Emphatic debut for Liam Lawson as F3 Asian Championship lights up the Malaysian night

Emphatic debut for Liam Lawson as F3 Asian Championship lights up the Malaysian night

23.11.2018: •Pinnacle Motorsport takes maiden championship win with 16-year-old New Zealand talent •Raoul Hyman closes in on overall title with fifth place finish; Yin Hai Tao clinches Masters title with fifth victory

•Pinnacle Motorsport takes maiden championship win with 16-year-old New Zealand talent

•Raoul Hyman closes in on overall title with fifth place finish; Yin Hai Tao clinches Masters title with fifth victory

•Series’ first night race illuminates Malaysian F1-standard track

As Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit lit up the night sky, New Zealand wunderkind Liam Lawson made a storming Asian debut with a thunderous pole-to-flag run in Race 13 of the F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA. Reclaiming the race lead on the opening lap, having briefly lost it off the start to second-place finisher Tomoki Takahashi, the 16-year-old swept to victory, crossing the line almost nine seconds ahead of the Super License driver.

 Another talented championship newcomer, China’s Ye Yifei, also impressed on his Asian racing debut claiming the third podium place for Absolute Racing.

With drivers’ championship leader Jake Hughes absent from Sepang on GP3 duty, Dragon HitechGP team mate Raoul Hyman was careful to keep clear of trouble as he set about making inroads to his title rival’s points advantage.

With 10 points for fifth place, Hyman is now just 23 points behind Hughes with two races remaining. Takahashi moves up one place to fifth in the standings ahead of Malaysia’s Akash Nandy, ninth in Race 13, and behind Macau’s Charles Leong and American Jaden Conwright in third.

China’s Yin Hai Tao of ZEN Motorsport sealed the Masters title, his fifth victory of the season earning him an unassailable points lead. Yin led home newcomer Tairoku Yamaguchi of B-Max Racing Team and Takashi Hata of Super License.

Race 13

As the lights went out it was a three-way battle into turn 1 between pole-sitter Lawson, Ye and Takahashi. Lawson, who had a poor start, lost his lead and dropped to third before fighting his way back by the end of lap 1.

 Ye, who started on the front row, also had a poor getaway, dropping down to fourth behind Takahashi, Yu and Lawson. It was Takahashi who aced the start, taking the inside line and ploughing into the lead. However, a technical issue saw him lose the race lead to the flying Lawson. Yu remained in fourth, a position he held all the way to the chequered flag.

From there, Lawson kept his head down and set the pace for the remainder of the 13-lap race to claim the win with an 8.7 second lead from Takahashi and a further 13 seconds from Ye.

Hyman, who is on the hunt for the maiden F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA title, started the race from sixth and immediately began to pile the pressure onto SVC Asia’s Jeremy Wahome. The Briton had the better pace and by lap 3, managed to find a way past for fifth, collecting 10 crucial championship points. 

Meanwhile a battle brewed behind them as Nandy fended off the advances of India’s Akash Gowda and Louis Prette.

In the Masters class, Yin put in a wheel-perfect performance to take the first-ever Masters title, but behind him a battle brewed between DRAGON, Yamaguchi and Hata, with newcomer Beckhäuser caught in between. At the flag though, Yamaguchi claimed second ahead of Hata with DRAGON finishing fourth ahead of Thomas Luedi in fifth.

Race 14 is scheduled for 10:35am on Saturday 24th November with Lawson once again claiming pole position having set the fastest lap in Race 13. Takahashi lines up alongside, with Ye and Hyman on row two. Race 14 and Sunday’s finale will be live streamed on www.f3asia.com and on Facebook.

Driver Quotes: Race 13

Liam Lawson (Pinnacle Motorsport) – Race 13 winner

“It was fantastic! The car was really, really good. In the race, I knew we had a fast car. Unfortunately, I got a bad start and dropped back to third, but managed to regain the lead and just control the race from there. It’s my first time in Asia, so I’m really struggling with the heat so I’m not really looking forward to the rest of the weekend when it gets hotter!

“For me, it’s the first time racing at night. I did it racing in a go kart when I was about eight years old, so that was a bit different. I really enjoyed it. I think there should be a lot more of them.”

Tomoki Takahashi (Super License) – Race 13 2nd

“I’m always very good at starts, so I had a very nice start and got to P1 in the first corner. Then I had a braking problem which lasted the whole lap, so I’m disappointed.”

Ye Yifei (Absolute Racing) – Race 13 3rd

“I don’t think [this being my first race in Asia] is really an excuse for this because Liam did a fantastic job and it’s his first time in Asia. Yesterday we had a good day, but today we were struggling to get the tire temperature to work. We had some disappointing qualifying. In the race I had a good start but Tomoki had a better start.

We were fighting three abreast into turn 1 and unfortunately, I had a very bad run out of turn 1 and dropped to P4. After that I was able to regain to P3, but towards the end of the race it was hard for me to catch the top two. We really have to work hard to improve our pace for the upcoming races.”

Yin Hai Tao (ZEN Motorsport) – Race 13 Masters winner

“I stopped racing for a few years and re-started this year. The first few rounds, even until now, I’m still struggling physically. The qualifying is my best performance, then in the race, I think I need more gym training!”

Nikki Kemp - photos F3 asia

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/liam-lawson-f3-asian-malaysian-night---183803.html

23.11.2018 / MaP

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