14 Sep Cao takes British F3 title!
Fortec British F3 driver Hong Wei ‘Martin’ Cao has been crowned 2014 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series Champion, after a close battle with team-mate Matt Rao at Donington Park last weekend. The ** year old Chinese racer took the title after finishing fifth at the chequered flag in race three, playing it safe to cruise to victory just two points ahead of nearest rival and team-mate Rao.
Cao and Rao entered the weekend as championship rivals, with Cao going into race one just 15 points ahead.
Qualifying saw Rao set the fastest time to head Cao by two tenths. Rao’s fastest time came in the final seconds of the 40-minute session and he took race three pole. Race one pole, determined by a driver’s second fastest qualifying time, went to Cao.
All eyes were on the Fortec duo for the first race of the weekend and as the lights went out Cao was able to gain an unexpected advantage as Rao stalled on the start-line. Cao continued on from his good start and led the way from pole to the chequered flag with ease. Meanwhile Rao was fighting back and putting in some impressive overtaking maneuvers, climbing up the order to finish third.
The title fight was not over yet, race two saw Rao fight back to take the win and keep his title hopes alive.
Rao took the lead from reverse-grid pole-sitter Camren Kaminsky on the first lap and disappeared off into the distance with a succession of fastest laps. Cao remained content and unthreatened in second position, secure in the knowledge of a 20-point lead heading into Sunday afternoon’s final race of the season where a total of 26 points were available. Both maintained their positions up until the chequered flag.
The final race saw another dominant win for Rao, but it was Cao who snatched the title after a fifth place finish saw him win the championship by two points.
Rao made a perfect getaway to take the chequered flag by over thirteen seconds. Cao meanwhile opted to start from the pit-lane to avoid any hint of trouble and cruised to collect the championship win.
Commenting on the team’s win, Dan Mitchell said:
“It was really good going into the weekend knowing the championship was mathematically won. Qualifying was intense with Matt and Martin both on pole for race 1 and race 3. After the stall in Race 1 Matt left a mountain to climb.
Winning the championship was great a first BF3 title for Fortec! To finish 1-2 with just 2 point separating them proved what a closely fought battle this year was.”