Australian 16-year-old Jack Doohan ended the first weekend of a new season of Asian F3 action with victory at Sepang.
Race 1 – Position 2
Mixed conditions in the first race saw it start dry before rain began to fall, and Doohan qualified P7 following technical issues in the test and Free Practice 1.
Starting from the 4th row, Doohan had a great start and climbed up to the front.
The Australian used the Safety Car to his advantage, making a move on race leader to demote him to P3 late in proceedings and send the Red Bull Junior to his first podium of the season in P2.
“Race 1 went well, from P7 to second thanks to a good start and the car working well. Then this morning, Race 2 was wet and the tyres just didn’t work. About half the drivers had tyres from a batch bought last season and there was about a 10 second difference to the batch bought this year. The difference dropped off to about 6 seconds later in the race but it wasn’t any fun at all, really strange but out of our control.”
Race 2 – Position 8
Morning rain left the Sepang circuit wet for the start of Race 2, with 2 sighting laps gave the drivers a chance to assess the track conditions before proceedings got underway, as the race was reduced to from 30 to 27 minutes.
Differences between cars with tyres proved a factor out of Doohan’s control and the Australian dropped down the order to finish P8.
“Then this morning, Race 2 was wet and the tyres just didn’t work. About half the drivers had tyres from a batch bought last season and there was about a 10 second difference to the batch bought this year. The difference dropped off to about 6 seconds later in the race but it wasn’t any fun at all, really strange but out of our control.”
Race 3 – Position 1
Doohan was on pole for Race 3, with reigning champion and ex-teammate Ukyo Sasahara beside him in second.
Doohan sped away from the line, claiming the fastest lap of the race, and was able to masterfully pull away from the remainder of the field with the order settling in behind him.
Doohan now sits second in the Formula 3 Asian Championship following the opening round of competition in Malaysia, with 3 of 15 Season Races completed.
“It was really great to get a win in the opening round of the season even though we didn’t get everything we wanted from the weekend. The Race 3 start was good and I managed to build on that, get into a good rhythm. There were damp patches from the start and a few sprinkles but then it got heavier and by about half way through the race it was raining enough to make it really tricky. My race engineer was telling me to back off because I had a bit of a margin so then I was just worked at staying out of trouble for the last three laps, to hold on for the win.”
The F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA continues next month with its debut in the Middle East with back-to-back Rounds start with Races 4 to 6 at the Dubai Autodrome on January 10-11, followed by Races 7 to 9 at the F1 Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on January 17-18.
- 1 – Joey ALDERS (NED) BlackArts Racing, 65 points
- 2 – Jack DOOHAN (AUS) Pinnacle Motorsport, 47 points
- 3 – Nikita MAZEPIN (RUS) Hitech GP, 40 points
- 4 – Devlin DEFRANCESCO (CAN) Absolute Racing, 35 points
- 5 – Daniel CAO (CHN) Absolute Racing, 31 points