Comfortably at the top of the championship standing with a healthy 17-point advantage, Fariqe Hairuman, who is gunning for his first Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) crown, has no plans of easing off when the battle of Round 4 of the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) takes place at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) this weekend.
“The mission is to take maximum points. Nothing has changed from the day we started this championship in March during the Formula 1 weekend. In racing, take nothing for granted, always go all out and take as many points as possible,” said the former Asian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) and Japan Super Taikyu champion.
Driving for Proton R3 Motorsports for the first time this season and partnering the team’s seasoned driver, James Veerapen, the duo has been in sizzling form in their Proton Suprima S machine, winning four of the last five races to amass a total of 72 points.
Their main challenger and closest rival is their Proton R3 Motorsports teammate Syafiq Ali – the two-time champion who denied Fariqe and Veerapan a clean sweep by winning the one-hour endurance race in Round 2 in his Proton Prevé machine. With 55 points, Syafiq holds a 9-point advantage over defending champion Fitra Eri of Team Sakura Tedco Racing, who has 46 points.
With only a maximum of 15 points up for grabs this weekend, the battle for the MTC crown looks set to go down the wire in Round 5, which will be held from 6 to 8 November as double sprint races and offering up to 30 championship points.
Fariqe said the team has been working hard preparing for this weekend’s race and that he was very happy with the performance of his car.
“We had a practice session on Thursday and managed a fastest lap time of 2 minutes 35:65 seconds despite not competing in any races for almost three months. But it is important that we keep our focus and our momentum. It’s all about finishing the race in a good position this weekend and to grab as many points as possible to win this championship. Our competitors are strong as well and the championship battle is definitely getting hotter,” added the Johor-born driver.
While acknowledging that the chances of Team Sakura Tedco Racing retaining the title is quite slim, Fitri said that they have not given up and that they would continue to fight Proton R3 Motorsports for the coveted crown.
In fact, the team is bringing in a new Proton Prevé machine, which has been painted with big Indonesian and Malaysian flags on its sides, for the battle this weekend.
“We are going to use a new Proton Prevé for this round. Besides aiming to get a podium finish, we also want to prepare the car for the upcoming S1K. Being a new car, we know that there are still many things to work on for the car. This weekend’s one-hour endurance race format will be very good for us to work on the performance and reliability of the car.
“Realistically, our chances of winning the overall championship is already very slim, but we’ll push as hard as we can and see. It ain’t over till it’s over,” said the Indonesian driver, who scored a commendable result at the just-concluded KL City Grand Prix in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia Series.
The battle for the Touring Car Production title is a closer affair with the top three teams separated by just three points. The partnership of Chris Tan and Alan Wong of Pentagon Racing are at the top with 47 points.
Malaysian Mark Darwin of Team Sakura-Tedco is second with 45 points, holding a single point advantage over the Taiwanese-Malaysian partnership of Hsiao Tung Wei and Desmond Khoo of N1 Racing Team.
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Malaysia Championship Series – Top 6 Leaders after 3 Rounds
Malaysia Touring Car Championship
1. Fariqe Hairuman/James Veerapen (Proton R3/Proton Suprima S) 72 pts
2. Syafiq Ali (Proton R3/Proton Prevé) 55 pts
3. Fitra Eri (Team Sakura-Tedco/Satria Neo) 46 pts
4. Mitchel Cheah (Team Sakura-Tedco/Satria Neo) 28 pts
5. Faidzil Alang (FX Tune Don Racing/Satria Neo) 24 pts
6. Alvaro Mourato/Gilbert Ang (Team R Engineering/Satria Neo) 20 pts
Touring Production Championship
1. Chris Tan/Alan Wong (Pentagon Racing/Honda FD 2) 47 pts
2. Mark Darwin (Team Sakura-Tedco/Honda FD 2) 45 pts
3. Hsiao Tung Wei/Desmond Khoo (N1 Racing Team/Honda Integra DC5) 44 pts
4. Damian Dielenberg (Team Damian Dielenberg/Honda DC 5) 33 pts
5. Fahrizal Hasan/Keifli Othman (JC Racing Team/Honda Civic Type R) 26 pts
6. Claire Jedrek (Team R Engineering/Honda FD) 21 pts