Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 wint Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race
Afgelopen weekend won Maleisië's topcoureur Tunku Hammam Tunku Sulong in zijn Arrow's team Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 de Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race in Maleisië. Met partners Peter Kox en Christopher Haase wist hij het oude record van 308 verreden rondes te breken, door 315 rondes te rijden tot de finishvlag. Tunku Hammam Tunku Sulong was zeer tevreden, mede omdat ze concurrent Audi achter zich hadden gelaten. Hij gaf wel aan dat het mede mogelijk was door de uitval van de Porsches, die op zich sneller waren. Maar de Merdeka Milennium Endurance Race draait niet om pure snelheid, maar om betrouwbaarheid:
Malaysia’s top racing driver Tunku Hammam Tunku Sulong won his second Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) title as his Arrows Racing Team's Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 upstaged the hot favourite Audi works team at Sepang Circuit at the weekend. Partnering former European GT3 champion Christopher Haase and top Dutch driver Peter Kox in a Lamborghini LP560, the team drove an almost perfect race. The team started second on the grid and took over the race leadership from pole sitter Porsche Club Singapore Racing after three hours into the race. The team received their trophies from SIC CEO Razlan Razali.
The Audi Race Experience Joest – featuring multiple Le Mans winners Frank Biela and Marco Werner and World Touring Car Championship driver Daryl O’Young - had to be contend themselves with second place; but vows to return stronger next year to complete their mission for the top spot on the podium. “This one is definitely a much harder than the first one. I am very happy to win it again,” said Tunku Hammam, who won his first MMER overall title in 2002, partnering Tommy Lee and Briton Nigel Albon for Naza-Jaseri Racing Team. Covering 315 laps, the team finished just a lap more than their rivals from Audi. The team’s performance broke the MMER 2008’s record of 308 laps around the 5.543-km track by Porsche Club Singapore Racing (PCSR) which had then featured O’Young, Mok Weng Sun and Nicolas Davison.
For Mok, it was a heartbreaking experience after his Porsche RSR – clearly the fastest machine throughout the weekend – encountered mechanical problems. The team, which also features Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion Craig Baird and top Austrian driver Richard Lietz were forced to retire after 110 laps. The Porsche Club Singapore Racing started from pole position and was breaking away from their rivals before their RSR encountered mechanical problems after 119 laps. Kencana Racing Team, which was also having a good race in third place, was also forced out by a similar problem with their Porsche machine. Tunku Hammam said: “It would definitely be much harder if Mok was still in the race. They definitely had the faster car. But, this race is not about out and out speed. It’s an endurance race. “I am not too sure that I would be coming with the same team again next year. But, I will definitely come back. Hopefully, with these two guys again and hopefully, we will get a better car or we can use the same car to race next year,” he said.
Commenting on the use of the Pirelli tyres, Kox said: “We found a good set up for the tyres and it worked out really well for us. We didn’t have any problems with them.” This was echoed by Haase, who said that the tyres were very stable and that they were able to take a few fast laps without any problem.
The race yesterday was flagged off by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek at midnight. He was joined at the ceremony by Miss Malaysia World Thanuja Ananthan and top singer Faradina Mohd Nadzir, a.k.a Dina, who performed the National Anthem before the race began. The Sports Production class was won by Team Tracy Sports, featuring Masatama Kawaguchi, Masayuki Ueda and Adam Han. The team received their trophy from Motorsports Association of Malaysia chairman Datuk Azman Yahya. Commenting on his win, Adam said that he was ecstatic, saying that it definitely made up for the frustration that he had suffered in the last two races. “I definitely would come back again next year to defend our title,” he said. The Touring Production class was topped by the Honda Malaysia Racing Team trio of Eddie Lew, Aaron Lim and Rueben Wong, followed by HKS Garage R Racing in second place. The final step on the podium was filled by the Brothers In Racing Team, which featured Second Finance Minister’s Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop off-springs, Mohamad Nazir, Mohamad Ridzuan and Khairul Anwar. The Honda Malaysia Racing Team received their trophies from Motorsports Association of Malaysia chairman Datuk Azman Yahya. In a race filled with drama and suspense, the MMER jinx for Empire Motorsports continued for a third year after their Lotus 2-11 burst into flames during refueling; bringing their challenge to an abrupt end after just 56 laps. The team had faced a similar situation last year, when electrical problems ignited their engine. In 2008, a broken wheel nut in the final hour brought their challenge to an end. The defending champion - Petronas Syntium Team, which had Tatsuya Katoaka, Fariqe Hairuman and Melvin Moh failed to finish the race with 80 minutes to go. The team was initially in fourth place but was forced to retire after their BMW Z4M Coupe encountered mechanical failure. Although they were the fastest in the qualifying round among the Sports Production entries, Fairuz Fauzy and his Mofaz Racing Team was the first to retire from the 11th edition of the MMER after only 30 laps when the engine of their Aston Martin blew.
Alle nieuws die niet in de andere categorieén passen (bv eenmalige races).
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