Both Nabil Jeffri and Aston Hare never faltered throughout the two ten lap JK Racing Asia Series races held today at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The Eurointernational teammates won their respective races from pole positions in Rounds 3 & 4.
In Round 3, Malaysian Jeffri got off to a great start to claim his second win of the 2012 season while his Eurointernational teammate, Hare, claimed his third. The young South African was happy with the result but was confident if he had a few more laps, he would have been able to challenge for the win.
At the post race press conference, Jeffri was quick to thank his team, “they did a good job in giving me a good car. Better than yesterday’s. I had a good start and from the start itself I pulled away and made a gap with Afiq. When I looked in the mirror at the first lap, Afiq wasn’t there anymore so the pressure wasn’t there. But then came Aston and he made everything harder.
“I just kept pushing and stayed relaxed at the same time but the gap just kept decreasing and I was worried he is going to come, so I just kept pushing. I know he had the pace as well and I know I just had to finish myself.
“The alignment of the car was a bit offset from yesterday but the tyres are really good but got a bit worn towards the end” ended Jeffri.
For Hare, he wasn’t too pleased with his start, “Afiq got the run off me off the line. Going into the first corner, I made sure not to touch anybody and went through clean. Then Afiq went off into turn four but other than that it was a good race.
“We had strong pace towards the end of the race”. Hare kept pushing right to the end of the race to try for first, “I thought there was a chance, but there were not enough laps”.
In third was Eurasia Motorsport’s Hiqmar Danial Hidzir who kept a consistent pace throughout the race after taking Meritus.GP’s Akash Nandy for third on lap three. “I had a good start and overtook one car. I tried to take Aston at the start but I couldn’t get through as I was on the outside and he went down on the inside line.
“So I thought I would try to catch him later but then Afiq came from nowhere behind me and I had to fight with him for two laps but I managed to get away from him. Then I tried to catch up with Aston”.
After being passed by Hidzir, Nandy then had to fend off the attacks of his teammate, Afiq Yazid, who by lap four managed to take fourth leaving Nandy to finish fifth.
Finishing the race in sixth behind them was Eurointernational’s Irfan Ilyas who made a climb from ninth, followed by rookie Australian Josh Raneri, Indian driver Raj Bharath, Singaporean Calvin Seibl and Australian Aidan Wright completed the top ten.
Tan Wei Ron finished the race at the back of the pack after an early race incident caused a slow puncture, leaving him having to pit to change tyres. “I got hit on turn four and got a puncture so I had to come in early to change, that’s how I lost all the position. The next race I am starting fifth so I’m hoping for the best”.
In Round 4, Hare got off to a good start but was challenged by Nandy at the first few turns. Both drivers went into turn 1 side by side before Hare got a better line and began to push to maintain the lead, which he kept all the way to the chequered flag.
“The car was good, but its still early in the Season with many rounds to go so you can never be too happy with the results. I definitely think we have work to do and we will improve onwards in the next few rounds” said Hare at the post race Press Conference.
“There is definitely strong competition. You can never relax in this sport. You just keep pushing and see how it goes” he ended. Hare now leads the Championship by five points to his teammate, Jeffri and also leads the Rookie Championship from Wright and Raneri.
Behind Hare and Nandy was Ilyas who maintained his position in third while keeping up with the lead two while Jeffri began his move up the grid battling with Aidan Wright and Tan Wei Ron for fourth. By the end of the first lap, Jeffri managed to find his way past the duo into fourth and began his attack on Ilyas.
The last two laps were intense with Nandy defending his position from Jeffri when on the back straight, Jeffri followed Nandy’s slipstream into the last turn before pushing hard at the main straight into turn one taking the inside line, overtaking Nandy and making the manoeuvre stick to claim second.
Jeffri said “I’m happy to finish second, despite all the good drivers Irfan, Akash who were quite tough to pass. From sixth to second was the best I could do. Aston was too far ahead and I knew the pace I had was the same as his so second was a good result for me”.
Nandy said, “We had a really hard race today, the weather was really hot. I had a good start and tried to take Aston at turn 1 but his braking was just so much better than mine”.
On the fight with Jeffri, “I tried to keep him behind me but he is really experienced compared to me so we had a good fight and I managed to finish on the podium”.
Ilyas finished the race in fourth while behind him, the pack remained well behaved with fifth placed Aidan Wright, Tan Wei Ron, Danial Hidzir, Josh Raneri, Raj Bharath and Visnu Prasad maintaining their top ten positions all the way to the chequered flag.
Meanwhile, Yazid who started the race last, moved up the ranks to seventh and was catching up to the front when he and his teammate, Wright made contact. Yazid damaged his wing and began to lose positions, eventually finishing the race in eleventh.
Meritus.GP driver, Toby Earle was given a drive through penalty for a false start, which he took on lap 3, dropping him to the back of the pack. He was not able to recover positions and finished the race in 12th.
For Indian driver Bharath, he was not too happy that he did not manage to reach his target but considering the situation, he will take the weekend as a lesson learnt. “It was a pretty good weekend. I managed to grab a couple of top ten finishes. In the first race I was just trying to get my rhythm back so the other three races were decent, I would say.
“I would like to thank JK Tyre, Motorsport Asia, Cornerstone and my parents mainly for helping me to get here this weekend,” he ended with a smile.
For Vishnu Prasad it was a hard four race weekend, “It was a hard weekend but I achieved what I came here to do. To get the pace down and to get closer to the faster guys, I got it down by six or seven seconds so I am pretty happy with it. It was all I got and I could do this much and I hope I can do another race and be at the top.
“I’ve learnt that its very tough competition here for one and its going to be a lot tougher if I am going to do it again so maybe do a couple more tests before the next race to get up there with the faster guys”.
JK Racing Asia Series is scheduled for its first European race on 29 June to 1 July 2012 at Paul Ricard Circuit in France during the Blancpain Endurance Series.
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.
words & pix: Motorsport Asia
The JK Racing Asia Series is organised by Motorsport Asia Ltd.