Content originally posted on blackartsracing.com.
The original article can be found here.
Round Three of the highly-competitive Asian F3 Championship was held this past weekend at the famous Suzuka International F1 Circuit. With the weekend’s races featuring a full 17 car grid, BlackArts Racing featured three entries: Brendon Leitch in the Oloi Powered by BAR F3 car, Thomas Luedi, and Miki Koyama who is currently 6th in the all-female W Series.
Thursday featured two Paid Practice sessions of one hour each, with Friday having one Official Practice, and Saturday morning the two back to back Qualifying sessions. Despite the good weather for the weekend, most drivers were new to the highly challenging, 5.8km, 18 turn circuit and red flags were par for the course all the way through qualifying, with cars reaching over 150mph heading into Turn One.
Saturday afternoon’s Race One [7th race of the 2019 Asian F3 Championship] began with a recently dried track after brief showers. After two cars collided on the grid at the race start, a safety car was deployed for more than half the race. When resumed, Brendon Leitch in the Oloi Powered by BAR car stormed up the field six positions in the brief eight lap race to finish 5th, and took the third fastest lap of the race while on old tires. BAR’s Thomas Luedi took a strong lead in the Masters Class to finish with a 17 second gap to the Masters P2 in the shortened 8 lap race, with Miki Koyama of W Series fame finishing in 12th
Sunday morning’s Race Two got off to a clean start, but despite Brendon Leitch in the Oloi Powered by BAR car immediately moving up to P4, misfortune struck when he went off track when attempting to pass for 3rd, sustaining damage and causing him to DNF. Meanwhile, however, Miki Koyama charged up from 11th to finish in the points in 7th, while Thomas Luedi dominated the Masters Class to take his second win of the weekend.
After the ups and downs of the weekend, Sunday afternoon’s Race Three brought an amazing finish for BlackArts Racing with Leitch in the Oloi Powered by BAR taking 2nd overall, Luedi winning the Masters again for a hat trick weekend, and W Series driver Miki Koyama charging up to finish 7th of 17 in a fantastic drive.
In fact, Sunday’s final race of the weekend, Race 9 of the 2019 Championship, was undoubtedly the most drama-filled, exciting race ever in Asian F3. Leitch started 10th and made quick progress over the 30 minute race, charging from 10th to 5th by the end of the first lap; meanwhile during the initial lap, Ukyo Sasahara wound up hitting Petr Ptecek off the track which caused Ptecek to DNF, with Sasahara later given a drive-through penalty to drop back to eventually finish the race in 9th. Later, Leitch passed Irish driver Jordan Dempsey for fourth, and then was hit by Kiyoto Fujinami at very high speed while going into T1, while passing Fujinami for third. Luckily there was no serious damage and after moving into 3rd , Leitch shortly thereafter moved up to 2nd with Sasahara having to take his drive through penalty. Leitch chased down Doohan in the closing laps to finish 2nd on the podium in the Oloi Powered by BAR F3 car, with Thomas Luedi taking 3 for 3 Masters Class wins for the weekend.
Leitch: “An interesting weekend of highs and lows! But in the end we were fast which is what matters! I hope at the next race I can be more competitive in qualifying and the race will be good! Really nice to finish on the podium again and at such an iconic track! The car was prepared beautifully and I look forward to the next race.”