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Zhou wins Asian F3 title with victory in Yas Marina finale

by Craig Woollard

Photo: F3 Asian Championship

Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema’s Alpine Formula 1 junior Guanyu Zhou took the Asian Formula 3 title by winning the season finale at Yas Marina Circuit from pole position.

Zhou entered the decider with a one-point advantage over Pinnacle Motorsport’s Pierre-Louis Chovet, with the Frenchman having six wins to Zhou’s three. However, Zhou started on pole while Chovet was sixth on the grid.

The victory in the first race of the weekend had been handed to Zhou earlier in the day following a penalty for Evans GP’s Patrik Pasma, who started alongside him on the race three front row.

Zhou got a far better start than he managed in the previous races to run ahead Pasma into the first corner of the title decider.

A brief safety car intervention for a collision towards the back of the field involving Pinnacle’s Alessio Deledda and Evans GP’ Irina Sidorkova brought the front two back together, but when the race restarted, Zhou was able to pull away.

Pasma then found himself under pressure throughout from Mumbai Falcons’ Jehan Daruvala – who saved fresh tyres for the final race.

Zhou took the race win by 3.297 seconds from Pasma, and the title too, with Daruvala just behind Pasma in third.

Chovet, meanwhile, got past Abu Dhabi Racing’s David Vidales early on – as the Spaniard sank down the order – but was unable to make more progress up the field and was stuck in fifth behind Hitech GP’s Roman Stanek – with whom he collided with in race two of the weekend.

Hitech’s Roy Nissany and Ayumu Iwasa, Mumbai Falcons’ Kush Maini, BlackArts Racing’s Cem Bolukbasi and Hitech’s Reece Ushijima rounded out the top 10.

Iwasa’s seventh position means he became the highest-placed Regional F3 rookie in the standings.

Further back, Motorscape’s Nicola Marinangeli is under investigation for dangerous driving while team-mate Roberto Faria pitted early on and did not return to track. Pinnacle’s Alexandre Bardinon had an unusual moment where he was facing backwards halfway down the back straight but was able to continue, and is under investigation too.

Sidorkova and Abu Dhabi Racing’s Amna Al Qubaisi meanwhile are under investigation for track limits.

Race results
Pos Driver Team Time
1 Guanyu Zhou Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema 14 laps
2 Patrik Pasma Evans GP +3.297s
3 Jehan Daruvala Mumbai Falcons +3.869s
4 Roman Stanek Mumbai Falcons +8.383s
5 Pierre-Louis Chovet Pinnacle Motorsport +9.374s
6 Roy Nissany Hitech GP +11.655s
7 Ayumu Iwasa Hitech GP +12.295s
8 Kush Maini Mumbai Falcons +13.168s
9 Cem Bolukbasi BlackArts Racing +17.998s
10 Reece Ushijima Hitech GP +18.685s
11 Alex Connor Evans GP +19.384s
12 David Vidales Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +20.117s
13 Lorenzo Fluxa BlackArts Racing +21.828s
14 Rafael Villagomez BlackArts Racing +22.633s
15 Nicola Marinangeli Motorscape +25.333s
16 Amna Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +32.371s
17 Irina Sidorkova Evans GP +41.769s
18 Khaled Al Qubaisi Abu Dhabi Racing by Prema +44.316s
Ret Alexandre Bardinon Pinnacle Motorsport
Ret Roberto Faria Motorscape
Ret Alessio Deledda Pinnacle Motorsport
Fastest lap: Zhou, 2m08.414s

Championship standings
1 Zhou 257   2 Chovet 241   3 Daruvala 192   4 Pasma 146   5 Nissany 97   6 Isack Hadjar 96   7 Dino Beganovic 88   8 Iwasa 81   9 Bolukbasi 61   10 Stanek 60