The father-daughter partnership of Stewart Seatter and Nur Natasha Ida remain optimistic on their chances for Round 3 of the Malaysian Super Series (MSS) at Sepang International Circuit (SIC) this weekend, despite acknowledging the superiority of their rivals in terms of top speed and power.
“The secret to winning races is in a good car preparation. And, we have done exactly that for this weekend,” said the veteran Stewart, who would be sharing the Radical SR8 machine with his daughter.
“We have ungraded our brake pads, repaired the structural issue with the rear diffuser undertray. And, yes, we have fitted front lights as per SIC request!” added Stewart, who finished second in Round 2 last month and remained at the top of the championship standings for the GT Open class with 60 points.
Despite a splendid performance by Natasha, who put the team at the front before the driver-change, the partnership was not able to maintain their position; losing to the international partnership of Rodolfo Adila and Vignesa Moorthy – the defending champion for the class.
Stewart said that they had made some analysis of their performance in Round 2 and would be making amends to ensure a stronger performance this weekend.
“As for our race strategies, we aim to improve from the lessons learnt and we should see some faster lap times as a result,” said Stewart, without providing details of the strategy except that Natasha would continue to be the lead driver for the race this Sunday.
“Natasha will again be our secret weapon … but, that’s not such a secret really!” said the former MSS champion, who used to be one of the top drivers in the Asia Classic Car Challenge.
Asked to comment on their higher powered rivals, Stewart agreed that they would be in a disadvantage in terms of power; but was quick to add that the speed difference did not make too much of a difference.
“If you look at the average lap time of Angus (Kirkwood), Noel (Becker) and Vignesa in the last race, you will see we are still highly competitive despite being at a power disadvantage. We carry less weight than they do. In fact, had it not been for the red flag incident, we could have been competing for the win – such was the lead that Natasha had built up. No, we will continue with a car that Tasha can drive well. Maybe next year we will up the power,” said Stewart, adding that he hopes this weekend’s race would run smoothly without any red flags.
Comparing her machine with the one driven by Kirkwood, Natasha said that endurance racing had taken out some of the advantage of the higher-powered machines.
“We both drive SR-8 Radicals. However, he has upgraded his engine to 3.0l. So, it’s much quicker as compared to the rest of us, who have 2.7 l engines. Both versions are allowed and it was definitely an advantage for Angus in Round 1, which ran with two sprint races.
“Endurance racing, however, is something else,” Natasha said in clear reference of the Round 2 contest.
After winning two races in Round 1 and collecting a maximum of 50 points, Kirkwood failed to add to his score from the previous Round 2, which dropped him to second place with the same total number of points.
In the Touring Production class, championship leaders Damian Dielenberg and Tommy Lee, who finished second in the second round, is hopeful to taking their second win for the season.
“In the previous round, the team came in second in class and looks to improve their position for the upcoming race. Some modifications have been made to their car and both drivers are confident of a strong performance. The team will also focus on their pit stop strategy as this is an important aspect in the one-hour endurance race. Competition appears to be intensifying in the class as more cars are entering this weekend,” said Dielenberg.
After two rounds, defending champion Syafiq Ali of Proton R3 Racing had a perfect score in the Malaysian Touring Car (MTC) class – winning all three races including the two sprint races in the opening round.
“Everything seems to be going well for us. I would say that our preparations for this round have been the same. Hopefully, we can continue the winning trend throughout the season,” Syafiq added.
The MSS competitors will have their free practice and qualifying session tomorrow (Saturday) before going for the one-hour endurance contest on Sunday.
The Malaysian Super Series 2013 will promise an exciting race this weekend at Sepang International Circuit, a must see event. Free Grandstand entrance for public while paddock passes are selling at RM50 each and first 200 visitors can look forward to complimentary refreshment pack for Sunday’s thrilling finale. For more info, please log on to www.sepangcircuit.com.
MALAYSIAN SUPER SERIES CARS
Point Standings After Two Rounds
GT Open Class
1.Natasha Seatter/Stewart Seatter (Radical SR8) 60 pts
2. Angus Kirkwood (Radical SR8) 50 pts
3. Vignesa Moorthy/Rodolfo Avila (Radical SR8) 35 pts
4. Rhommell Singh/Rocky Siow (Lotus) 33 pts
5. Adrian D’Silva (Porsche GT3 Cup) 23 pts
6. Noel Becker (Radical SR8) 21 pts
Touring Production Class
1.Damian Dielenberg/Tommy Lee (Honda Integra DC5) 70 pts
2. Perajun Krishnan (Honda Integra DC5) 60 pts
3. Kesavamoorthy Ayyavu (Honda Integra DC5) 33 pts
4. Alan Wong/Chris Tan (Honda Civic FD2) 33 pts
5. Tony Teo (Honda EP3) 28 pts
6. Kenny Lee (Toyota Altezza) 12 pts
Malaysian Touring Car Class
1.Syafiq Ali (Satria Neo) 75 pts
2. James Veerapan (Proton Preve) 50 pts
3. Alvaro Mourato/Andrew Haryanto (Proton Satria Neo) 45 pts
4. Lai Wee Sing/Tai Choo Xiang (Satria Neo) 20 pts
5. Juzaili Jasmay (Satria Neo) 18 pts
6. Kok Pak Chiang/Sutan Mustaffa (Proton Gen 2) 16 pts
Sports Production Class
1.Alif Hamdan (Aston Martin Vantage) 65 pts
2. Steven Chian (Ferrari 360 Challenge) 50 pts
3. Sigit Winarta (Ferrari 430 Challenge) 30 pts
words & pix: SIC