Absolute Racing’s Jamie Chadwick took her maiden F3 Asian Championship win during an action-packed last meeting of the 2019/2020 season at the Buriram International Circuit in Thailand (February 22/23). Thomas Smith closed the season with his season-best result.
Absolute Racing pair firmly set its sights on a strong end to the season, and Qualifying sessions delivered a mixed bag of results for the duo. Qualifying one saw Chadwick placing the #15 Absolute Racing Tatuus F3 T-318 Alfa Romeo in third for the first race of the weekend. On a very close second session with four drivers in less than 0.1 second, Chadwick posted the second-fastest time just 0.025 seconds shy from the pole position. Tommy Smith struggled with his pace, qualifying in P10 for Race 13 and P11 for Race 15.
The first race of the weekend delivered plenty of drama with Chadwick crossing the finish line in third. Having fallen down the order in the opening stages, Chadwick pulled out a furious fightback from fifth to finish the Race 13 in third right behind the second-place finisher. Hours after the race, the British driver was promoted to second-place following a five-second time penalty handed to the driver who crossed the finish line right in front of her.
Teammate Smith had a slow start to the weekend’s opening race. A commendable fight-back saw him eventually cross the line in P6, having made up an impressive four places in the second half of the 30-minute race.
The starting order for Race 14 was determined by the fastest laps in Race 13, earning Chadwick a place on Row 2. A frenetic Sunday morning race saw Chadwick taking her first win in the series. Even she dropped two positions over the 25-minute race, she managed the race perfectly due to the circumstances, avoiding to go into a battle with the two cars in front who eventually would be penalized at the end of the race. She benefitted from the second consecutive heartbreak puncture from the leading car to take a much-deserved race win.
Smith, who started from P11 fitted with Q1 set of tires, had his tenacity repaid with a P8 finish.
Another action-packed race brought the weekend’s event to a close with a classic single-seater racing crowd-pleaser, with Smith producing a great drive ending the day with a top-five finish and his best-ever F3 Asian Championship weekend.
Starting from second on the grid, Chadwick had a relatively uneventful last race, having to be content with a third-place finish at the flag, but taking the points for the second position.
The weekend signed-off a convincing season for the Absolute Racing, who finished third in the Teams’ standings. Chadwick ended her maiden season with the squad in fourth place overall, with one race win and four podiums to her name. Devlin DeFrancesco, who decided to interrupt his campaign two events before the end, finished in seventh place as Smith finished a credible 10th.
Ingo Matter (Team Director): “We were determined to finish the season on a high. I’m happy for Jamie and for the team to finish that way. It was a much tougher weekend for Tommy, but he also achieved his best season result. We will enjoy this evening – but then get our heads down, push even harder and start preparing for the next challenge.”
Jamie Chadwick (Q1: P3 / Q2: P2 / Rnd 13: P3 / Rnd 14: P1 / Rnd 15: P2): “It’s been a good end to the year. Starting third for the first race, ideally, I wanted to have a better first few laps but struggled a fair bit for pace. I think in the midst of the race in the early laps we didn’t quite have the edge over the others but came on really strong at the end so we were able to close up to Nikita and the other guys in the second half of the race. The second race was busy for me. We had a good pace all the way through. I battled with Pietro for most of the race. I knew Belov had a new tire on so it was hard to keep him behind. Fortunately, he had a 10-second penalty, so that gave us a position, and then obviously Jack’s issue gave us another one. Actually, it was a bit of a quiet race three for once in the championship. I got a good start and slotted into P3. Jack got a better run than me into Turn 4 and managed to get past. We lacked a little bit of pace at the beginning of the race but managed to find our way and slot into third for the majority of the race. It’s been a good end to the year.”
Tommy Smith (Q1: P10 / Q2: P11 / Rnd 13: P6 / Rnd 14: P8 / Rnd 15: P6): “The weekend was a pretty good finish to the championship. We had a not so good Qualifying and saved tires for Q2 to use for the races later on. In the first race, I came from 10th to 6th in a very action-packed race. In the second race, we used my tires from Q1 which were a bit older than everyone else’s so it was a tough race from me. Finished in 9th with a 10-second time penalty for track limits. In race three, we ran the new tires we saved from Q2 which we were able to finish in 6th on track. Unfortunately, I destroyed my front tires so I missed an opportunity for an even better result but still my best finish to date. The season was overall a big learning experience, which was our goal when we decided to enter the championship. We definitely improved over the course of the season, but unfortunately, we didn’t get consistent results. Thank you to everyone at Absolute Racing for welcoming me into the team. It was a pleasure to race with such a professionally run team.”