HitechGP’s Rinus van Kalmthout extended his FIA Asian F3 Winter Series points lead with two more wins in Round 2 at Sepang International Circuit.
Rinus Van Kalmthout started from where he left off in the last round with pole for Race 1 in Round 2 at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit to start the weekend as the Dutchman led the way in the race from Absolute Racing’s Ye Yifei.
As Rinus van Kalmthout led Yifei, HitechGP’s Alessandro Ghiretti slotted in third from Super License’ Tomoki Takahashi with the Japanese climbing up from 11th to fourth in the opening lap after a no-start from HitechGP’s Dan Ticktum.
The Red Bull junior’s bad run continued with car problems limiting his racing while Pinnacle Motorsport’s Amaury Cordeel also stopped at the track during formation lap. It was well settled in the Top 3 as Rinus van Kalmthout won from lights-to-flag.
Ye Yifei settled for second with Alessandro Ghiretti in third but Tomoki Takahashi defending hard from Pinnacle Motorsport’s Akash Nandy in the closing stages. They were joined in by Absolute Racing’s Eshan Pieris and Pinnacle Motorsport’s David Schumacher.
But Tomoki Takashi managed to keep fourth from Akash Nandy, Eshan Pieris and David Schumacher with HitechGP’s Pavan Ravishankar in a distant eighth, followed by BlackArts Racing’s Vivien Keszthelyi and B-Max Racing’s Tairoku Yamaguchi, Dragon and Motoyoshi Yoshida.
Asian F3 debutant and HitechGP’s Max Fewtrell didn’t have the best of starts as the Renault junior was forced to retire while fighting in the midfield. The Race 2 on Sunday saw Rinus van Kalmthout start well from pole ahead of Ye Yifei and Alessandro Ghiretti.
Japanese racer Tomoki Takashi kept fourth from Pavan Ravishankar as Dan Ticktum made his way up from 13th to sixth with Fewtrell moving to eighth from 14th. At the same time, Cordeel retired after a tangle with Yamaguchi in the final corner.
While the Top 4 stayed put, Dan Ticktum cleared Pavan Ravishankar for fifth with Fewtrell also making it stick, followed by David Schumacher. The last portion of the race settled with Rinusvan Kalmthout making it two in two from Ye Yifei and Alessandro Ghiretti.
Tomoki Takashi in fourth made it the same Top 4 from Race 1 with Dan Ticktum and Fewtrell fighting back to fifth and sixth respectively after the disaster on Saturday. David Schumacher finished seventh with Ravishankar keeping Nandy at bay.
Sri Lankan Pieris lost the most to round out the Top 10 with Keszthelyi in 11th from Dragon and Motoyoshi Yoshida. For the first time, the lead changed at the start of Race 3 as pole-sitter Rinus van Kalmthout lost out to Yifei between Turn 1 and Turn 2.
The Chinese driver led the Dutchman with Alessandro Ghiretti in third as Fewtrell moved to fourth from eighth when David Schumacher spun at Turn 1 to retire which called out the safety car. Yifei maintained his lead on re-start from Rinus van Kalmthout.
Dan Ticktum was only eighth before the safety car period but on re-start, the British racer cleared Pieris and Tomoki Takahashi to move to sixth. He also made the move stick on Nandy to fifth in his chase of Fewtrell.
It was a straight finish in the end with Ye Yifei winning from Rinuvan Kalmthout and Alessandro Ghiretti with Fewtrell taking fourth. Dan Ticktum had fifth place finish in his bag but a 10-second time penalty for overtaking under the safety car dropped him to ninth.
This helped Nandy to be fifth from Pieris, Tomoki Takahashi and Pavan Ravishankar ahead of Dan Ticktum as Keszthelyi rounded the Top 10 from Cordeel, Dragon, Yamaguchi and Motoyoshi Yoshida. The Asian F3 drivers’ standings is headed by Rinus van Kalmthout (133) after Round 2 from Ye Yifei (104).
[Read: Round 1 recap]