Malaysia’s teenage karting sensation Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdul Gafar scored a sensational second place at the opening round of the prestigious WSK Euro Series to record his first ever podium win Italy.
Held at Muro in the city of Leccese, the 11-year old Muizzuddin, who competes in the 60 Mini category and battling against older karters up to 13 years old, put up a strong performance over the weekend; taking third place in qualifying and heats before cruising to another third in the pre-final race on Race Day yesterday.
That allowed Muizzuddin, who raced for Gamoto Racing, to start the final race from the second row, where he immediately gained a place behind his team mate Eliseo Martinez in the opening lap. But, with just two laps to go, as a consequence of a contact, Muizzuddin was forced to move back sixth and then eventually finished fourth for the race. But, race stewards later penalized Indian Kush Maini and Italian Lorenzo Colombo, who finished the race second and third respectively, for the tangles; promoting Muizzuddin to second and a place on the podium. The 10-lap race was won Martinez with Leonardo Marseglia of Comer Top Kart taking third place.
Commenting on his achievement, Muizzuddin said: “I am very happy … it’s a very difficult race. There were a lot of good karters coming from all over Europe and a few Asian riders like Maini and me. I have to push the kart very hard and I am delighted to finish second.
“I had the Jalur Gemilang with me at the podium … I am very proud to fly the Jalur Gemilang at the podium,” said Muizzuddin, who was unlucky at the opening round of another series – the WSK Masters Series – where he finished 14th after being involved in an incident.
In the race that was also held at La Conca, Muizzuddin was among the front-runners in the opening heats on Friday and Saturday with a first, a 2nd and a third placing. But, his race was spoiled by a three-car contact that day.
Contacted by phone, Muizzuddin said: “Hopefully, this podium win will mark the start of better things this season … Next, we go to Lonata for the international Trofeo Andrea Margutti.
“This is a very classic event … it’s like Monaco for F1. But, this one is for go-kart,” said Muizzuddin, who also competes in the CSAI Italian Go-Kart Championship, which is his top priority.
Running for four rounds, Round 2 for the WSK Euro Series will be held at Zuerra in Spain from March 20 to 24 with the third round at Sarno circuit in Italy. Round 4 would be held at the end of May at a venue to be announced later.
The CSAI Italian Championship would run in five round with the opening round scheduled at Sarno Circuit from April 25 to 28. Last year, in his first full season, Muizzuddin finished 11th overall from a field of 56 karters.
His strong performance, though, caught the eye of CRG, a world renowned chassis maker in go-karting, which has now put him as their factory driver for the 2103 season.
Apart from the CSAI Italian Championship, the WSK Euro Series and the WSK Masters Series, Muizzuddin, who lives in Sicily with his mother to race full time in Europe, also competes in the Italian ROK Championship and selected regional championships this season.
words & pix: Prima Motorsports