Absolute Racing drivers Daniel Cao Zhuo and Eshan Pieris put on another strong performance in the second event of 2019 F3 Asian Championship Certified by FIA at the 4.554km FIA Grade 1 Hermann Tilke designed Chang International Circuit in Buriram (Thailand), including a double podium finish.
On Saturday morning qualifying sessions, the Absolute Racing duo locked out the second row for race one and three. Cao qualified in third for race one and in fourth for race three, while teammate Pieris was the fourth fastest in qualifying one and the third quickest in qualifying two.
In the race one, the 17-year-old driver from China made a poor start from third on the grid, dropping him down the order to seventh behind teammate Pieris. Cao was able to recover to climb back through the field to seal third place halfway through the race and defend it until the checkered flag.
After a clean race start, Pieris had a solid race finishing fourth. The Sri Lankan driver couldn’t keep his teammate behind and had to work on keeping the fifth-place car at bay instead.
The second and third races took place on Sunday. For the morning race, Pieris began from third on the grid with Cao lining-up in fourth. They ran in these positions until lap 6, when Cao finally find his way past Pieris and into podium contention.
Cao lost out at the start of the last race of the weekend, due to a clutch problem, dropping down the order to 10th. The Chinese driver came back through the field until sixth, and then he suffered an engine problem, which was losing up 15km/h on the straights, ending up crossing the finish line in ninth.
Pieris lost one position early in the race, and stayed in fourth for the rest of the race.
After two rounds and six races, the Absolute Racing pair of Cao and Pieris lie third and fourth respectively, one point apart. Absolute Racing sits second in the Teams’ standings.
The championship will now head to Suzuka International Circuit for the first of the two Japanese consecutive triple-header races on June 22 and 23.
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “Obviously it is disappointing not to score a podium in Sunday’s race three, because this was clearly possible, but overall we are quite happy with what our drivers did this weekend. Daniel Cao fought back from early setback to claim final podium place in race one, and achieved another convincing podium result in race two. Eshan missed out on the podium, but he is improving every weekend and showing encouraging signs for the future. We now turn our attention to Japan rounds. We need to continue improving and getting maximum performance from what is a strong package.”
#5 Daniel Cao Zhuo: “I think I’ve improved a little bit since Round 1 in Sepang. In the first race, I had a little bit of a problem with my clutch at the start, so in the first sector of the first lap I couldn’t get a good position. But finally, I overtook some cars and finished third. In race two I managed to finish third cause my teammate did a mistake in Turn 2, and I just did what I had to do. Before he was quite fast. Race three didn’t go according to the plan as I had an engine problem but we have more races next month. We will keep working to improve our overall race performance.”
#15 Eshan Pieris: “It was not an easy race weekend but as a Team we did a good job here in Thailand. Of course I’d have liked to be in the podium this weekend but I not too disappointed with a triple fourth. We still need a bit more pace to fight for wins but we are in a good position and collecting solid points each race. I want to thank the team for always trying very hard every race to improve. We always work together to fix everything and this is something that doesn’t always come easy. I’m very excited for the next round in Suzuka. I’m sure we will come back stronger.”