After months of inactivity, the four-wheeled racing season finally resumes and the 2021 Malaysia Championship Season (MCS) opens up with a double header. Since we are already in November, the calendar is being compressed as much as possible where two rounds are held in each outing, featuring four races in two days. This is also one of the unique race “weekends” where it is being held entirely on weekdays!
The effect of the pandemic can still be felt where there were 20 cars present, compared to 50+ cars in the 2019 season. Some usual faces like Proton R3, Hi REV Dream Chaser and Kegani Racing were absent from this double header, but we are glad that teams like R Engineering, 23 Motors, and Tedco Racing were able to make it.
Laying Down the Rubber on Free Practice
The race weekday started off on Wednesday with Free Practice and Qualifying. It was a bit of a lonely outing for Alif Hamdan in the Touring Production as he was the only entrant in the class. But he did remind us what the Honda Civic FC can do as he set a 2:27.882 during the session.
It was a four-way battle in the Stock Production 1 category where everyone fielded the Honda Civic FD2R. In this session, it was the duo of Abdul Kaathir-Baron Sim who posted the fastest time of 2:30.708.
Like the SP1, there were also four cars competing in the Malaysia Touring Car category. Here, Leona Chin took the spotlight where her 2:42.839 had put her on top of her class’ timing sheets.
Finally, the Stock Production 2 class was where the crowd was coming from with 11 cars. Posting times very closely to each other, Lew Kar Wai and William Ho came up on top with their 2:44.090.
Where Each Millisecond Counts
With the cars all warmed up, the grid went on with the qualifying session. Although posting a slightly slower time than in FP, Alif topped the sheets with his 2:28.843, earning him pole for Race 1.
Shazull Hisham Harun and Mohd Syahrizal Jamaludin will be starting alongside the Civic FC as they earned the SP1 pole with a 2:31.539. Abdul Kaathir-Baron Sim will start second in class, followed by Ken Urata.
In MTC, Leona once again was the fastest among the lot where her 2:39.944 puts her in front of her category. Another Suzuki Swift driven by Chin Hwa Lip was the second fastest with a 2:42.711, and the pairing of Roni Risman and Saifulnizam Kamarudin starts in third.
The Honda Jazz of Imran Wafi will lead the SP2 field where his 2:43.148 was the fastest in qualifying. He will be challenged greatly by Mitchell Cheah and Ady Rahimi who was second fastest, and Lew Kar Wai and William Ho in third.
The Lights Are Green, And Away We Go!
Probably it was safe to say that the #72 Civic was going to be leading the field, and that it did. Posting sub 2:30 times around the 5.543km circuit, Alif had a field day during Race 1. But on the final stages of the race, it seemed like the car had encountered some issues as it began lapping Sepang in the 3 minute range. Dropping down the overall ranks, Alif however did managed to finish the race to secure the first TP win.
With only four contenders in SP1, you can expect a tough battle since one of them will miss the podium spot. The #34 Empire M Racing FD2R got a good start and wasted no time to increase the gap from the others.
The remaining FD2Rs of #55, #23 and #11 however were involved in a scrap where they swapped positions a number of times throughout the race. The fight went on until the final few laps where unfortunately, it was the #55 of Ken Urata who had to back out from the fight where he had to settle with a DNF. Abdul Kaathir and Baron Sim took second place, and Chiow Teck Song finished third.
In the MTC class, pole sitter Leona Chin was overtaken by Chin Hwa Lip at the beginning of the race, while the #5 Honda Fit and #223 Toyota Vios were separated by the field of SP2s. Playing a calm race, Leona soon reclaimed her position to lead the MTC field, and she kept the position to the end to win the MTC class.
Although it seemed promising for Chin at the start, he started to encounter some problems which had pushed him down the field. This had allowed the duo of Abdul Miqail and Abu Bakar to climb up to take second, with the third place going to Roni Risman and Saifulnizam Kamarudin.
The class to look out for this time has got to be the SP2 where Mitchell wasted no time to take the lead from DNT Tune’s #60. Spreading the lead, it was a tighter battle for the remaining podium places where it was a bumper-to-bumper, all-Jazz battle between the #98 Tedco, #85 BHP and #60 DNT.
With positions swapped and bumpers tapping throughout the race, Hayden Haikal and Adam Khalid pulled through to claim second place. Eddie Lew and William Ho took the final SP2 podium spot for Race 1.
Retirements Plaguing the Champions
Starting the race from the front once again, this time the Civic FC ran flawlessly for R Engineering HMRT. Alif made a quick getaway on the start and this time finishing the 22-lap race upfront.
With the results in Race 1 being used as Race 2’s starting grid, Empire M’s FD2R once again led the SP1 field, distancing himself the moment the lights turned green. It was almost a carbon copy of what we saw in Race 1, but luck was not on Shazull-Syahrizal’s side this time where the FD2R came to a halt midway, bringing a premature end to their race.
This had allowed Ken Urata, who was already running second at that point, to take the lead and subsequently win the SP1 category in Race 2. Abdul Kaathir-Baron Sim and Chiow Teck Song once again finished in second and third respectively.
Bad luck seemed to have struck MTC Race 1 winner Leona as well where she sustained damaged after getting nudged and sent into the gravel. With a damaged oil cooler and splitter, she unfortunately had to retire from the race.
Chin Hwa Lip made the most out of this situation and claimed the MTC victory for Race 2. Roni Risman and Saifulnizam had a better run in Race 2 which had allowed them to take second place, and the #223 Vios of Abdul Miqail and Abu Bakar finished third.
SP2 once again presented a gripping race to the end where it was almost anyone’s race. Although car #123 did take the lead, it was not long before car #85 caught up with the 23 Motors Jazz to engage in a dogfight. The two exchanged positions in a number of occasions but unfortunately this amazing duel was cut short with #85’s brakes failing while entering Turn 9, sending them straight into the tire barriers.
Putera Adam did not have the best Race 1, but he rose up the ranks nicely in Race 2. Keeping his distance from the battling lead cars, #85’s misery was Adam’s pleasure where he took home second place. The #60 DNT Tune of Imran and Najiy finished the race in third.