Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted July 18, 2006 10:00
Ali Jackson dominates wet race in Zhuhai
After being heralded as the youngest driver to win an AF3 Race in the earlier leg of the series, Irish driver Ali Jackson of Aran Racing once again showed his prowess in Zhuhai winning two out of three rounds on the wet Zhuhai International Circuit. In the Promotions Class, it was Indonesian driver Satrio Hermanto of R&W Joson F3 who swept all three rounds.
In qualifying, Team Goddard's Dado Peña who qualified on pole position, with JA Motorsports' James Winslow just a hairline shy on the second grid spot. On second row were teammates Ali Jackson and Moreno Soeprapto of Aran Racing. For the promotions class, R&W Joson F3's Satrio Hermanto led the field ahead of Cheong Lou Meng of Team Goddard and Gaby Dela Merced of Speedtech Asia.
Rain fell on the track for the seventh round of the Asian Formula 3 Championship. And as the lights went out, it was Dado Peña leading in the the first corner before he was pushed into gravel pits by Roland Hermoso of Speedtech Asia. Unfortunately for Bagoes Hermanto, who had nowhere to go, he also ended up in the gravel bringing out the safety car.
At the restart, Winslow quickly grabbed the lead closely followed by Jackson, while Soeprapto and Battistini duelled behind them. It was only midway through the race when Jackson found a way through Winslow, who didn't give up so easily and fought back.
Meanwhile, in the battle for third, it was still a tough call up to the last lap as Soeprapto and Battistini were still locked neck and neck with just a couple of inches separating the two. Speedtech Asia's Tyson Sy would find himself cruising through with a fifth place finish as Kinetic Racing's Pepon Marave spun out into the gravel pits on the last turn on lap 6.
In the Promotions Class, Satrio Hermanto drove an uninterrupted race as he paced away with the lead over Cheong Lou Meng and Dela Merced. Dela Merced on the other hand, was not too fortunate as she found herself in the gravel on the 8th lap just inches away from hitting Marave's car.
At the checkered flag, it was Jackson, Winslow and Soeprapto for the International Class. As Satrio Hermanto took Promotions Class honors over Cheong Lou Meng.
Round eight saw Moreno Soeprapto Making a fantastic start blasting off the start to take the lead into the first corner. However a relentless James Winslow hounded the Indonesian until he eventually took over the lead as Jackson, Sy, and Battistini followed behind. A most unfortunate weekend for Marave as he once again finds himself in the gravel pit as he was bumped from behind by Peña on turn 5.
Jackson would manage to get ahead of Soeprato as the latter is chased hard by Sy who manages to close in and draw alongside the Indonesian. However underbraking into the first corner caused Sy to roll into the gravel, ending his race. This opened the door for Battistini to challenge Soeprapto for third, however Soeprapto was determined to defend his podium spot and never looked back.
A jump start by Macanese driver Cheong Lou Meng made life much easier for Satrio Hermanto as he coasted through the Promotions Class with little pressure as Gaby Dela Merced followed behind. The stop-and-go penalty gave a headstart long enough for the two to build a considerable lead making it impossible for the Macanese to catch up.
The final order for the eight round, Winslow, Jackson and Soeprapto for the International Class. While Satrio Hermanto takes the Promotions Class with Dela Merced in second, as Cheong Lou Meng rounded up in third.
The ninth round gave a great show for the crowd. It was Ali Jackson grabbing the lead at the start with Winslow following closely behind. Soeprapto managed to lead the rest of the pack from third followed by Bagoes Hermanto, Battistini and Sy. Hermanto drove a brave race before eventually allowing the duelling Sy and Battistini to slip by.
Clawing his way up the order from dead last was Peña who made his way past Marave, Hermanto and Battistini to challenge Sy. It was a very intense 5-lap battle between Sy and Peña towards the checkered flag. Lone casualty for the race was Roland Hermoso, who spun out on the eight lap.
As the race progressed, Jackson further extended his lead over Winslow ensuring himself of a victory. Soeprapto coasted undisturbed in third as a battle between Sy and Peña ensued behind him.
It was again Satrio Hermanto taking the lead in the Promotions Class, building himself more than a second gap each lap over closest competitor Cheng Lou Meng who was in a distant second as Dela Merced drove a far third.
The final order for the ninth round was, Jackson, Winslow and Soeprapto for the International Class. While Satrio Hermanto takes the Promotions Class with Cheng Lou Meng in second, as Dela Merced finished third.