Asia Racing Team (ART) Motorsports brought its 2008 Asian season to a finish with the final two rounds of Asian Formula Renault Challenge at Zhuhai International Circuit this weekend. For the Macanese Zhuhai-based team there were mixed emotions following a solid performance of Rio Haryanto in Qualifying on Saturday and the Asian Drivers Cup win in Race 2.
A thrilling Qualifying session saw Formula Asia 2.0 Asia Drivers Champion putting in another fantastic performance, setting himself up for a second row start in the Race 1 by setting the 3rd quickest lap. A slow start for Rio cost him one place that he would get back after two laps. But the worst was yet to come. When Rio was pressuring the 2nd place car, and showing that he had pace to overtake him, the young Indonesian spun on the seventh lap. Fortunately he managed to get the red and yellow car back to the track and finished 7th.
In Race 2 a storming drive by Rio from 7th on the grid was finally rewarded with 4th place at the flag, as he clawed his way through the pack. The 15 years old Indonesian talent tried several times to make a move on 3rd place Geoffrey Kwong but he was not successful in attaining this desire. His 28 points in the weekend moved him up to 6th place overall in the points standings and 3rd in the Asian category Drivers classification without participating in two of the seven championship rounds.
Reflecting on his last weekend of the season 2008, Haryanto said, “On Saturday’s race I suddenly lost control of the car and it yawed and spun, and I lost a good opportunity to finish 2nd or 3rd. Today I was able to get a good start and felt comfortable at the beginning. I knew that I had a good car underneath me and I knew that I would be able to challenge the top three cars at some point. Although Geoffrey was pulling away in the straight lines, I was a bit quicker than him in the rest of the circuit, but couldn’t overtake him. The weekend results were not what I was expecting but I know I am much quicker now than I was when the season started. Thank you to all team members that contributed to a great season”.
Asia Racing Team 2009 Formula Renault 2.0 pre-season testing gets underway in Zhuhai International Circuit from now on.