Asian F3 Round 4: Points gap narrows but BAR-OLOI’s Alders holds onto championship lead; another stellar drive for Kanamaru while Luedi moves into Masters points lead
>OLOI Powered by BAR pilot Joey Alders takes double podiums
>Yu Kanamaru has amazing P8 to podium drive in Race Three
>Thomas Luedi takes double wins in Masters to take over Masters points lead
>Joey Alders Driver’s Championship lead drops to 15 points after GITI tire issue
>BlackArts Racing and Pinnacle now tied for Team Championship
>Drivers and Team Championships down to the wire in next weekend’s Buriram finale
February 15th, 2020
Sepang International F1 Circuit–
The drama of the 2020 Asian F3 Championship continued this weekend at the famous Sepang F1 Circuit, as a GITI tire issue cost Dutch rookie F3 driver Joey Alders valuable points with just one round [three races] remaining in the championship, which will conclude next weekend at the Buriram International Circuit. The OLOI Powered by BAR pilot managed to come out of the weekend still in the Driver’s Points lead, but now is only 15 points in front of 2019 Asian F3 runner up/Red Bull driver Jack Doohan of Pinnacle Motorsport.
Masters Championship race driver Thomas Luedi picked up valuable points due to strong performances and the absence of Masters competitor Paul Wong. As a result, the Masters Championship will also come down to the results of the final three races next weekend in Buriram.
Meanwhile, in the Team championship, due to the lost points BAR is now tied with Pinnacle Motorsport going into final round.
Friday 14th February Race One:
Race One was held at 6:30pm on Friday under a drying track, with the grid being given an extra formation lap to help clear the standing water; however the race featured a normal standing start as the track had slowly started drying by the time of the weather-delayed start.
F3 rookie Joey Alders started in 7th after a GITI tire issue cost him dearly in qualifying. However, with the grid now all on rain tires, in a fantastic drive Alders made short work of Kuai Yu and F1 Test driver Pietro Fittipaldi, then going on to pass both 2019 Asia F3 champion Ukyo Sasahara and F1 development driver Jamie Chadwick to move up to P3 within just two laps. Only a few laps later, the OLOI/BAR driver then passed F2/GP3 veteran Nikita Mazepin to move up to P2. Alders then hunted down Doohan, in the process setting the fastest race lap to cross the checkered just two seconds behind Doohan after Alders starting from P7 on the grid.
Meanwhile Thomas Luedi took the masters win finishing just behind BAR teammate Miki Koyama of W Series fame, who was the only driver of the field who had dared to gamble on slicks in the damp race. BAR’s Yu Kanamaru finished 6th after starting from P8.
Saturday 15th February Race Two:
On a mostly dry track with the entire field on slicks, Alders started on pole after setting a dominant fastest lap in race one, with teammates Kanamaru, Koyama and Luedi starting 8th, 11th, and 12th, respectively, with the grid being determined by the lap time order of Race One.
With seemingly another victory in store for Alders, again due to a GITI tire issue Alders slowly dropped down the order during the 15-lap race after spending most of it in 2nd chasing down Doohan. The Dutchman struggled to find pace while driving on quickly degrading tires, and dropped down to an eighth place finish, losing valuable points in the Driver’s Championship.
Teammate Yu Kanamaru moved up to finish 6th with Koyama 10th, and Thomas Luedi retiring early on due to a technical issue.
Saturday 15th February Race Three:
Race Three brought redemption for the BAR F3 squad after the bad fortunes of Race Two. Under dry conditions, for the final race of the weekend the grid was determined by the Qualifying Two results; Alders started P3, while BAR took P8,9,10 on the starting grid via Yu Kanamaru, Miki Koyama, and Thomas Luedi, respectively.
At the start of the race, Alders quickly worked up his way to 2nd and held on to it through the checkered flag, earning valuable Driver’s Championship points to retain the Driver’s Championship lead going into next week’s final round at Buriram.
However, the standout star of Race Three was no doubt BAR teammate Yu Kanamaru, who drove an incredible race reminiscent of his amazing Dubai win just weeks before:
At the race start, Kanamaru stormed up from P8 all the way to 3rd on the very first lap. For the remainder of the race, he held onto the position to cross the checkered for the podium, after fending off a strong challenge from GP3/F2 driver Nikita Mazepin in the closing laps.
Meanwhile Miki Koyama and Thomas Luedi finished 9th and 11th, with Luedi taking another Masters win which puts him now in the lead for the Driver’s Championship in the Masters Class, at 179 points vs 177 points for Paul Wong.
With just one round/three races to go next weekend at Buriram International Circuit, the 2020 Asian F3 Championship is coming down to a gripping conclusion.
Will F3 rookie Joey Alders take home the championship win against 2019 Asian F3 season runner-up Red Bull driver Jack Doohan? Alders has made an amazing debut F3 season after just one season of F4 in 2018 before dominating the 2019 Asia Formula Renault Championship.
Meanwhile, BAR F3 season drivers Yu Kanamaru and Thomas Luedi have had an incredible season, with Kanamaru taking his best results yet, culminating with an absolutely dominant win of no less than 25 seconds in Dubai last month, and Luedi moving up to his first chance to take home the Masters Championship trophy for 2020, after overcoming last year’s technical DNFs.
Finally, there is the Team Championship on the line for BlackArts Racing, who has been on top of the points all season with its strong driver line-up, only to now have to go into the final round tied with Pinnacle Motorsport at 296 points each.
The 2020 Asian F3 Certified by FIA Championship will conclude next weekend at the Buriram International Circuit for Round 5, the season finale, on Feb 21st-22nd. With only 3 races remaining, it is all coming down to the line with the Driver and Team Championships still up for grabs.
OLOI, Inc, the primary team sponsor of BlackArts Racing, 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 or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oloiinc/.
BlackArts Racing 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.
Asian F3 Certified by FIA 2020 Championship Calendar:
Rnd 1 – Dec 14-15 – Sepang International F1 Circuit
Rnd 2 – Jan 10-11 – Dubai Autodrome
Rnd 3 – Jan 17-18 – Yas Marina F1 Circuit
Rnd 4 – Feb 14-15 - Sepang International F1 Circuit
Rnd 5 – Feb 22-23 - Buriram International Circuit