Defending champion Damien Dielenberg, who is seeking his third successive Touring Production crown, will be boosted by the newly-introduced success ballast weight handicap rule, when he seeks to close the gap with his leading rivals at the Malaysia Championship Series race held at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) next weekend from 24 – 26 April 2015.
Unable to make a dream start to his title defence at the opening round last month, the highly experienced Damien will be banking on his ballast-free advantage to secure maximum points in Round 2, which will run as a one-hour endurance race.
“We had a problematic start during Round 1 at the F1 weekend. We were unable to go out for qualifying due to a clutch problem. We started from the back of the grid and were lucky to finish Race 1 in 6th place for class and 8th overall. In Race 2 on the following day, we managed to get up to 3rd place at one stage before encountering mechanical problems, resulting in us finishing 4th in class.
“After Round 1, we have gone back to check through our car to make sure we are fully prepared for Round 2. We are definitely going to push for maximum points as we need the points to catch up with the leaders. We will have a slight advantage because the race format for this season has changed whereby the competitors in the top 3 positions will have to carry ballast.
“Race strategy plays an even more important role,” said Damien, who unlike in the opening round, will be sharing driving duties with partner Tommy Lee for the endurance race in their Honda Integra DC5 machine.
As winners of the opening round, Pentagon Racing, which scored a double victory through Chris Tan and Alan Wong for a maximum 30 points, will be carrying a 30kg weight ballast for Round 2 as stipulated under the new rules, introduced this year.
Second in the overall standings with 20 championship points, the partnership of Taiwan’s Tung Wei Hsiao and Desmond Khoo of N1 Racing Team will be carrying an extra 20kg while Singapore’s lady driver Claire Jedrek, who is currently third overall with 18 points, will have to manage an additional 10kg of added iron.
Like Damien, Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) class defending champion Mark Darwin will also be free of any additional weight for his Round 2 challenge after a disastrous opening round.
But recognising the high standard of competition this season and the performance of his Proton Prevé machine in the opening round, the Sakura-Tedco Racing driver is not setting high targets despite the advantage over his rivals.
“No expectations, as we just want to develop the car to be more competitive in the future races. We had some gearbox problems in Round 1. Our target for Round 2 is to stay in the Top 5. It will be good for us. We hope to make some decent improvements to the car,” said Mark, who previously won the title with Indonesian Fitra Eri.
Both drivers are driving solo this season with Fitra driving the Satria Neo machine – and who was equally unfortunate in the opening round, with technical problems.
Fitra now sits fifth overall with 12 championship points and a place above Mark, who has 11 points.
Fans can catch all the action for free from the Main Grandstand area. Meanwhile, the fans can also enjoy more action at the paddock with the Paddock Pass at only RM85 and the Paddock Season Card for RM200, both inclusive of GST.