The hype building up to Round 3 of Saturday Night Fever Challenge Series (SNF) truly lived up to expectations when racing resumed at the South Track of the Sepang Circuit on 6 July 2013 following a 1-week postponement due to technical safety issues. It was an action packed race featuring no less than 100 cars and bikes, and fans were filling up the best vantage points to capture the action and drama.
Seasoned racer Keifli Othman made his debut this season in the Race Cars category, taking the fight to the category’s leaders. Driving team Fast Autoworks Honda EG6, the stage was set for him to battle it out with the likes of Boy Wong and his Type R Racing teammates, and last year’s Champion Akina Teo from team ST Wangan.
For the final heat, the crowd was looking forward to a great fight between the three, and true enough, drama unfolded: as the cars approached the first turn many thought an incident would surely occur but they all got through safe and sound only for things to mess up at the next corner – turn 2 (turn 9 full circuit). With the field still bunch up closely, Keifli was accidentally tapped from behind by a late-braking KK Soh which spun him into the grass on the outside verge.
Keifli then produced a stunning drive to chase the leaders, making his way back up to 3rd but unable to make up for the loss of time, as Boy Wong and Akina put on a scintillating display of race prowess by obliterating the field. Boy eventually won with a 1.3 second margin over Akina, both of them 30-seconds ahead of the rest!
More drama was on the agenda with the Mini, Special Kei and the Super 1.5 categories final heat race which features a mixture of Minis, Perodua Kancil Turbos, Toyota Starlet Turbos, and Proton Satria Turbos. Close racing by the top drivers in each of these categories produced a mighty battle which unfortunately ended in tears.
All three categories run independently of each other, but they race together during the heat.
So with this, it was actually a battle between the Super 1500 cars against the Kancil Turbos and the Minis. Well, at least one Classic Mini driven by Syafiq Ali.
Syafiq is one of the rising stars in the Malaysian Touring Car scene and you have to be there to see this young man display his talent on track. If you’ve never seen a Classic Mini take Turn 12 flat out at 140km/h with opposite lock, you’re not alone: the crowd went wild every time Syafiq drifted by in the little wonder!
During the final heat race it was Jamarosazman Jamal (Satria 1.5 Turbo) versus Logesvaran A/L Kaliaperumal (Kancil Turbo) versus Syafiq Ali (Mini Cooper 1.3), and the three were racing nose-to-tail for the first 2 laps, Logesvaran looming large in the rear-view mirror of Jamarosazman. Heading into Turn 11 in lap 3, Logesvaran dived in to make a move on Jamarosazman and clipped his rear, spinning the Satria Turbo mid-corner and leaving it stranded on-track. The yellow lights came on, but not in time for 3rd place Siva Suriyan who came charging around the corner and horrifyingly slammed straight into Jamarosazman’s Satria.
Thankfully both drivers were safe, and the Safety Car was called out as the wreckage was cleared. When the race recommenced, it was Logesvaran and his Kancil Turbo that took the chequered flag, only to receive a fine and 30-second time penalty for his involvement in the incident.
So in their respective classes, Syafiq Ali took the honour for Mini Classic, with Mohd Henzee Hamza taking the top steps in the Special Kei, and Ahmad Firdaus / Alex Chow winning Super 1.5.
The highly anticipated Campro category battle diminished after Roland Ooi suffered another technical problem with his car, but the crowd was not to be disappointed as a new fight came from a previous Petronas Touring car driver: Syahrizal Jamaludin. Running together with the Street 1.8 NA and 4G1x categories, in the opening laps of the qualifying heat, Roland was in a class of his own pulling away from the rest of his class and challenging the larger capacity cars. As fate would have it, the mechanical gremlins struck and Roland pulled off on the grass approaching turn 9, eventually ending his racing for the night.
In the final heat, things got hot as Syahrizal’s Neo ran close to Azlan Rabu in the Gen2, with Syahrizal consistently running 1m21 laptimes to bring his car within 1.8s of Azlan Rabu at the chequered flag. Impressively, both Campro contenders were dicing hard with some of the 1.8 NA boys, to the great delight of the spectating crowd!
In the end, Azlan Rabu (who’s sharing his driving duties with owner Izwan Baharom) took first overall in the Campro class followed by Syahrizal / Azieman in second, with Ady Hafiz Adnan in third. Johan Haron Jaafar took the top step for Street 1.8 NA after on-road winner and championship leader Gan Kim Koa was disqualified for weaving and not following appropriate start procedure, while M. Khairul and partner M. Ataq secured the top spot in the categories for Sagas: the 4G1X class!
SuperStreet and Street 1.8 VTEC did not feature many cars this round, and ended up becoming a demonstration of some very fast lap times. Sharing the driving duties with Suhaimi Shukor, Mark Darwin simply blasted the opposition away behind the wheel of the special Honda Civic EK9 Turbo. With a lap time of 1:10.890 the next fastest car running together albeit in different class was Phillip Tang’s Honda Civic EF9 with a time of 1:15.567. The Civic driven by Suhaimi Shukor and Mark Darwin is the new benchmark for quick lap times for the South Circuit.
In the SNF Moto 150 category, the absence of Kenny Lee meant the fight was between Mohd Zaki Misman, Mohd Edzwan Mohd Esa and Mohd Fauzi Roslee who rounded up the podium spots for the night, with Zaki a whole 3-seconds ahead of the rest. He’s always been a top contender in Moto 150, and now takes the lead of the Championship. In the Moto 135 class, Amir Zafry and teammate Mohd Fazreel Razali from team Pjohn Motor were in a class of their own and mixing with the larger cc riders took the top two steps of the podium, followed by Mohd Zaidi Ramli in third place.
The next round SNF Series is scheduled on the weekend of September 21, where another varied and exciting grid of the nation’s most spectacular cars and riders will gather to re-engage battles throughout the field. So as we head to the Ramadan break, the teams and drivers have a good 2 months to get their machinery in order.
Full race results and the latest updates are available on http://SNF.my.
words: SNF pix: Enche Froggie