AFR Round 4 Sepang: Clean Sweep for BAR/OLOI with Hat Trick Wins for Alders, Triple Podiums for Tavartkiladze; Alders and Hong Win Eurocup Tests
>Joey Alders sets new track record, takes pole and all three wins
>Sandro Tavartkiladze takes triple podiums
>Alders and Stephen Hong win Formula Renault Eurocup Tests
Sepang International F1 Circuit–
This weekend, Asia Formula Renault returned to the famous Sepang International F1 Circuit for another triple header weekend, for Round 4 of the five round, 13 race 2019 AFR Championship. BlackArts Racing featured its season drivers Joey Alders [Netherlands], Stephen Hong [China] and Sandro Tavartkiladze [Republic of Georgia]. It was a busy weekend for the Zhuhai and Sepang-based BlackArts Racing squad, which was also competing this weekend in Asian F3 and FIA China F4 at the Shanghai F1 Circuit in China.
In Sepang AFR, Joey Alders in the OLOI Powered by BAR car got off to an incredible start to Round 4 by setting a new Sepang F1 Circuit lap record for Asia Formula Renault during Friday morning’s official practice, with a laptime of 2.02.4.
In qualifying on Friday afternoon, Alders dominated pole for Race One by almost a full second, as well as taking the Race Two pole position. Teammates Sandro Tavartkiladze and Stephen Hong took 4th and 5th, respectively, for the starting grids of Race One and Race Two.
Saturday’s races were both performed under safety car starts due to a starting light issue. Race One was held on Saturday morning under hot and dry conditions, with Alders taking a commanding flag to flag win in the OLOI Powered by BAR car by over 15 seconds. Sandro Tavartkiladze joined him on the podium in 3rd while Stephen Hong took 5th. Race Two, again under hot and sunny conditions, saw Alders taking another flag to flag win while Tavartkiladze joined him once again on the podium in 3rd after an incredible drive, with Tavartkiladze on used tires passing PS Racing’s Elias Niskanen who was on new slicks, for P3 towards the end of the race, while Stephen Hong finished 5th.
Sunday’s Race Three featured a standing start, once again under good weather. Alders started on pole after his Race One and Two wins, immediately taking the lead into T1 at the start, then opening a solid gap on the field for yet another flag to flag finish. Meanwhile, Sandro Tavartkiladze took to the podium once again for 3rd place to earn himself a triple podium weekend, while Stephen Hong finished 5th.
Thanks to the points earned this weekend, Joey Alders and Stephen Hong both won Formula Renault Rookie Test awards in the new FR/19 car on October 28th in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Formula One Circuit, sponsored by Renault Sport. It was also a weekend of new benchmark success with Alders taking his first clean sweep AFR weekend, and Tavartkiladze taking podiums for all the weekend’s races for the first time.
The final round of the exciting 2019 Asia Formula Renault Championship will take place at Zhuhai International Circuit on December 7th-8th, in another triple header race weekend. Joey Alders will be looking to take home the season Driver’s Champion trophy, while Sandro Tavartkiladze will be looking to make up to his 10 point deficit to ART’s Bruno Carneiro to take 2nd place in the Driver’s Points, and Stephen Hong will fight for points to move up from 5th overall. Meanwhile, BlackArts Racing will of course be looking to take its 5th consecutive Driver’s Championship and 4th Team Championship in Asia Formula Renault.
Sandro Tavartkiladze : "Sandro Tavartkiladze : "Great to be back in the car with BlackArts Racing in Sepang. Great weekend, had some ups and downs, but to finish all three races on the podium isn't too bad. First race was solid, improved pace for second race and finished 3rd with old tires - great strategy from the team but in the 3rd race I didn't get as much out of the new tires as I could have and finished 3rd again even after a strong fight to overtake Bruno sometimes. There is one more round left, so we have a chance to finish season on a high. I want thank whole team for a great car and all the support they have given me."."
Stephen Hong: "Getting the chance to be an AFR Chinese Winner and get to test the new Formula Renault car for a day in Abu Dhabi is really exciting. I’ve maintained composure the whole season, although there were two issues with DNFs. However I have maintained my mindset following up races - wth points collection leading up to a Chinese Winner title, wasn’t an easy task!"
Joey Alders: "I could not wish for a better weekend than this one. It all came together. Starting of the weekend on Friday with the first official practice setting a new track record at Sepang in the Formula Renault 2.0 This also gave mental strength going into the qualifying and it did pay off with double pole position.
Saturday rolling up on to the grid all focused, we suddenly had to get out of the car, so that the officials could tell us that it would be a safety car start instead of a regular standing start due to the starting light damage because of heavy rainfall the night before. Once back in the car it was important to quickly regain the focus and get a good safety car start. All went well and I managed to finish P1.
Race 2 the start lights weren't fixed yet so again a safety car start, but because it went well in the first race this was in my favor. After the start it was luckily a copy from Race One, getting a good start and managing the pace throughout the race and finishing it off with another win. But this wasn't just a win, it was an important one, because this win gave me enough points to secure the ticket to go to the Formula Renault Eurocup Rookie Test in Abu Dhabi, which I was super excited about and was a main goal for this championship.
Race 3 the start lights were fixed again so we had the regular standing start. Thanks to the team we fixed the clutch problems from the previous weekend so this time it wasn't be a problem anymore to do the standing start. Throughout the race I knew my improvement points and needed to keep my focus on the job. It all paid off in the end with 3 out of 3 wins - the best weekend of my career with hopefully more to come, but I couldn't have done it if Blackarts Racing hadn't given me this incredible beast of a car.
See you all again for the championship final on 6-8 December - but first trying to impress Renault in Abu Dhabi October 28th!
OLOI is a San Francisco-based motorsports-inspired line of apparel which focuses on blending performance with time-proven classics in its product line. Please support the OLOI brand by subscribing to their website for more details and exciting promotional offers. For more information on OLOI, please visit: http://www.OLOIinc.com.
BlackArts Racing Team is a China / Hong Kong registered motor racing team that was formed in January, 2015. Its main operational headquarters are located within the Zhuhai International Circuit, in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province [bordering Macau] and the famous Sepang International F1 Circuit in Malaysia. The team’s business operations predominantly focus on professional racing series in Asia including F3 Asian Championship, Asian Formula Renault Series/AFR Series, FIA China F4, and various touring car series. The team also provides year-round beginning and advanced driver training via racing schools, individual driver training, and corporate track days. For more information on BlackArts Racing please visit http://www.BlackArtsRacing.com.
2019 Asia Formula Renault Championship Schedule:
Rnd 1 – March 23-24 - Zhuhai International Circuit, China
Rnd 2 – May 25-26- Zhuhai International Circuit, China
Rnd 3 – August 24-25- Sepang International F1 Circuit, Malaysia
Rnd 4 – September-28-29- Sepang International F1 Circuit, Malaysia
Rnd 5 – December 7-8, 2019 – Zhuhai International Circuit, China