Malaysian rider Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi and his international team mates Somkiat Chantra and Andi Farid Izdihar clinched a first Endurance World Championship podium for team Honda Asia Dream Racing with SHOWA at the inaugural Sepang 8 Hours yesterday.
The Sepang International Circuit’s debut into the world of endurance racing was almost blighted by a torrential downpour during the daylight hours of the race. Zaqhwan and his team mates started the race from second on the grid, but was forced to rein in their enthusiasm as the unrelenting downpour forced a race start behind the safety car.
A few laps in, it was quickly determined that it was too unsafe to continue and the Sepang 8 Hours was suspended for five hours until the rain subsided enough to allow for safe racing.
The grid finally went out at the five hour mark with only three hours left on the clock. Zaqhwan was the first rider for team Honda Asia Dream Racing with SHOWA and consistently paced fourth in the leading group.
The team’s position improved when Somkiat Chantra took over the reins and managed to narrow the gap against the race leaders. Up in front, several crashes brought the Honda CBR1000 RR into podium position.
As the clock ticked down to the final hour of the day, Somkiat had managed to place second behind race leader YART Yamaha. One last pitstop brought Zaqhwan back on track. The ace Malaysian rider was able to keep their second position, half a lap behind Niccolo Canepa.
Team Honda Asia Dream Racing with SHOWA crossed the finish line in second place with 80 laps done in 05:51:53.459. Race winners YART Yamaha also completed 80 laps in 05:50:03.837.
“This is a very meaningful win for the team, and especially for myself and the Malaysian members of the Honda Asia Dream Racing with SHOWA crew. It’s an amazing feeling to take the podium on homeground, especially against a field of world-class riders. Kudos to our team members who had worked especially hard this weekend,” said Zaqhwan.