Sixteen-year-old Conrad Clark of Taupō has completed the final round of the 2019 Chinese Formula 4 Championship. It was no ordinary weekend for Clark however, with BlackArts Racing (BAR) organising a Formula 3 test for the teenager.
Clark’s test in the faster Formula 3 car was hailed as a success, as he set competitive times during the official free practice session. Fellow Kiwi Brendon Leitch who competes in the Asian F3 series with BAR was on hand to assist Clark during the test.
Whilst the Elite MotorSport Academy of New Zealand graduate wrapped up the championship at the previous round, there was still unfinished business to take care of as he assisted his BlackArts Racing team to the teams championship.
Held again at Shanghai International Circuit, sunny conditions without the usual humidity greeted the drivers for Friday morning’s qualifying session. Clark planned to set a fast lap early hoping it wouldn’t be bettered and save tyres for the races. However, Clark was forced to set another lap later in the session before claiming pole.
During the opening two races of the weekend, engine issues became apparent for Clark, leaving him struggling to match the straight-line speed of his competitors and leaving him to settle for second place in both races.
Despite confirming the lack of engine speed with the car’s onboard data logging system, they were unable to find any significant engine issues.
Saturday afternoon’s final race of the season was a nail biter for Clark. After starting seventh due to the reverse grid, he made his way into fourth by the first turn. Meanwhile, his rival was held up in traffic behind him. This left Clark to focus on hunting the lead. During the second lap, Clark was second and just two laps later his rival was behind him in third and closing rapidly. The fight for second came down to a drag race to the flag. Clark held onto the position by just one-tenth-of-a-second!
“It’s been a roller-coaster season, that’s for sure!” said Clark.
“A driver always wants to win but I never really expected to have as much success as we did this season.
“It all boils down to the team, BlackArts Racing, they’ve been sensational all year. They’ve got a wicked car and are hugely supportive of young drivers which is awesome.
“We didn’t know if we were going to make it this weekend, but thanks to Oloi Inc. we’ve been able to round out the season which was nice.”
Clark’s Chinese campaign is proudly supported by Oloi Inc, Hertz Car Rentals Taupo, Advance Gaming, Lakeland Glass and Windscreens, Performance Mechanical Engineering, Lakeside Wholesale Vehicles, Grass Growers Ltd Site Development and Earthmoving as well as other private individual supporters.