Darwin, who is the current Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) champion, made a surprise decision to switch to the premier class for Round 2; but was quick to show that it was a well calculated decision as he topped the afternoon free practice session on his Honda FD2 machine.
Clocking 2 minutes 28.207 seconds in his fifth lap of the 30-minute qualifying session, Darwin would be joined on the front row by Taiwanese Hsiao Tung Wei, who clocked the best lap time of 2 minutes 29.510 seconds with partner, Desmond Khoo of Malaysia.
The experienced partnership of Keifli Othman and Fahrizal Hassan was third on the timesheet with a lap time of 2 minutes 29.528 seconds in the qualifying session, which was held under cool weather after late afternoon showers.
Championship leaders and winners of Round 1, Chris Tan and Alan Wong of Pentagon Racing struggled with their additional 30kg success weight ballast in their Honda FD2 machine; finishing 13th on the time sheet with a time of 2 minutes 31.925 seconds.
They were even outpaced by Singapore’ celebrity lady driver Claire Jedrek of Team R-Engineering, who finished 9th overall with a time of 2 minutes 31.619s in her Honda FD2 machine.
Unlike the dynamic duo of Pentagon Racing, the Malaysian partnership of Fariqe Hairuman and James Veerapen appeared unaffected by their additional 30kgs as they topped the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) class.
Driving a Proton Suprima S, they clocked 2 minutes 35.030 seconds; upstaging their Proton R3 team-mate and two-time MTC champion Syafiq Ali, who was second fastest for the class in his Proton Preve with a time of 2 minutes 35.275 seconds.
Indonesian Fitra Eri of Team Sakura-Tedco Racing, who won the title last year with Darwin, was third fastest in the MTC class with a time of 2 minutes 36.716 seconds in his Satria Neo. Faidzil Alang was fourth fastest with a time of 2 minutes 38.021 seconds.
The one-hour endurance is slotted as the final programme for tomorrow. 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.
Malaysia Championship Series – Round 2: Top Five Qualifiers
Touring Production Class
1.Mark Darwin (Honda FD2) 2:28.207s
2. Hsiao Tung Wei/Desmond Khoo (Honda Integra DC5) 2:29.510s
3. Keifli Othman/Fahrizal Hassan (Honda Integra DC5) 2:29.528s
4. Arif Abdullah (Honda Integra DC5) 2:30.292s
5. Tony Teo (Honda FD2) 2:30.391s
Malaysia Touring Car Class
1.Fariqe Hairuman/James Veerapen (Proton Suprima S) 2:35.030s
2. Syafiq Ali (Proton Preve) 2:35.275s
3. Fitra Eri (Satria Neo) 2:36.716s
4. Faidzil Alang (Satria Neo) 2:38.021s
5. Calvin Wong/Nurul Husna Nasaruddin (Satria Neo) 2:38.139s