Home Formula RegionalFRegional Asian Championship Ukyo Sasahara claims Asian F3 title at Shanghai, Daniel Cao wins twice

Ukyo Sasahara claims Asian F3 title at Shanghai, Daniel Cao wins twice

by Rachel Hillman

Home hero Daniel Cao dominated the Asian Formula 3 season finale as Shanghai, as Hitech GP’s Ukyo Sasahara wrapped up the title.

Sasahara took pole for races one and three, with team-mate Jack Doohan alongside him on the front row.

He tried defending from his team-mate at the start of race one but ending up letting Absolute Racing’s Cao through around the outside of Turn 1 from third on the grid.

Doohan was swiftly hounded by BlackArts Racing’s Brendon Leitch, prompting him to pull off a successful overtake on Sasahara.

This helped Cao pull away, and threats to victory were diminished further when Sasahara slowed down with a technical issue. Leitch took third place as a result, but he then got a puncture and had to pit.

Cao took his first win 1.113 seconds clear of Doohan, while Sasahara recovered to finish third.

In race two, Cao made another stunning start and flew into the lead. Both Hitech drivers made poor starts, with Doohan getting ahead of Sasahara. They were both soon passed by Leitch, who set about tracking down Cao.

Masters Cup entrant Thomas Luedi had another troublesome race and stopped on track, requiring a safety car deployment.

When the race resumed, Cao covered off Leitch and pulled away again.

A fierce battle erupted between Doohan and Sasahara, with Red Bull junior Doohan getting the better of his team-mate for third.

Despite missing the podium, for just the second time this season, Sasahara wrapped up the title with a race to spare in fourth.

Doohan struck back in the final race, diving down the inside of his team-mate at the start to take the lead, while Jackson Walls rose up the order to make it a all-Hitech podium.

Cao, starting from the back after a suspension issue meant he missed the second qualifying session, was also on a charge. By lap three he was in seventh place.

Doohan set numerous fastest laps to gap Sasahara by over seven seconds, with Walls a further 13s back in third.

Leitch and Absolute Racing’s Eshan Pieris rounded out the top five, with Pinnacle Motorsport’s Jordan Dempsey comfortably ahead of Cao in sixth.

Results round-up
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Daniel Cao Absolute Racing 30m44.965s
2 Jack Doohan Hitech GP +1.113s
3 Ukyo Sasahara Hitech GP +16.320s
4 Jackson Walls Hitech GP +18.790s
5 Jordan Dempsey Pinnacle Motorsport +21.517s
6? James Yu Zen Motorsport +29.604s
7 Eshan Pieris Absolute Racing +30.543s
8 Akash Gowda M-Sport Asia +51.245s
9 Paul Wong 852 Challengers +1m12.861
10 Brendon Leitch BlackArts Racing + 1 Lap
Pole: Sasahara, 1m59.449
Fastest lap: Cao, 2m01.393s

Race 2 (14 laps)
1 Cao 30m49.176s
2 Leitch +2.619s
3 Doohan +7.617s
4 Sasahara +17.970s
5 Walls +19.426s
6 Dempsey +20.877s
7 Yu +22.916s
8 Gowda +28.484s
9 Tommy Smith Pinnacle Motorsport +29.530s
10 Pieris +32.031s
P: Cao, 2m01.393s
FL: Cao, 2m02.788s

Race 3 (15 laps)
1 Doohan 30m43.809s
2 Sasahara +7.669s
3 Walls +20.260s
4 Leitch +23.614s
5 Pieris +26.606s
6 Dempsey +27.021s
7 Cao +35.410s
8 Smith +46.202s
9 Yu +59.626s
10 Gowda +1m01.988s
FL: Doohan, 2m02.322s

Championship standings
1 Sasahara 301? ?2 Doohan 276? ?3 Cao 187? ?4 Leitch 152? ?5 Pieris 125? ?6 Walls 90? ?7 Dempsey 83? ?8 Yu 54? ?9 Yu Kanamaru 50? ?10 Ayrton Simmons 40