Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted April 18, 2006 03:00
Tyson Sy sweeps 2006 AF3 Opener
The series opener of the 2006 Asian Formula 3 Championship proved yet to be another prelude to an exciting season highlighting some of the most talented drivers in the region. This season makes use of a three-round weekend format to allow more competition for the championship by allowing more possibilities to score more points with more races. Absent from this season are graduates Ananda Mikola, Christian Jones and Rodolfo Avila. The former two have graduated to the A1 Grand Prix Series, while the latter is now challenging the ranks of the British F3 Series.
In qualifying, John O'Hara took pole position running under the banner of his new team Aran Racing formed with Aviation Display's Noel Thompson and Mandy Borja formerly of Kinetic F3. O'Hara's 1m29.049s laptime was merely four-hundreths of a second quicker than that of Team Goddard's Dado Peña who qualified on the second grid spot. On second row is Ali Jackson, also of Aran Racing followed by Tyson Sy of Speedtech Asia. For the promotions class, Team Goddard's Michele Bumgarner led the field ahead of JP Tuason and Gaby Dela Merced of Speedtech Asia.
With a dramatic start in the first round where polesitter John O'Hara found himself stalling as teammate Jackson stalled behind him to avoid collision. However a bad start by Peña effectively handed over the lead to a relentless Sy. JA Motorsports' rookie driver Dillon Battistini, determined to make a name in the series quickly followed behind Sy while James Winslow followed in third as Moreno Soeprapto followed in fourth. O'Hara would manage to get his car rolling soon after all the cars zoom past him, while Jackson found himself rolling out of the starting line as the leaders were about to make their first lap.
A few laps after as Peña regained momentum, he began to chase Kinetic F3's Pepon Marave with an increasing pace. However, entering the third turn, Peña would come into contact with Marave's rear end causing both cars to spin, and eventually ending the race for both drivers. A relentless John O'Hara meanwhile, was weaving his way back up the order, fortunately for him with Peña and Marave out of contention, he had two drivers less to worry about.
While in the Promotions Class, it was still Tuason in the lead after inheriting it at the start when Bumgarner stalled on the warm-up lap. However, Bumgarner tried to make certain that she would recapture the Promotions Class as she inched up on Tuason and eventually made the maneuver on the first turn towards the end of the race. Dela Merced on the other hand, was not too fortunate as she found herself in the pits with a punctured tire and was not able to rejoin the race.
And so the race ended with Sy taking the checkered flag ahead of Battistini and Winslow for the International Class, while Michele Bumgarner led over JP Tuason in the Promotions Class.
Round two saw a fairly clean start except for Satrio Hermanto of R&W Team Indonesia and once again Bumgarner. Inheriting the pole position from his round one victory Tyson Sy simply blasted off from the starting line and never looked behind as O'Hara darted to second going into turn one. James Winslow found himself overshooting the first turn and had to work his way back up the order. It was not long after the relentless O'Hara would find himself in the gravel pits in turn five due to a minor miscalculation. This gave second to Battistini who was at that time leading a four car train with Winslow, who had worked back up the ladder, Moreno Soeprapto and Dado Peña. Soeprapto would later be demoted to 7th after being penalized for 30 seconds due to a jump start.
After a suffering from yet another stall, Bumgarner finds herself starting from the pit once more but was not as fortunate as in the first round. Tuason had managed to build a far enough lead for her to catch with Dela Merced tailing close to Tuason. Bumgarner would find herself in yet another mishap as she crashes on the final lap but still gets classified for third in class.
The final order for the second round were once again, Sy, Battistini and Winslow for the International Class. While Tuason takes the Promotions Class with Dela Merced in second, while Bumgarner rounded up in third.
The third round proved to be more exciting. It was however once again Sy taking the lead at the start for a lights to flag win once again. Following in second was Battistini, with Winslow and Jackson hustling for third right behind. But it was the determined O'Hara who relentlessly climbed up from the back of the grid that was the man to watch.
Midway through the race, Jackson made a move to overtake Winslow as O'Hara and Peña grabbed the opportunity to advance as well as the unfortunate Winslow slid three positions down to 6th. Not long after, it was R&W Team Indonesia Joson F3 driver Satrio Hermanto finally with all the gremlins out of his car taking over the Promotions Class lead as he overtook JP Tuason at the main straight.
In a daring attempt to take second place, Jackson dived into the inside of Battistini on the first corner but unfortunately came into contact with the latter. Battistini dropped down the order while Jackson rejoined right away with O'Hara slipping through to second. After two laps, Dado Peña closed in enough on Jackson to snatch third.
A disappointed Bumgarner decided to just park her car as she spun out towards the end of the race.
The final order for the third round was, Sy, O'Hara and Peña for the International Class. While Satrio Hermanto takes the Promotions Class with Tuason in second, while Dela Merced finished third.