PETRONAS Syntium Team returns to Malaysia’s largest motoring event

Published on August 4th, 2010

The return of Malaysia’s largest motoring event to mark the country’s independence month will also see the return of the PETRONAS Syntium Team to its home race, the Merdeka Millennium Endurance race.

Following a historic 1-2 finish at last year’s edition of the gruelling 12-hour race, 2010 will see the team return with a line-up of two BMW Z4M Coupes to compete in the revamped GT-class. Hoping to build on their impressive form at the 2010 Super Taikyu Endurance series that has seen the team chalk four race wins out of the four rounds contested so far, the team will sport the competition numbers 1 and 28.

Featuring the unique combination of experience and youth in its pool of drivers, the team’s challenge this year will be spearheaded by 27-year old Malaysian Fariqe Hairuman who will be joined by young Malaysian Melvin Moh Chun-Ho in his first appearance at the MME. Completing the line-up in the team’s No. 1 BMW Z4M Coupe is experienced Japanese driver Tatsuya Kataoka.

Making their third appearance at the MME, Japanese duo Masataka Yanagida and Nobuteru Taniguchi will be piloting the sister No. 28 BMW Z4M Coupe. The duo will this year be joined by the another young Malaysian rookie driver, Imran Zaharias Shaharom.

David Wong, Team Principal, PETRONAS Syntium Team:

“Coming back to compete on our home soil at the country’s largest motoring event is always a welcomed and special occasion for the team. Although the 2010 edition will again see a revised format, the quality of the participants will definitely add to the level of competition we will be up against. Having established itself as great platform for teams from Malaysia and the region to showcase their craft, we can definitely look forward to a great race!

“This year, we are returning to take on the challenge in the new GT-Class with the two BMW Z4M Coupes. Looking at the level of competition in the class, it will be difficult to expect a repeat of the fantastic feat we achieved here last year. Notwithstanding, everyone on the team has been working hard preparing for this race and we are optimistic that we can be competitive.

“As for drivers, we will be returning with the same driver line-up for our campaign in the Super Taikyu Endurance Series. The No. 1 BMW Z4M Coupe will feature the trio of Tatsuya Kataoka, Fariqe Hairuman and Melvin Moh, while the No. 28 car will see the current STES leaders Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Imran Zaharias Shaharom. For the two youngest members of our squad, Melvin and Imran, though this will be their very first MME in our colours, I am confident of what they can achieve.”

Selected driver quotes:

Fariqe Hairuman (MAS), BMW Z4M Coupe, #1

“Being back for the home race is always very special for me. Although 2010 will see me take part in the MMER for the 9th time, what makes it so distinctive is the fact that no two events are ever the same as the atmosphere at the MMER changes every year. Last year was a truly memorable MMER for the team, having achieved a historic target of a 1-2 finish. This year, the organisers have introduced a brand new format and with the addition of new competitors will make the race even more challenging and definitely more interesting. Coming off what is a strong start to our season in Japan, I am hopeful that we will be able to carry the same momentum into the MMER.”

Melvin Moh Chun-Ho (MAS), BMW Z4M Coupe, #1

“I am really looking forward to this race as this is my very first MMER with the PETRONAS Syntium Team. Being our home race it also makes for a very special occasion. I am proud to be able to fly the team’s colours here, in front of our home crowd. Of course there is also a lot of pressure coming back as the defending champions and for a repeat performance. For me, I prefer not to see it that way but rather take this in my stride, take the cue from my more experienced teammates and use every opportunity that comes my way to learn as much as I can.”

Tatsuya Kataoka (JPN), BMW Z4M Coupe, #1

“Although I have come to Sepang many times with the GT races, the MME race always presents something very different every year. Personally, I enjoy racing at Sepang a lot. For a driver, the track has a little bit of everything – a good mix of fast and slow corners. It is a high speed circuit and I particularly like the double S’s, turn 7 and 8 before the hairpin. This year will make it my third visit to the MME and I am really looking forward to racing at the team partners’ PETRONAS’ home race. I am also quite sure we can expect it to be more difficult and more challenging. So I am really looking forward to the MME race!”

Imran Zaharias Shaharom (MAS), BMW Z4M Coupe # 28

“To be here at the team and our partner PETRONAS’ home race is an especially proud moment for me. This is undoubtedly one of the most unique races, not just because it is a 12-hour race but because it has a different feeling to the races we have in Japan. The level of competition and environment is totally different and special. I am really looking forward to it as I hope I can learn as much as possible from this experience.”

Masataka Yanagida (JPN), BMW Z4M Coupe, #28

“For (Tatsuya) Kataoka, (Nobuteru) Taniguchi and me, the Sepang circuit is a track that we are very familiar with because of the GT races held here. For me, it definitely ranks as one of my favourites after Suzuka. Technically, it is challenging especially in the S’s, turns 5 and 6 as well as turns 12 and 13 before the back-straight. When you add to ‘MME’ element of being a long 12 hours race to it, the race presents quite a different challenge. Last year, we had our very best result with the 1-2 finish. This year with the changes in the format and new competition, I am really looking forward to this race!”

words & pix: PETMOS

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