Kart Star Askew Scores Two Podiums in Second Ever Single-Seater Outing
Sensational second place in qualifying leads to second and third place Formula Masters China Series finishes in Shanghai
Askew scores second and third place finishes at Formula Masters China Series in Shanghai (Photo: Formula Masters China Series)
2015 European BNL Senior Max champion Oliver Askew made his mark in open-wheel racing at the Formula Masters China Series finale in Shanghai last weekend (16-18 October), demonstrating high levels of skill and maturity en route to securing a double podium finish.
The 18-year-old American had also turned heads on his debut with Absolute Racing during last month’s round at Zhuhai International Circuit where, despite having had no prior testing, he quickly found his feet by qualifying in the top ten and achieving a solid seventh place finish in race three.
Askew made his presence felt further during Shanghai’s first qualifying session by clocking the second fastest time behind experienced team-mate Alessio Picariello, before providing further evidence of his inherent pace by qualifying fourth in the second shootout.
The Tequesta, FL, resident held his nerve at the beginning of race one to skilfully fend off newly-crowned champion Martin Rump before the more experienced driver managed to edge ahead. A dramatic Safety Car period on lap two then set Askew up for an epic duel with fourth-placed Nick Rowe, and after a period of close dicing Askew’s superior pace allowed him to pull out a four-second advantage and take third at the chequered flag.
Things got even better for the teenager in race two when he made a storming getaway from second on the grid after a Safety Car-supervised start, using that springboard to set off in pursuit of pole-sitter Picariello. While third-placed rival Rowe attempted to close the gap to the #5 Absolute Racing machine, Askew once again proved to be too quick for the Australian and disappeared into the distance, building up a gap of nearly three seconds by the time he crossed the finishing line in second.
The third race proved to be another chaotic and competitive affair, but Askew made a strong start from fourth on the grid and weathered a long Safety Car period along with challenges from fast opponents to finish fifth.
“None of this would have come together if it weren’t for both Ingo Matter from Absolute Racing and Mike Perry from RDM; I’m really grateful to them for the opportunity,” emphasised Askew. “I’d also like to thank the Formula Masters China Series for providing me with the perfect platform for my single-seater racing debut. I enjoyed working with their staff and competing against the other drivers there.
“This was Absolute Racing’s fourth ever race in the series and they are already doing an outstanding job. The team’s mechanics and engineers come from all over the world and have a heap of experience between them. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to learn as much as I did in the amount of time that I had.”
Askew can add his stunning progress in Asia to the string of successes he has enjoyed both at home and elsewhere, including four elite US karting titles in three years and the 2015 European BNL Senior Max crown.
Not only that, but the talented youngster looks set to achieve even more impressive results this year, as he currently leads the MAXSpeed Entertainment US Open karting championship whilst also remaining firmly in the hunt for the highly competitive SKUSA Pro Tour title.
Askew heads back home for the US Open championship finale at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas next week (27-31 October), where he will be looking to seize his fifth domestic karting title.
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