Mark Darwin of Team Sakura-Tedco Racing made a sensational debut in the premier Touring Production class when the young Malaysian stunned the seasoned drivers to win Round 2 of the Malaysia Touring Championship (MTC) at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) today.
Starting from pole position, Darwin, who won the second tier Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) class last year with Indonesian Fitra Eri, completed 22 laps around the 5,543-meter Formula 1 track in the one-hour endurance race in his Honda FD2 machine.
Driving solo, Darwin led the race from the start; relinquishing his leadership only when he entered the pits for the three-minute compulsory stop after 11 laps. Re-entering with 25 minutes left, he climbed back to the top of the time-sheets almost immediately as the others top runners made their compulsory stops as well.
Competing under cloudy skies and dry track, Round 1 winner and championship leader Chris Tan and Alan Wong of Pentagon Racing, completed the podium to score a commendable second place; having to manage an additional 30kg in success ballast for the round.
In the MTC class, favourites Proton R3 Motorsports scored a 1-2 finish with two-time champion Syafiq Ali winning the race with 20 completed laps and 2 minutes 12.189 seconds behind the overall winner in his Proton Suprima S machine.
The partnership of Fariqe Hairuman and James Veerapan – winners of the opening round and competing with an additional 30kgs – took second place in their Proton Preve machine; also finishing 22 laps but 0.814 seconds behind Syafiq to the chequered flag. They remained on top of the MTC championship standing with 42 points against Syafiq’s total haul of 37 points.
Eri, who has a poor opening round, took third place for Round 2 to add another 10 championship points to his collection for a total haul of 22 points to move to fourth place overall. Faidzil Alang, who took fourth place for the class today, added eight championship points to take his total tally to 24 points.
Commenting on his victory, Darwin said it was totally unexpected.
“We were actually building the car for somebody else. He wrecked the car in Round 1 and asked us to re-build it. When we completed the job, he decided not to run it; believing that he had too much bad luck. So, we decided to give a try and we won. We are unsure whether we will run the car in Round 3 because we need to return the car to the owner. So, I am unable to comment on my plans for Round 3. Anyway, we are very happy with the outcome and the team really did well,” he said.
Defending champion Tommy Lee and Damien Dielenberg, who had a bad opening round, failed to gain ground on the leaders; finishing 14th overall and 10th in class in their Honda Integra DC5 machine.
Singapore celebrity lady driver Claire Jedrek was unable to continue her impressive run; having forced to retire after two laps.
Round 3 of the MCS will be held from June 5 to 7.
Malaysia Championship Series – Round 2
Top Five Finishers after 1 Hour
Touring Production Class
1. Mark Darwin (Honda FD2) 22 laps (1:01.06.137s)
2. Chris Tan/Alan Wong (Honda FD2) 22 laps
3. Keifli Othman/Fahrizal Hassan (Honda Integra DC5) 22 laps
4. K.K. Soh (Honda Integra DC5) 22 laps
5. Kenny Lee (Toyota 86) 22 laps
Malaysia Touring Car Class
1. Syafiq Ali (Proton Preve) 22 laps
2. Fariqe Hairuman/James Veerapen (Proton Suprima S) 22 laps
3. Fitra Eri (Satria Neo) 22 laps
4. Faidzil Alang (Satria Neo) 21 laps
5. Alvaro Mourato/Gilbert Ang (Proton Satria Neo) 21 laps