Races 1 to 3 – Event 2, Sepang, Saturday 7 November 2015
After a triumphant outing at the first event in the 2015 AsiaCup Series last August, Australian Jordan Love (#79) made a strong return to the second event of the series with three wins from the three races contested on Saturday. His three back-to-back wins also means that Love has now extended his lead in the championship with the addition of 60 points to his points haul.
Despite claiming the triple, the Australian did not have it easy as he was made to work hard in the first two races, battling it out against Race 1 pole-sitter, Adam Khalid (MAS, #5). Though the Australian eventually prevailed in the first race to claim the lead from Adam, the pair maintained a similar pace all the way through to the chequered flag. Series debutant Yuma Shoji also had a strong outing with a podium finish after claiming an impressive third place.
The second race of the day in the scorching Sepang heat again witnessed an epic duel between Jordan and Adam as the pair began pulling away from the rest of the field in the early stages of the 8-lap race. Also claiming his first podium result in the event was another Malaysian, Adam Haikal who redeemed himself after a difficult race 1 to finish ahead of Shoji for third place.
The trio of Love, Adam Khalid and Shoji were also the primary feature in the wet third race, this time with Japanese Yuma Shoji starting from pole position ahead of Jordan Love. However, an unfortunate jump-start by both Shoji and Adam Khalid saw the pair penalised by the stewards with a drive-through penalty. This allowed Love, who started on the front row, to pull away from the rest of the field.
That left the fight for the two remaining positions on the podium between four drivers, including Yuma Shoji who was able to recover from the disadvantage of his penalty to claw his way back into third. Despite his best efforts, the Japanese was unable to dislodge the spirited effort by another series debutant 19-year old Faine Kahla (New Zealand #55) who claimed his maiden podium finish in second position.
Firhat Mokhzani, Race Director, AsiaCup Series: “I have to say, after the first event in August, the first three races this weekend have been incredible, especially the first race, which to me has to be the best race so far this season. There were a lot of good battles throughout and more importantly, the lap times were very close especially between Jordan and Adam with a gap of under a second in Race 1. Jordan was quick as usual but what is very encouraging is that the rest of the field seems to have caught up with him.”
Jordan Love (AUS #79) – Race winner: “It’s good to be back and win this race especially after starting on the dirty side of the track in P2. I had a good start but Adam had a better start, so I had aim to spend the first couple of laps behind him to see where I could pass him out on track and plan the attack. I managed to do it into the final corner on lap 3. It was a good race as Adam kept me honest throughout, right to the end.”
Adam Khalid (MAS #5) – P2 and Rookie award: “That was a really good race and I had a great start off the line as I managed to keep Jordan behind me, especially as he is known for his great starts! And as expected I was under a lot of pressure from Jordan in the first few laps and I was quite nervous, which made me lose concentration and as a result I made rookie mistakes, which made me lose the lead of the race. The good thing is that after that I was able maintain the same pace as Jordan and keep the gap small, which is motivation for me to push in the next race.”
Yuma Shoji (JPN #19) – P3: “This is my first formula race ever, and it was exciting but also quite difficult for me. I am also not that happy with the pace as I was experiencing some problems with the clutch. It was a tight race and I will push to give a good fight for the next race.”
Jordan Love (AUS #79) – Race Winner: “I started on pole in Race 2 and had a much better start this time. I also had a good a really good battle with Adam in the opening stages of the race, which was fun especially as I had to work hard to overcome Adam, which I eventually did. By then, I could find my rhythm and was able to build a gap over Adam all the way to the end.”
Adam Khalid (MAS #5) – P2 and Rookie Award: “It was another fun race as once again Jordan and I had a really good fight. In the beginning we were lapping with consistent lap times with each other. But somehow he found more pace as the race progressed and he managed to pull away from me.
Adam Haikal (MAS #77) – P3: “I am glad to be back up here on the podium, especially after such a difficult first race. I was struggling quite a lot in the first race, so there were a lot of things that I need to improve and work on for this race. To be rewarded with this result is something I can be proud of and will motivate me for the coming races.”
Jordan Love (AUS #79) – Race Winner: “It feels awesome to win all three races today. The third race was a wet race and I really had to focus on getting a good start. Despite my best efforts, Yuma had a much better start than me, but I managed to overtake him into Turn 4 on the first lap. From then on I just concentrated on putting together a consistent lap and managed to pull out a gap over everyone else. The thing is the championship is not over yet, as we still have two races to go this weekend and I will push hard as well.”
Faine Kahla (NZL #55) – P2: “This was an amazing race and it feels great to be up here on the podium. I had a good start in the race, as I was able to make up a lot of ground going into the first turn especially considering where I was starting from on the grid in P6. Towards the end, it ended up being quite a lonely race for me as I was quite far ahead from those behind me. I think my aim is to not let Jordan get away with the race tomorrow and I hope to be able to push him hard. I have the pace and I know with new tyres tomorrow, I will give it my all.”
Yuma Shoji (JPN #19), P3: “I am disappointed especially with what happened at the start of the race. More so because I started from pole position and to have the penalty really disrupted my race. I am not happy but I take heart in knowing that I had the pace and the speed so I know that I can challenge the leaders. Now, I have to work harder for tomorrow.”
The final two races in the scheduled five will take place on Sunday. For more information on the AsiaCup Series, go to www.meritusgp.com
Race Results (Selected)
Race 1 (8 Laps) – Saturday, 7 November
Pos Car Name Nat Best Time
1 #79 Jordan Love AUS 18:18.849
2 #5 Adam Khalid MAS +0.988s
3 #19 Yuma Shoji JPN +7.537s
4 #55 Faine Kahla NZL +15.572s
5 #17 Nazim Azman MAS +22.365s
6 #77 Adam Haikal MAS +24.755s
7 #66 Danial Frost SIN +26.092s
8 #9 Keifli Othman MAS +29.323s
Race 2 (8 Laps) – Saturday, 7 November
Pos Car Name Nat Best Time
1 #79 Jordan Love AUS 18:40.976
2 #5 Adam Khalid MAS +2.910s
3 #34 Ricky Bobby* IND +5.760s
4 #77 Adam Haikal MAS +6.629s
5 #19 Yuma Shoji JPN +10.139s
6 #66 Danial Frost SIN +11.071s
7 #55 Fania Kahla NZL +11.287s
8 #46 Lyubov Andreyeva KZH +11.524s
Race 3 (8 Laps) – Saturday, 7 November
Pos Car Name Nat Best Time
1 #79 Jordan Love AUS 20:10.314
2 #34 Ricky Bobby* IND +10.647s
3 #55 Faine Kahla NZL +35.072s
4 #19 Yuma Shoji JPN +46.568s
5 #77 Adam Haikal MAS +52.226s
6 #5 Adam Khalid MAS +52.254s
7 #66 Danial Frost SIN +53.673s
8 #17 Nazim Azman MAS +53.723s