Earlier in the evening, the heavy downpour somehow signaled that this year’s MMER will be a wet race for the first time. Surely it would be an interesting one. Nevertheless, by 8pm the skyline of Sepang was clear as crystal with stars visible to the naked eyes. The breeze of the wind kept the crews dry without sweats trickling down their forehead despite the pits’ bustling with activities.
As the hours passed by, 45 minutes before the race started, all the race machines were at the grid, all prepped-up to battle it all out throughout the night. Majority of participation in MMER2013 were made up of the Touring Production with 16 cars in total dominated by the Honda makes. There were 10 cars in the GT3 category whilst in the GTC and Sports Production, 4 cars in each class respectively.
The two top spots out of 10 cars at the grid in the GT3 class were dominated by Petronas Syntium Team # 1 and #28 followed by Craft Racing #007. Clearwater Racing #7 overtakes Petronas Syntium Team #1 over closely tailgating in the 15th lap and climbed to third spot. Petronas Syntium Team #1 spun off the tarmac in the 16th lap. NISMO Athlete Global Team #35 lost its left rear tyre during the 25th lap. In the 40th lap, Craft Racing #007 had mechanical problem and lost its lead.
In the first four hours of the race, AF Corse #3 led the race as Mika Salo took over the steering and overtook Petronas Syntium Team #1 completing 107laps a lap ahead of the second car. Clearwater Racing #7 car which held the top spot in the third hour fell back to third. 10 minutes after the fourth hour Petronas Syntium Team #1 went dead upon pit lane entry while #28 was not moving at the third corner giving way to Clearwater Racing #7 and Lago Racing #23 to take over the top spot behind AF Corse #3.
From the get go, it was a close race between Tiger Absolute Racing #66 Audi R8 LMS Cup, BRT1 Absolute Racing #5 Audi R8 LMS Cup, ARC Bralislava #077 Porsche 997 Cup, and BRT2 Absolute Racing #15 Audi R8 LMS Cup.
Up to the 50th lap, Tiger Absolute Racing Audi #66 kept its lead in the category. BRT2 Absolute Racing #15 led the race in the fourth hour ahead of Tiger Absolute Racing #66 followed by ARC Bralislava #077.
Fawster Motorsports #53 led the pack in the Sports Production overtaking Mike Racing #96 in between the first ten laps. #6 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 from Thailand looked like it drifted all the way as smoke came out from the right tyre at 62nd laps.
In the Touring Production category, Jim Hunter Racing #77 aggressively led the rest of the competitors starting from the first ten laps followed by N1 Racing Team #90 and #60 from Thailand. N1 Racing #83 suffered from electronically failure during the 12th laps making it the first to fall in MMER2013.
In the fourth lap, Wing Hin Motorsport #86 took a leap to the second spot behind Jim Hunter Racing #77 2 laps behind. JC Racing #63 completed the top spot in its category.
Within the next four hours, It was clearly that the three year champion in the GT3 class, Petronas Syntium Team has lost its dominance in MMER. Mechanical failure had both cars pitted for quite some time. Car #28 suffered a blown engine. With Petronas Syntium Team out of the equation, it was a battle between Clearwater Racing #7, AF Course #3 and Lago Racing #23 for the top spot as the race entered the eighth hour.
In the GTC category, Tiger Absolute Racing #66 led in its class 18 laps ahead its closest contender, BRT1 Absolute Racing#5 while in Sports Production, Lotus Evora GT4 #99 took over the lead followed by Mike Racing #96 and Fawster Motorsports #53.
Touring Production endurance machines were dropping like flies in the fourth hour, with the regular team such as Type R Racing Team #21, Team ST Powered #22 and #11. The dominating team in the first four hours, Jim Hunter Racing #77 also fell victim and DNF after completing 134 laps. JC Racing #63 led the pack with Wing Hin Motorsport #86 constantly gaining momentum followed by N1 Racing Team #90.
Within the last two hours, Petronas Syntium Team #1 DNF after completing 218 laps ending the race prematurely for the team due to oil pressure problem. The top spot changed again as AF Course #3 pitted, giving way to Naza Nexus Racing #27 to complete the top spot led by Clearwater Racing #7 and Lago Racing #23.
Tiger Absolute Racing #66 led the GTC class comfortably followed by BRT1 Absolute Racing #5 and ARC Bralislava #077. It was the same case in the Sport Production as #99 Lotus Evora GT4 led the pack two laps ahead of Mike Racing #96 with Fawster Motorsports #53.
In the touring production, JC Racing #63 spearheaded the rest 5 laps ahead Wing Hin Motorsport #86 which slowed down and came to a complete stop twice on the track before joining the race again. Despite the hiccups, #86 seems reluctant to retire. With another one and a half hour to finish, Wing Hin Motorsport #86 struggle to keep up and was overtaken by a Thailand team bearing #60 ahead of them by two laps.
With another 40 minutes to go, it seems that all the categories already have their winners except for Touring Production as the battle the third spot goes on between N1 Racing #55 and Wing Hin Motorsport #86. As Wing Hin Motorsport #86 turned out to have some kind of problem and leaving the game to be played by the rest of teams as well as Wing Hin Motorsport #88.
Another half an hour to finish, most of the teams were pushing their machines to the limit. The lack of sleep as well as fatigue had some of the cars close to meet with an incident. Lotus Evora GT4 #99 had to be towed out as it slither to a stop leaving Mike Racing #96 to dominate the Sports Production category comfortably ahead of Fawster Motorsports #53. Lotus Evora GT4 #99 was penalized and excluded from the race as it broke the regulations by having their mechanics on the track.
Another ten minutes to go, JC Racing #63 which led its class had become a smoke machine before coming to an abrupt stop being the last team to DNF leaving the top spot to be snatched away by a Thai machine bearing #60. It must have been quite disappointing for the team to DNF with another 10 minutes to complete the race.
MMER 2013 was concluded with Clearwater Racing #7 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 driven by Mok Weng Sun/ H. Hamaguchi/ Craig Baird completing 323 laps followed by Lago Racing #23 Lamborghini LP560-4 driven by Roger Lago/David Russell/Peter Kox completing 317laps followed by AF Course #3 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 driven by Pasin Lathuras/Mika Salo/Michele Rugolo.
In the GTC, Tiger Absolute Racing #66 Audi R8 LMS Cup reigned supreme. The team was driven by Jacky Yeung/Alex Yoong/Ashraff Dewal completing 303laps. Second was BRT Absolute Racing #5 Audi R8 LMS Cup driven by Ren Wei/Sun Bo/Yang Xi/He Yi/Wu Zhou completing 275laps. The podium was completed by ARC Bralislava #077 Porsche 977 Cup driven by Miro Konopka/Christian Kranenberg/Daniel Bilski completing 237laps.
As for the Sports Production, Mike Racing #96 Aston Martin GT4 driven by Michael Chua/Joseph Chua/Rick Cheang Wan Chin led the pack completing 272laps followed by Fawster Motorsport #53 Fairlady 350Z driven by Faidzil Alang/Mohamed Nazir/Mohamed Ridzwan/Khairul Anwar completing 256laps and Aston Martin Vantage GT4 #6 driven by Naputt Assakul/Rudolf Man/Umar A Rahman completing 187laps.
The Thai boys made their mark in the Touring Production with #60 Civic Type R driven by Shuipang Kanjanapas/Kantadhlee Kusir/Anothai Eamlumnow/Peeraphong Eamlumnow/Kantasak Kusuri completing 267laps, followed by N1 Racing Team #55 Civic Type R driven by Hsio Tung Wei/Eric Lo/Badrul Hisham. The podium was completed by Team ST Powered #44 Civic Type R driven by Mike Teh/Ong Way Tat/Ben Oh.
words: hage’ pix: Hazwan Najims