Home Formula 3FRegional Asian Championship Ukyo Sasahara dominates at Shanghai to close in on Asian F3 title

Ukyo Sasahara dominates at Shanghai to close in on Asian F3 title

by Rachel Hillman

Photo: F3 Asian Championship

Hitech GP’s Ukyo Sasahara dominated all three races at Shanghai to close in on the Asian Formula 3 title.

His main rival and team-mate Jack Doohan skipped on his Euroformula Open commitments at Silverstone to contest the Asian F3 races, but ended up losing further ground in the standings.

From pole position, Sasahara went unchallenged to take a lights-to-flag victory ahead of local Daniel Cao in race one. Doohan lost out on third place to Brendon Leitch in the opening laps.

Yu Kanamaru’s return to the championship kicked off with a delayed start to the race due to a clutch issue, and then retirement 12 laps in.

Sasahara?s domination continued in race two, with Absolute Racing’s Cao and Doohan fairly anonymous in second and third. Super License’s Kanamaru bounced back from his race one issues, resisting pressure from Leitch for fourth.

On the penultimate lap, 852 Challengers’ Paul Wong spun on the exit of Turn 3 as he tried to avoid the rear of BlackArts Racing’s Thomas Luedi, his Masters Cup rival.

The start of race three was much more chaotic. Sasahara held the lead at the start, squeezing team-mate Doohan towards the pit wall.

As the cars headed into Turn 1 Leitch attempted to pass Cao around the outside, but there was a clash of wheels and they were both forced off track. Cao was unable to restart due to a broken front left wheel, and the safety car was deployed to recover his stricken car.

Once racing continued, Sasahara pulled the pin immediately to ensure there was no way past for Doohan. Further back, their team-mate Jackson Walls ran wide exiting the last corner, but was able to hold onto seventh place.

With Cao out of the race, it allowed Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jordan Dempsey to take his second podium finish in third, ahead of team-mate Ayrton Simmons.

Leitch was able to continue after his first lap clash with Cao, and he fought his way back up to eighth place.

Sasahara became the first driver this season to do the treble, and now holds a 38 point advantage over Doohan with 75 left to score in the remaining three races.

Results round-up
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Ukyo Sasahara Hitech GP 31m25.722s
2 Daniel Cao Absolute Racing +1.252s
3 Brendon Leitch BlackArts Racing +3.551s
4 Jack Doohan Hitech GP +12.514s
5 Jordan Dempsey Pinnacle Motorsport +27.050s
6 Jackson Walls Hitech GP +28.218s
7 Eshan Pieris Absolute Racing +44.437s
8 James Yu Zen Motorsport +47.365s
9 Thomas Smith Pinnacle Motorsport +56.550s
10 Paul Wong 852 Challengers +1m26.424s
Pole: Sasahara, 2m03.037s
Fastest lap: Sasahara, 2m04.856s

Race 2 (15 laps)
1 Sasahara 31m24.433s
2 Cao +2.682s
3 Doohan +5.729s
4 Yu Kanamaru Super License +18.492s
5 Leitch +18.908s
6 Walls +28.637s
7 Pieris +31.230s
8 Dempsey +34.301s
9 Ayrton Simmons Pinnacle Motorsport +37.946s
10 Smith +49.003s
P: Sasahara, 2m02.339s
FL: Sasahara, 2m04.100s

Race 3 (13 laps)
1 Sasahara 30m04.140s
2 Doohan +3.183s
3 Dempsey +4.810s
4 Simmons +11.743s
5 Pieris +13.631s
6 Kanamaru +16.995s
7 Walls +18.000s
8 Leitch +23.949s
9 Yu +24.084s
10 Smith +30.840s
FL: Sasahara, 2m05.742s

Championship standings
1 Sasahara 256? ?2 Doohan 218? ?3 Cao 131? ?4 Leitch 121? ?5 Pieris 108? ?6 Dempsey 57? ?7 Walls 53? ?8 Kanamaru 50? ?9 Simmons 40? ?10 Yu 38