With Proton R3 menacingly displaying their dominance throughout the 2015 season of the Malaysia Championship Series, all eyes are on the Malaysian automaker factory team’s race machines to repeat last year’s amazing feat of a 1-2 finish at the Sepang 1000KM endurance race. However, we have seen over and over again that nothing is certain until the chequered flag flutters especially when it is an endurance race we are talking about.
The 2015 edition of the Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race kicked off just after 12pm with the sun tuned in full blast. The grid consisted of 21 cars with drivers coming from as far as Japan, Hong Kong and Australia and as a unique twist this year, Sepang had decided to introduce a new class into the race. The new Independence Cup separates the factory-backed teams like Proton R3 and Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) from the smaller teams for a shot of a fair fight to the podium.
Kick starting the race in a rolling start format, Proton R3’s Iriz and Suprima S race cars gave a strong impression that the podium was theirs as they quickly spread the gap between them and the others. However, their luck seemed to run out pretty quickly as well as the Suprima S encountered some electrical problems somewhere midpoint of the race.
Although they were able to rectify the issue and have the car back in the race, the Suprima S was too far back to get even close for a top 5 finish. The Iriz R3 also encountered some problems on their oil pressure system, forcing them to spend some precious time in the pits for repairs during the race.
The Iriz R3 driven by Tengku Djan and Syafiq Ali finished in fifth place while the Suprima S driven by james Veerapen and Fariqe Hairuman finished in 11th place.
Lady luck was not on Team Sakura-Tedco Racing’s side as well for this year. Running in the trusty Satria Neo, the dynamic duo of Fitra Eri and Mark Darwin had to throw in the towel after 59 laps of racing as their race machine encountered numerous problems throughout the race.
Going through the odds and taking the chequered flag after 181 laps of gruelling racing is HMRT’s #27 Honda City driven by Sepang 1000KM veterans Aaron Lim and Farriz Fauzy. The duo managed to finish the race in 8 hours 42 minutes and 55.365 seconds to claim victory…
…followed by N1 Racing’s #90 Satria Neo piloted by Mitchell Cheah, Winston Eu and Desmond Yee who were less than one lap behind the HMRT.
Finishing in third place for the Open Class was the trio of Richard Wee, Frank Yu and H. Hamaguchi form Clearly Crafty Racing who had chosen the Toyota Altis as the chariot of their attack.
It was a great pleasure seeing J’s Racing entering the race with their Honda Fit race car. Piloted by Junichi Uemoto, Kouichi Okumura Teruhiko Hamano and Hiroyiki Iiri, they managed to complete 176 laps to finish in seventh place overall.
In the newly-established Independent Cup, we are very glad to see the team we featured just a while back taking the third place finish. The father-daughter combination of Nasharudin-Husna, supported by YC Foo and Jun Yee finished eighth overall after completing 171 laps in their Star Wars-liveried Satria Neo.
The trio of Gerald Tan, Lim Keong Liam and Shawn Peh took home the second place finish for the Independence Cup as their N1 Racing-supported Satria Neo completed 176 laps to finish sixth overall.
But the most exciting part for us at Zerotohundred.com is definitely seeing our own Tom goh standing not only on the podium, but as the winner of the Independence Cup. Racing alongside CY Ong and Jean Charles Dahout under the Team Dream Chaser, they managed to complete 178 laps un the Satria Neo to finish fourth overall.