They may be heavier this weekend, but Proton R3 Motorsports has declared that the additional weight will not stop them from winning Round 2 of the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) at Sepang International Circuit (SIC).
Currently occupying the top two places in the Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) championship, the team has been boosted by a new engine package for two-time defending champion, Syafiq Ali in their Proton Prevé machine.
“I am getting a new engine package for this weekend. We are targeting to win this race. Nevertheless, we are expecting a great fight from our own team mates as well as Tedco Racing and R Engineering. However, we are ready,” said Syafiq.
Currently second overall with 22 championship points and eight points behind the leaders, Syafiq and Tengku Djan will be carrying a 20kg weight ballast in line with the new rules implemented this year to inject further excitement into the competition.
The drivers will go into qualifying session today to decide on their grid positions before engaging in a one-hour endurance race tomorrow afternoon in search of glory for Round 2 of the five-round championship.
Like their team mates at Proton R3 Motorsports, championship leaders Fariqe Hairuman and James Veerapan are on high spirits and are looking forward to Round 2 to continue their dominance, despite the added 30kg in their Proton Suprima S this weekend.
Commenting on his race, James said that he would be spurred by their double victory at the opening round of the championship during the Formula 1 weekend last month for bigger results this weekend.
“We will continue to push the limits; we will continue to break records; and we will still continue to push for improvement,” he said.
Driving from the back of the grid after failing to set any timing in qualifying, Proton R3 produced a sensational performance when Fariqe, who was making his debut for the team – beat the odds to pass every MTC car to finish on top of the class. Starting in front for Race 2 on the following day, James continued the dominance to sweep aside their MTC rivals to score a second win.
In his comments, Fariqe – a former Asian Touring Car Championship and Japan Super Taikyu champion, said he felt stronger now that he had more track time to further familiarise himself with the car and to bond with the team.
“I’m really looking forward to this upcoming race especially after the fantastic result in Round 1. I am also happy that it will be an endurance race with driver changes. It will give us an advantage as I am used to it after my Super Taikyu days,” Fariqe said.
“Both endurance and sprint races require different strategy. But we have a very strong team and a good package in terms of team members and the car,” commented Fariqe, adding that he has set a target for maximum points this weekend.
To race together with cars from the Touring Production class, for production cars above 1900cc, teams are allowed to use a single driver to cover the one-hour endurance race.
The Touring Production class is currently topped by Pentagon Racing, featuring Alan Wong and Chris Tan who scored a win each in the opening round to top the championship standings and earn 30kg of success weigh ballast for Round 2.
“We expect competition will be tougher with our 30kg successive ballast weight penalty.
But this is good as it increases competitiveness as well as it will be more exciting for the teams as well as spectators following MCS race.
“Expecting tougher challenges this weekend, the team will be doing its best to prepare and tune the car for a second pole qualifying as well as another win in this weekend at the endurance race,” Alan said in his comments.
Apart from the MCS, fans can also catch action from the Asian Formula Renault Series, Formula Masters China Series, Touring Car Series In Asia, Caterham Championship and the Asia Classic Car Challenge (ACCC) this weekend.
Fans can catch all the action for free from the Main Grandstand area. Meanwhile, fans can also enjoy more action at the paddock with the Paddock Pass for only RM85 and the Paddock Season Card for RM200, both inclusive of GST.