driver Amaury Cordeel tenth. Yu Kuai was forced to make a late-race pit stop, but re-joined to finish 15th.

Paul Wong took his second Masters win in four races, while there was heartbreak for his rival, Thomas Luedi of BlackArts Racing, who retired with 13 laps in the book.

With the fastest laps setting the grid for Race 5, Hughes, who finished a distant 12th in Race 4 after tire wear dropped him down the order in the closing stages, will start from pole.

Alongside will be Hitech Grand Prix team mate Mazepin, with Alders and Doohan looming large on the second row. The race gets underway Friday at 09:45 local time (GMT+4), with Race 6 following at 13:20.

Results Race 4

Provisional Entry List – Round 2 (Races 4-6)

Pos

#

Name

Nat

Team

Time

1

7

Jack DOOHAN

AUS

Pinnacle Motorsport

31:33.281

2

23

Joey ALDERS

NED

BlackArts Racing

+1.912

3

77

Sebastian FERNANDEZ

ESP

Pinnacle Motorsport

+2.144

4

3

Nikita MAZEPIN

RUS

Hitech Grand Prix

+6.241

5

17

Devlin DEFRANCESCO

CAN

Absolute Racing

+11.828

6

15

Jamie CHADWICK

GBR

Absolute Racing

+13.257

7

21

Pietro FITTIPALDI

BRA

Pinnacle Motorsport

+14.070

8

16

Tommy SMITH

AUS

Absolute Racing

+14.924

9

33

Yu KANAMARU

JPN

BlackArts Racing

+15.629

10

18

Amaury CORDEEL*

BEL

MP Motorsport

+26.891

11

25

Tatiana CALDERÓN

COL

Seven GP

+27.264

12

2

Jake HUGHES

GBR

Hitech Grand Prix

+29.396

13

10

Alessio DELEDDA

ITA

Hitech Grand Prix

+29.526

14

44

Paul WONG (M)

HKG

Zen Motorsport

+1:21.919

15

4

YU Kuai

CHN

Zen Motorsport

+ 1 Lap

DNF

11

Ukyo SASAHARA*

JPN

Hitech Grand Prix

 

DNF

9

Thomas LUEDI (M)

HKG

BlackArts Racing

 

*Guest drivers

Fastest lap: Jake Hughes/Hitech Grand Prix/1:55.854/Lap 4

F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Drivers’ Classification after Race 4

Pos

#

Name

Nat

Team

Points

1

23

Joey ALDERS

NED

BlackArts Racing

83

2

7

Jack DOOHAN

AUS

Pinnacle Motorsport

72

3

3

Nikita MAZEPIN

RUS

Hitech Grand Prix

52

4

17

Devlin DEFRANCESCO

CAN

Absolute Racing

45

5

5

Daniel CAO

CHN

Absolute Racing

31

6

4

YU Kuai

CHN

Zen Motorsport

22

7

33

Yu KANAMARU

GBR

BlackArts Racing

20

8

15

Jamie CHADWICK

GBR

Absolute Racing

19

9

25

Tatiana CALDERÓN

COL

Seven GP

15

9

77

Sebastian FERNANDEZ

ESP

Pinnacle Motorsport

15

10

2

Jake HUGHES

GBR

Hitech Grand Prix

14

11

16

Tommy SMITH

AUS

Absolute Racing

6

11

21

Pietro FITTIPALDI

BRA

Pinnacle Motorsport

6

11

10

Alessio DELEDDA

ITA

Hitech Grand Prix

1

11

44

Paul WONG (M)

HKG

Zen Motorsport

0

11

9

Thomas LUEDI (M)

HKG

BlackArts Racing

0

F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Masters Classification after Race 4

Pos

#

Name

Nat

Team

Points

1

44

Paul WONG (M)

HKG

Zen Motorsport

86

2

9

Thomas LUEDI (M)

HKG

BlackArts Racing

50

F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA Teams Classification after Race 4

Pos

Nat

Team

Points

1

HKG

BlackArts Racing

103

2

CHN

Absolute Racing

84

3

IRL

Pinnacle Motorsport

78

4

GBR

Hitech Grand Prix

66

5

CHN

Zen Motorsport

22

5

MEX

Seven GP

15

6

NLD

MP Motorsport

0


2020 F3 ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP CERTIFIED BY FIA PROVISIONAL CALENDAR

Date

Venue

Event

December 14-15

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

Round 1 (Races 1-3)

January 10-11

Dubai Autodrome, UAE

Round 2 (Races 4-6)

January 17-18

Yas Marina Circuit, UAE

Round 3 (Races 7-9)

February 14-15

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

Round 4 (Races 10-12)

February 22-23

 

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