Afiq Ikhwan shows that he still has what it takes to win races when he claimed a fantastic pole to flag finish in JK Racing Asia Series Round 9. The race, held at the historic Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit today, was a clean race held under unusually sunny conditions for the British track.
The Meritus.GP driver completed ten laps of the 5.901km circuit pulling away right from the start, opening up a gap of more than five seconds in the early part of the race. The Malaysian also set the fastest lap of the day when he completed lap four in 2:10.697.
Ikhwan hardly broke a sweat and was delighted with the results today, citing hard work from the team as the winning factor. “Its fantastic to win here and I want to thank my team for a good job for this weekend and most importantly to my sponsor, Petronas.
“It was fantastic to win here in Silverstone, especially when they are celebrating 100 years of the circuit. This was a good race for me and the team. We worked really hard this weekend and we struggled a lot in the previous event so to win here in Silverstone is a fantastic feeling.”
Ikhwan went on to say, “track conditions were a bit slippery but it was an easy drive for me. I didn’t push very hard to save the tyres and anyway, the gap was almost four seconds. We also managed to get the fastest lap, so we proved that we are very competitive and we can put pressure on the other teams. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow.”
After being demoted one grid position after the Qualifying session, Nabil Jeffri was unfazed and maintained a calm race pursuing his competitors from the start. Jeffri started the race in fourth but was happy with the result of the day and appreciated the opportunity to race at Silverstone, citing at the Post Race Press Conference, “I’d like to thank MAL and JK Tyre for bringing the Series to Europe for the third time. It is an honour especially for an Asian to be racing at prestigious circuits.
“I’d also like to thank Eurointernational who gave me a good car, they made a change to the car from yesterday and I am happy with it.” Jeffri also then thanked all his sponsors who have ensured his continued presence in the Series.
“It was unexpected for me to be here in second, I had an okay start and I expected better. Everyone got away easily and I was just behind Ron, Hiqmar and Afiq. The first lap was crucial as I know I had an advantage on cold tyres. As my engineer tells me, the first few laps is where you can make it or break it. So I pushed really hard in the first few laps and I managed to overtake Ron and Hiqmar and I tried hard to catch Afiq but he was too far ahead.”
“On the other hand, I think I did a good job of catching up to him and maintaining a good pace throughout the race. Second is okay, what is important is to not get into any crashes as the points are important for me,” ended Jeffri.
Danial claimed his second podium finish of the season, in third and immediately thanked everyone involved who brought him to the race this weekend. “Firstly, I’d like to thank Eurointernational for giving me a good car for qualifying and for the race. I’d also like to thank my parents and my sponsor who got me here in Silverstone.”
“For the races, I started off really well. Afiq got away in front, kudos to him, he was really fast. My tyres started to wear off as I pushed too hard during qualifying so my laptimes were slow. Nabil caught me and Ron was catching up to me but I managed to hang on to third.”
Danial then continued, “Tomorrow I will have newer tyres that I only used for two laps during the qualifying, so we shall see tomorrow. Its an okay race today as I finished on the podium but we will try for the win tomorrow. I’ll start P2 so I will gun for the win”.
Britain’s Jack Dex finished the race in sixth for SWB Motorsport. He was happy with the overall weekend so far but is looking to improve his pace for the race tomorrow. Dex mentioned that it was harder to get used to the car rather than the circuit despite never having experienced either before this weekend.
Guest driver Akhil Khushlani from India competed with the US Formula Project racing team. The youngster was away from racing for a year but immediately got back on pace but his race was marred by an overheating engine which caused him to make a pit-stop halfway through the race.
In the end, Khushlani finished in eighth but was happy overall with his weekend so far. “It was going well for the first few laps. I was going really strong and I was fighting for fourth and third but the engine was overheating and I didn’t want it to cease for the next race so I had to come in. The team made a few changes and once that was done, I went back out.”
“I finished eighth but with the third fastest lap so I am kind of satisfied. Its been a year’s gap but I am still very much on pace. Hopefully next race I can be defending up there and hope I wont have any issues. It could have been better but it was unfortunate,” he ended.
The JK Racing Asia Series will continue at Silverstone with Round 10 scheduled for Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 2.55pm (local time).
words: Motorsport Asia pix: Jakob Ebrey Photography