Back to the Sepang International Circuit for the third round of the 2015 Malaysia Championship Series, team Proton R3 was facing a different challenge from the previous round as the race now runs in a different format. The 2 10-lap race means that they would have to run in a different strategy from the previous round and the weather during the race weekend was not really at its best.
During qualifying, the wet conditions of the track meant that everyone would have to be extra cautions in posting their best times. Fariqe Hairuman himself was struggling with the conditions especially when there was only one set of semi slicks available for the qualifying session. But learning from past experiences, the longer they stay out on the circuit, the faster the lap times will be.
Being the last ones to come into the pits after the qualifying session proved that the strategy had worked as he managed to clock a best time of 2:46.826 which was also the sixth fastest of the day. Trailing close behind was teammate Syafiq Ali who had clocked a 2:47.713 in the Preve.
With again a 1-2 start for Proton R3, a repeat of Round 2’s finish is already in the picture. But the threat from rivals like Team Sakura Tedco’s Fitra Eri should not be dismissed as it was too early to tell. In order to secure a spot on the podium, Fariqe tried to get a rocket start but was unable to do so due to the unfamiliarity towards the Suprima S race car.
Although it was challenging for him in the first three laps due to some of the Touring Production cars getting a bad start, he was still able to keep first position in class and continued to spread the gap. Since the win was already in reach for Fariqe, he then maintained the pace all the way to the chequered flag to reserve the car for James to drive in Race 2.
As for Syafiq, it was quite a lonely race for him since Fariqe pulled quite a gap after he was blocked by three Touring Production cars after the first corner. But even with traffic up front and rivals breathing down his neck, he was still able to maintain second position until a slight mishap at the second last lap saw Syafiq lose control over his Preve due to hitting a slippery patch of green carpet at T13. Luckily spared from any sort of contact or serious damage, Syafiq re-joined the race in fourth position. Putting the pedal to the metal, he managed to overtake one of the MTC cars to finish in third position.
Fariqe’s first position finish had allowed James to start the race in pole for MTC as well. Despite a not-so-great start which saw Fitra closing the gap between the two, James was able to defend the position until the massive accident occurred at T3 where he was forced to slow down to avoid getting tangled in it.
Fortunately for James, he did not have to wait long as later at T7 he was able to overtake Fitra and regained position as the lead car in MTC. Spreading the gap, he then took the Suprima S to the finish line to claim another win for Proton R3 for the weekend.
Things however were not as lucky for Syafiq as although starting the race in third in class did give him some advantage, he was caught in an accident with Chris Tan at T6 and the engine was not performing at its best. Keen in making the best out of the situation, he kept on pushing and still managed to take home a satisfying fourth place finish for Race 2.