A disappointing weekend was had by the British drivers in action, with weather affecting the runs of two Brits in action. Sepang in Malaysia was the venue for the majority of the British drivers performing and it was a trying weekend for all…
Asian Formula 3 Winter Series
Last week we spoke about how Dan Ticktum had endured a trying weekend in the opening three races of this series. Well, the second round of races proved even more difficult for the Red Bull Junior who, we are sure, is not enjoying his quest for Super Licence points on the other side of the globe.
Having qualified 3rd for race 1, Ticktum’s Hitech GP car broke down during qualifying for race 3. This led to him not starting the first race which (bear with us) meant he started race 2 in 13th on the grid due to not setting a lap time.
His race two drive was reasonable. He climbed from 13th to 6th on the opening lap; however, he was only able to pass one more car for a 5th position. Race 3 was blighted by a ten second penalty for overtaking at the start of the safety car period. A bizarre, dare one say ‘schoolboy’, error by Ticktum. More oddness was to follow on the final lap though, with Ticktum slowing dramatically – for no known reason. This meant a 6th place finish (with penalty applied) became a 9th.
His final lap of 2m10s was six seconds slower than his next slowest lap ALL WEEKEND. It later transpired that his time through sectors 2 and 3 was not recorded on this lap. What happened? Only team telemetry and the driver would know and we have reached out for comment.
It now means that Ticktum has a mountain to climb over the final race weekend, back at Sepang, in February. He cannot win the title and needs a big points haul to finish in the top three and claim the five Super Licence points he needs to be F1-eligible. On this showing, it looks unlikely and puts pressure on the youngster when he competes in Super Formula later on this year. And pressure appears to be something he does not respond well to.
Max Fewtrell meanwhile fared slightly better, despite a DNF in the first race. He finished race two in 6th and the final race of the weekend in 4th.
On the same bill as the Formula 3 were the opening two rounds of the inaugural TCR Malaysia series, featuring the globetrotting Rob Huff. It really was a battle between the former WTCC champion and perennial TCR racer Luca Engstler all weekend. Huff took pole for race one but slipped to second in the race, while the second race was delayed due to one of those biblical storms you used to see occasionally on Malaysian Grand Prix weekends. Huff eventually finished in fifth once this race got underway, his VW struggling for grip throughout.
Toyota Racing Series
The weather also played havoc with the New Zealand-based TRS this weekend, with the two Sunday rounds at Teretonga postponed due to strong winds and rain. Raoul Hyman will have a chance to catch up with these races over the coming weeks and will be hopeful of improving on his 11th place finish in the round they did run on Saturday.
It was sad to find out that Ben Hingeley has decided to quit motor racing this week. Hingeley, who won a round of the Asian Formula 3 series in 2018, also competed in the F3 Euroseries with little success.
We are also worried to hear that Stuart Leonard will not be racing much in 2019. Following his Blancpain GT Sprint title in 2017 and the 2018 Bathurst 12H victory last February, Leonard endured a difficult GT campaign in the WRT Audis. He is also part of the Electric GT Drivers’ Club, but this series seems to be silent for now. We hope to see Stuart in action in 2019 as we know he has a lot to offer.
Brit Pack Driver of the Weekend Nominations
Rob Huff – a pole, a second and a fifth in the opening weekend of TCR Malaysia.
Max Fewtrell – 4th and 6th-placed finished in the Asian Formula 3 Winter Series.
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