The new Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) enters its penultimate round next weekend (29 and 30 August) with hot favourite Mark Darwin and his Sakura Tedco Racing Team determined to take over leadership and control of the championship in the Touring Production Class.
Overall champion for the second-tier Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) class last season, Darwin had been a revelation since switching to the premier class in Round 2 by winning all three races so far including the double sprint races in Round 3.
Delighted with his performance so far, Darwin and his Sakura Tedco Racing Team, however, have no intention of slowing down and have instead worked diligently on further improving the performance of their Honda FD2 race machine.
“The championship points are very close for the Top 3. So I will be giving everything to make sure I win this round. The team has been working hard on the car,” said Darwin, who is currently second in the championship standings behind the partnership of Chris Tan and Alan Wong of Pentagon Racing.
“Our chief engineer Rueben Wong and his boys are putting in all the hours to ensure I have the best car and I surely will never disappoint them. It will be tough as my competitors will also be doing the same for this critical Round 4,” he added.
With a total haul of 45 championship points from two rounds of participation, the Sakura Tedco Racing driver trails the Chris-Alan partnership by two points. The Pentagon Racing drivers had a nightmarish Round 3, only managing five points from the round.
With a car clearly not at its best, Alan could only manage sixth place in Race 1. Chris, who was involved in an incident with celebrity lady driver Claire Jedrek in the opening lap, finished outside the points after only managing 11th place in Race 2.
“Round 3 was filled with incidents and it was unfortunate for us to have had an accident. The car, however, is already fixed for battle this weekend. We are really looking forward to it and hope to be back on podium and maintain our position at the top of the championship standings,” Alan said.
To be held on a weekend that usually hosts the prestigious Sepang 12-hour endurance race, Round 4 of the MCS will be a one-hour endurance event on Sunday with teams having the option of fielding up to two drivers to a car. Qualifying and free practice sessions will be held on Saturday. The 12-hour endurance race has been moved to December with a new format and approach.
Commenting on Round 3, Claire expressed her frustration relating the incident with Chris, but was full of praise for her rivals.
“It was a normal case of the high and lows of racing. Accidents happen, but the results from a disappointing Round 3 have put me out of the Top 3. My team, R Engineering, however, had me testing as soon as I recovered from that hard knock – to put me back on track. My friends and followers from Malaysia have really shown their sportsmanship and kind encouragement. This is what makes me love motorsports and want to just get back into the car,” said the Singaporean driver.
With only 33 points after three rounds, two-time defending champion Damien Dielenberg is desperate to keep his championship battle alive, at least until the final round in November.
“We have done a little more development on our car for Round 4 with the target of getting on the podium again. Our development is focused on the set up and also the engine to extract more horse power. The Championships leader board is pretty close and it is important now to push as hard as we can so that we can challenge,” said Damien, who partners Malaysia’s top Touring Car driver Tommy Lee.
In the MTC class, the partnership of Proton R3 Motorsports’ Fariqe Hairuman and James Veerapan looks set to strengthen their position at the top of the standings further as the team has worked on bringing in a new, faster machine for Round 4.
Veerapan, however, is not disclosing any details. “The team is keeping a tight lid on any progress with the new car. It should be ready for Round 4. But we will have to wait and see. In any case, we hope to maintain the momentum generated over the last three rounds and go for the win,” he added.
With two more rounds to go, the partnership of Fariqe and Veerapan, which has amassed 72 points, leads teammate and two-time champion Syafiq Ali by 17 points.
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