It will be another spectacular outing as the JK Racing Asia Series visits the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend, the midway mark of the 2012 season. This the Series’ second European outing as it heads to be part of the Blancpain Endurance Series – Total 24 Hours of Spa, with another close battle expected amongst the top contenders.
The teams enjoyed their first excursion to Europe at Paul Ricard earlier this month and for Nabil Jeffri especially he achieved what he set out to do.
“What is important are the points. I am leading the Championship by seven points and that was my goal for the weekend” he said after the races in France.”
Jeffri leads the Championship after claiming the Round 5 win and a second place in Round 6, placing him seven points ahead of his teammate, Aston Hare. South African Rookie driver, Hare, has been on the podium in five out of six races taking two wins and collecting valuable points along the way. The 16-year old has always been able to push the more experienced drivers whilst staying calm throughout.
For Meritus.GP’s Afiq Ikhwan, luck was not on his side at the start of the season. He has faced tough outings at every event before finally claiming his maiden win at Paul Ricard. The Malaysian is still positive that he will be able to catch up and win the Championship, something he has been eyeing since last year when Lucas Auer managed to just snatch it away from him at the last race.
The JK Racing Asia Series drivers will face many challenges on this legendary circuit including the lack of data for their first outing. The track walk scheduled prior to the race was crucial for the drivers to really get to know the circuit, to see the undulations and the 19 corners up close.
They will also be faced with uncertain weather conditions as Spa is notorious for being unpredictable when it comes to weather forecasts, with rain expected on race days. It has also been said that this circuit shows the importance of driver skill, especially at the infamous Eau Rouge, which is taken at full throttle by the brave to prepare for the long straight which follows. Only the most confident will know how to really push the limits here.
One of those expected to push is Eurointernational’s Irfan Ilyas, who lies fourth in the points table, just eleven points short from Ikhwan. Ilyas’ Eurointernational teammate Tan Wei Ron and Meritus.GP’s Aidan Wright share sixth in the points table with sixty points. Absent driver Akash Nandy remains fifth for now whilst he sits out much of the rest of the season for his school examinations.
Following them is Eurasia Motorsport’s Hiqmar Danial Hidzir who went to Paul Ricard with plenty of expectations but left only with disappointment after both his races were incident filled. One was an incident with his teammate, Josh Raneri and the other he suffered from a flat tyre leaving him down the points chart in seventh.
South Africa newcomer, Ernie Van Der Walt, showed his abilities right from the start of the practice sessions at the last event. His impressive first outing immediately pushed him up the points table, leaving Raneri and Meritus.GP driver, Toby Earle’s right to take the final points places.
Joining them once again in Spa is Aditya Patel from India for US Formula Project. Patel made an impressive first outing when he had some of the more interesting battles throughout the weekend with guest drivers Sean Walkinshaw and Chris Vlock and Meritus.GP’s Wright.
Qualifying for the JK Racing Asia Series is scheduled to be held on Thursday, 26th July 2012 at 3.30pm (local time) with Race 1 (Round 7) on Friday, 27th July at 10.55am whilst Race 2 (Round8) is scheduled for Saturday, 28th July at 9.55am.
All of the five circuits that the series visits in 2012 are Formula 1 circuits which are crucial to driver development in preparing them for higher levels of racing. The JK Racing Asia Series is recognised by the World Governing Body for Motorsport, the Federation Intenationale De L’Automobile (FIA), as having special status that allows for young inexperienced drivers to participate on a National License. The reason for this is that the Series provides them with an Education and Coaching programme that teaches them all aspects of what it takes to build a career in motorsport.
The JK Racing Asia Series uses the 140bhp FB02, which has an unrivalled track record for training future Champions and developing them for a success with graduates at the highest level of the sport such as Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastien Buemi in Formula 1, Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto in GP2, Jazeman Jaafar, Sebastian Saveedra and Carlos Sainz Jr in British F3, and many more. This coupled with the highest safety standards, makes the FB02 the most suitable machine for up and coming drivers to learn on.
JK Tyre & Industries, the leading tyre manufacturer in India, is the title partner for the JK Racing Asia Series.
The JK Racing Asia Series is supported by Cody Maxx, SPA Design and official logistics agent, JAS Worldwide.
The JK Racing Asia Series is organised by Motorsport Asia Ltd.
words & pix: Motorsport Asia