The Asia Pacific (APAC) Ferrari Challenge round 4 concluded last Sunday at the Sepang International Circuit with dual wins for Steve Wyatt (Australia) and Liang Wang (China) in their respective categories.
Wyatt has won the Trofeo Pirelli class in Race 1 on Saturday and repeated it for the Race 2 on Sunday. The same thing for Wang as he repeated his victory in Race 2 for Coppa Shell class after doing so in the Race 1.
As for the Pirelli AM class, Race 1 was won by Xin Jin (China) while Han Huilin (China) took the Race 2.
The Ferrari Challenge never fails to entertain and Race 2 on Sunday was nothing shorting of a privilege, to get close to the teams and cars, despite track temperature floating around the 50 degree Celsius range.
About Ferrari Challenge
I believe most of you would know about the Ferrari Challenge by now. But for those who don't, the Ferrari Challenge is a single-make motorsport championship series, primarily for gentlemen racers. Founded in 1993 when a bunch of 348 Berlinetta owners wanted to race their cars, the racing series evolved to different cars, in sync to what the mid-engined V8 road cars Ferrari has to offer at the time.
Since 2007, the F430 Challenge was exclusively used for the series before the 458 Challenge was announced ready for 2011 season. Today, the F430C can still be found alongside 458C in some races, but it is gradually being phased out by the competitors.
Besides Asia Pacific, the Ferrari Challenge is held in two other regions, North America and Europe. Winners from each region will then compete in an annual final race, namely Finali Mondiali. This year, the Finali Mondiali will take place in the Daytona International Speedway, USA.
The 2016 APAC Ferrari Challenge also marks the final year the superior 458C will be used, as the fleet will be replaced with the 488 GTB platform. We can also see that this year's safety car already boasting the turbocharged V8 car.
The grid preparation
After greet-and-meet session at the lounge, we head down to the starting grids to indulge the busyness of the team crews preparing their cars. It is not as hectic, but the crews were quick with their work.
It was less than 10 minutes from the moment we were allowed to the grid and the time when the engines are ignited.
Steve Wyatt started in pole position again; this is after all one of his favourite circuits. With wheel-to-wheel battle with Renaldi Hutasoit (Indonesia) at the start, Wyatt managed to distance himself from the pack after 3 laps.
Wyatt proved unbeatable and repeated his victory on the same weekend. Hutasoit took second place and followed closely by fellow compatriot, David Tjiptobiantoro. Meanwhile, Florian Merckx (Belgium) had to start from the back of the grid due to a pit-lane infringement.
On the newly-resurfaced Sepang Circuit, Wyatt expressed that it was to his favour as he found the track surface to be a lot smoother and has less elevation change, making the cars to be a few seconds quicker.
Xin Jin (China) was determined to continue his winning streak in the Pirelli AM class and is already in the lead up to lap 13 when he had to endure a drive-through penalty. Fellow countryman Huilin Han, who was closely behind him, snatched the opportunity to spread the gap ahead and found himself at the top of the podium. Eric Cheung (Canada) finished second and Jin at the consolatory spot on the podium.
Liang Wang retained his lead in the Coppa Shell class with an easy win over Ken Sato (Japan) and Sam Lok (Hong Kong), the second and third finishers respectively. Seto and Lok simply could not find the opportunity to overtake Wang, despite trying to pull off an exciting come-back.
The Round 5 of 2016 APAC Ferrari Challenge will take place in the Singapore's city street, making a return after 4 years of absence. The Ferrari Challenge will be the support race for Singaporean F1 Grand Prix from Sept 16-18.
The results for Race 1 and Race 2