Double Master Class wins for PS Racing
PS Racing enjoyed a successful weekend in Asia Formula Renault (AFR)’s Pan Delta Race Festival, which held rounds 1&2 of the series along with numerous other touring car and superbike events. With ideal weather conditions and a massive crowd turnout, the AFR events were one of the highlights of the weekend, broadcast live around China and other countries.
Qualifying was held Saturday morning, with the new format for 2014 whereby the grid order for Saturday’s Race 1 is determined by the fastest qualifying time for each driver, and the grid for Sunday’s race 2 determined by the second fastest qualifying time. In Qualifying, PS Racing’s Maxx Ebenal (pictured) of Canada took second fastest in the International Class with a fast 38.2, and Abelardo Cuellar of Mexico a quick 38.7. American Pete Olson took a fastest 39.1 despite a leaking tire, with China’s Neric Wei qualifying just a tenth behind Olson. However, PSR’s Guillaume Cunnington of France showed his newfound speed with a 38.6, his fastest lap ever and almost an entire second in front of the next driver in the Master’s Class. PSR’s newcomer Italian Andre Reggiani, reigning Scirocco R Cup China Champion, and French driver Sebastien Meilleux, in his first AFR race, rounded out the Master’s class qualifying for PSR.
In Race 1, all the PSR drivers got off to good starts, with Ebenal keeping up a consistently quick pace with the frontrunners the entire time to take third on the International podium. For Cuellar and Olson, drama struck as Cuellar had contact with another driver during the race start, breaking his front wing and losing all front downforce for the race. Cuellar was still able to finish fourth in the Masters Class, while Olson limped across the finish line after fighting his way up during the race, only to have a jammed gearbox in the last lap which enabled a half dozen drivers to pass him before the checkered. However, an ecstatic Cunnington took an outstanding victory in the Master’s Class for his first career win, with Reggiani second on the Master’s podium.
In Race 2, Ebenal once again got a good start and stayed with the frontrunners to take third in the International Class. Olson dropped back on the start but moved quickly up through the pack, including a thrilling battle with Cuellar as the teammates swapped positions multiple times. Cuellar put up an incredible fight despite wishbone damage after contact with another driver on the first lap, but due to the damage dropped back somewhat during the race to finish fifth in the International Class with Olson fourth. In the Masters Class, Cunnington took another victory and is now leading the Masters Class Championship standings by a wide margin, while Mailleux moved up several positions to finish fourth in the Masters.
The next race weekend will be held at the Sepang Formula One Circuit on May 9-11, a triple-header weekend featuring Rounds 3, 4 & 5.