At Shanghai International Circuit, Asia Racing Team (ART) Motorsports ended the Formula Asia 2.0 series on a high, with Rio Haryanto claiming the Asia Drivers Championship win and Mathias Beche showing that ART cars were the fastest during the weekend.
For the last four races of the championship, drivers took to the 4.6km shortened version of the Shanghai International Circuit. The very cold weather conditions were vastly different from anything the teams had seen in Malaysia or Thailand.
Saturday got underway with promising results for ART boys. In qualifying, Beche stunned his rivals with a Pole-Position and Haryanto placed his Kiky sponsored car 3rd on the starting grid. Kuroda qualified in 5th place. Alas Pole-sitter and championship title contender Beche was left to stew after being hit from behind in the first corner. Beche 2008 title hopes ruined when he was forced to retire due to the accident damages. Just arrived from Rotax Finals in Italy and after two chilling days to get over his jet lag, Haryanto did a perfect race after a good start, overtaking the series champion on fifth lap and winning with ease. Japan’s Kuroda also put on a good performance to finish 4th.
Haryanto took his third win in Asian Drivers class, and Kuroda finished in 3rd.
Race 2 saw Haryanto losing his first position in the first lap. Without pace to match the leader the youngest driver of the series kept safe his 2nd position until the end. After an unlucky weekend start, Beche showed his front-runner pace and came all the way from the back of the grid to the 3rd place. Kuroda, who crossed the line in 5th overall, had a dreadful start but showed his skills with two astonishing overtaking manoeuvres on Sunday morning race.
In the Asia Drivers Championship, ART drivers repeated Race 1 results. Haryanto took another win and Yoshitaka Kuroda was 3rd.
In Race 3 Pole-sitter Beche once again had a bad start, relegating him down to 3rd but the Swiss Frenchman recovered quickly. Unfortunately Beche had no time to get back his 1st position. Haryanto also proved his determination and ability to score points, finishing in 4th, two places ahead of his teammate Kuroda.
Haryanto and Kuroda visited the podium to receive 2nd and 3rd positions trophies of Asia Drivers Championship.
In Race 4 Beche had the fourth horrific start of the weekend, losing one place before the first corner again. The 22 years old ART returnee did a huge effort to recover the lost time, getting back his 2nd position and crossing the finish line attacking the winner. Once again Haryanto showed his great potential. The Indonesian “next big thing” had to finish ahead of Yuki Iwasaki to clinch the Asian drivers title and the 3rd position overall. Starting one position behind his rival, Rio pressured him for three laps before overtaking him on lap six at the straight to claim 3rd in the race. Kuroda had misfortune in a three way battle, and finished 7th.
In the Asian’s trophy Haryanto continued his dominance and sealed another victory and the championship. Kuroda rounds off the Asian category in 3rd.