It was thrilling battle of nerves but young Shafiq Rasol maintained his cool to become the first Malaysian to make it to the podium of the exciting Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup race at the Sepang International Circuit here today.
In a race which saw the top seven riders separated by less than 1.5 seconds, the 15-year-old Shafiq, starting from a distant 11th place on the grid,worked hard and finished a mere 0.138 seconds behind winner KaitoToba of Japan. Another Japanese rider,Yuta Date, the current championship leader, was third in the 14-lap race.
Today’s race was Round 5 of the nine-round championship and also a support event for the MSS Bikes Round 3&4.
In the first four rounds, which were held in Qatar (Round 1), Sentul (Round 2) and Zhuhai (Round 3&4), none of the seven Malaysians in a field of 22 riders which include participants from Japan, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, were able to make the podium. Malaysia’s best result was a sixth placing by Adam Norrodin in Zhuhai.
“This is a very encouraging result for Malaysia,” said Mohd Salleh Ramli, Director of the Recreation Sports Development Sector. “We have been supporting SIC in their development programmes and this result is indeed very good and we are very pleased to see a Malaysian on the podium. We hope they continue to improve.”
SIC CEO Datuk RazlanRazali commented that he was happy with Shafiq’spodium finish. “It was very close race with very little separating the top seven riders, and although there could have been more Malaysians on the podium, I am happy with Shafiq’s performance.”
In today’s race, apart from Shafiq, Adam Norrodin and FakhrusyRostamwere also among the leading seven and battling for the top spots. Both Adam and Fakhrusy made it up to second place at some stage of the race but they eventually finished fifth and seventh.
“What’s important is that our riders have improved over the last four rounds and have caught up with the Japanese. In fact, they have caught up with Thais as well. The success of the riders is mainly due to the close cooperation between KBS and SIC,” Datuk Razlan said.
Shafiq, meanwhile, was delighted with his performance today and has vowed to do better in Round 6 tomorrow. “I had a good feeling when we were on the grid today. I was determined to give it my best. I was aiming for a top five but to make it to the podium has raised my confidence immensely.”Shafiq’s result today has moved up the championship standings from 14th to eight placing.Yuta remains at the top 102 points while Kaito is second with 88.
Meanwhile, in the SIC Ninja 250 Cup,Suhaizarul Suhaizat emerged victorious when he took the chequered flag in a time of 21:58.990. He finished a whisker ahead of second-placed Muhammad Fairuz Nasir. Muhammad Zulhilmi Yazid, who started from pole, settled for the third spot on the podium.
MSS Bikes Round 3&4 continues tomorrow with another 11 more races being contested including the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup and the SIC Ninja 250 Cup.
Shell Advance ATC Round 5 (14 laps)
- Kaito Toba (Jpn) 32:57.382
- ShafiqRasol (Mas) 32:57.520
- Yuta Date (Jpn) 32:57.868
SIC Ninja 250 Cup Race 1 (8 laps)
- SuhaizarulSuhaizat 21:58.990
- Muhammad Fairuz Nasir 21:59.012
- Muhammad ZulhilmiYazid 22:03.491
Superbike Race 1 (10 laps)
- MohdSyahnasShahidan (BMW S1000RR) 22:16.575
- Muhammad Zaqhwan Zaidi (Honda CBR1000) 22:16.937
- Luca Cassoni(BMW S1000RR) 22:43.374
Open 250 Cup Race 1 (8 laps)
- Muhammad JazilJuraimi (Kawasaki 250) 22:13.662
- Vinod DhanabalaSingham(Kawasaki 250) 22:23.188
- Angelo Neo (Honda) 22:24.411
SuperstockRace 1 (10 laps)
- NizamFairuz Hassan (Honda CBR1000) 25:24.582
- Ahmad NashrulBaharudin (Honda CBR1000) 25:41.113
- Nils Uchida Zakariassen (Kawasaki ZX10) 25:46.132
SupersportRace 1 (10 laps)
- Muhammad FaridBadrulHisam (Kawasaki ZX6R) 22:29.949
- HazlanshahMohd Noor (Kawasaki ZX6R) 22:30.364
- KhairulIdhamPawi (Honda CBR600) 22:44.351
SUNDAY (21st September 2014)
0930 hrs – 1000 hrs Superstock Race 3 (10 laps)
1015 hrs – 1045 hrs Open 250 Cup Race 3 (8 laps)
1100 hrs – 1130 hrs Superbike Race 3 (10 laps)
1145 hrs – 1215 hrs SIC Ninja 250 Cup Race 3 (8 laps)
1230 hrs – 1300 hrs Supersport Race 3 (10 laps)
1315 hrs – 1345 hrs Shell Advance ATC Race 2 (14 laps)
1400 hrs – 1430 hrs Superstock Race 4 (10 laps)
1445 hrs – 1515 hrs Open 250 Cup Race 4 (8 laps)
1530 hrs – 1600 hrs Superbike Race 4 (10 laps)
1615 hrs – 1645 hrs SIC Ninja 250 Cup Race 4 (8 laps)
1700 hrs – 1730 hrs Supersport Race 4 (10 laps)