MSF fans got to see a high-quality and thrilling 2018 season opener at the Sepang International Circuit. The new season of the championship series welcomed new sponsors Fleet Battery and Fawster Motorsports making their presence felt, and also had additional categories with the Super Production 1500 NA and the Street 2000 NA making its debut. These additions has made the 2018 MSF Championship even more colourful while the racing continued its tradition of producing some of the best close racing in the national championship.
Although some of the celebrated drivers were missing from the starting grid, but rumours were circling that they’ll be back sometime during the season. Taking full advantage of this are the regular runners and some new faces making their debut who took this opportunity to score as many points as they can to extend the championship down to the wire. Along with more than 160 cars competing in the opening round, this would make the season’s championship another surreal experience!
Race Cars Open
Team SITTY-DNT Racing Makes Solid MSF Start
For team SITTY-DNT Racing, the way to their victory in the season opener victory was anything but a walk in the park. For this season last year’s champion Akid Azlee has combined with Mark Darwin to share their driving duties for not 1 but in 3 categories in the championship. Their strategy is obviously to maximize their chances for their championship hunt in the various categories and albeit with some difficulties, it worked to their advantage in the season opener.
Race 1 began with a flurry of actions with SITTY-DNT’s Akid/Mark, Azlan Malik from Wenso Racing and Faidzil Alang with his turbo-charged Fleetoil Racing’s Honda Civic EG making their charged going into turn 1 once the lights turn green. The trio were not alone as they had a train of high-speed pursuers piling on the pressure behind them namely Smartroleum-Evotec’s Shazull Hisham, Smartroleum-Prodrag’s Shamir Aizan and team element 115’s Mohd Hasrul/Mohd Hanif all jostling for positions on the opening lap.
This went on during the opening laps until positions changed towards the end of lap 1 amongst the leading trio. Both Azlan and Faidzil weren’t about to hang on behind Akid/Mark’s car and by lap 2 they managed to pass the former, but the trio remained close and it was only on lap 3 that Faidzil made the pass on Azlan to move into 1st position, a position he held right on to the flag. Behind the leading pair Akid/Mark held on to third position finishing ahead of Shazull followed by Mohd Hasrul/Mohd Hanif.
Race 2 began with Azlan Malik once again making a lighting start but this time he was upstaged by the fast moving Shamir who managed to get into the lead momentarily during in the first 2 laps. The pair seemed to be equal on pace in the beginning but were soon joined by the SITTY-DNT’s duo of Akid/Mark whose car seems to have the legs over them in the long run. Faidzil who previously displayed that he had the speed in the first race did not make the start as he was bogged down with some car issue.
This meant that Akid/Mark, Shazull and Mohd Hasrul/Mohd Hanif were left to fight in the premier category, and especially for the former, they were closing in fast on the leading duo. As the laps progress Akid/Mark were right on the tail of the leading duo and one by one they pass the leading duo giving them the lead. The SITTY-DNT car seems to have the measure over a long distance and by the time they crossed the line they had an advantage of 7.557 seconds ahead of second place man Akid who was followed by Shamir in third albeit 9.638 seconds behind.
Race Car 1800
Team SITTY-DNT Makes It A Double In Race Car 1800 Opener
It was a great day for team SITTY-DNT as drivers Akid Azlee and Mark Darwin won both races in the Race Car 1800 category of the 2018 Malaysia Speed Festival championship season opener. The team won the race ahead of Nanthan Kumar from Fast Autowork in the first race, while in the second race they crossed the line ahead of KanjoR–DNT drivers Ahmad Shab/Fadlihisham.
SITTY-DNT claimed the lead right from the start of Race 1 and began to pull up a big gap from the field. Nanthan, Lim Puay Soong from team Autolite Racing and Ahmad Shab/Fadlihisham followed suit and were in no contention of making any challenges with the lead car. While the following trio was having their own battle which remained in that respective order till the end, Akid/Mark scored the category’s first win of the season by crossing the line 18 seconds ahead of Nanthan.
Race 2 was slightly tougher for SITTY-DNT drivers as they had to fend off the challenge from KanjoR–DNT drivers Ahmad Shab/Fadlihisham. Although the KanjorR-DNT car was always in their mirrors Akid/Mark could for most of the time, resist their challenge and as the laps came down they managed to draw away, crossing the line in first place with a 2.5 seconds advantage over the second place car. Coming home in third place was Autolite Racing’s Lim Puay Soong who was being pursuit to the line by Fleetoil Racing Team’s Mohamed Hafez/Gan Kiat Huat who incredibly, displayed that their small powered Perodua Kancil Turbo had the speed to keep up with the larger cars.
Race Car 1600
Desmond Doubles Up
A popular race category which has attracted some teams from other championship series, this season is no different and there were some new challenges as the race unfold. N1 Racing’s Desmond Yee signed off the season’s opener by winning both races and on those two occasions he was being challenged hard by a rejuvenated team FTuned Racing.
As the cars line-up for Race 1 it was looking like it was going to be another race between last season’s champion Dream Chaser and N1 Racing, and not many figured that another team would rise to the occasion, and challenge them hard. Enter team FTuned Racing who have now collaborated with Carroof Motorsport and has added an additional car to their squad.
As the lights went green Desmond was in control heading into turn 1 but he was briefly interrupted by the fast charging Mirza Syahmi from #452 FTuned Racing who’s car seem to be quick off the mark. As they exited turn 2 the pair were soon joined by Dream Chaser’s Brendan Paul/CY Ong and were marching away from their category’s field.
This was a very swift race between the leading trios with Desmond having a slight advantage over his pursuers as the lead FTuned Racing’s car was having a battle with team Dream Chaser which imped their progress a little bit, and with the pair swapping places during the opening laps.
With Desmond having a clear path ahead he crosses the line in first place followed by the Mirza Syahmi who finally has managed to shake off the hard charging Brendan who finished third in his debut season.
The tense moments of first race is not over yet for Desmond as in Race 2 he once again had to fend off the attacks from the same #452 FTuned Racing’s car but this time with ex-works driver Syahrizal Jamaluddin behind the wheel.
Again Desmond did his remarkable start going into turn 1 closely followed by Syahrizal and Brendan/CY Ong and the trio stay in close contention throughout most of the opening laps. With Syahrizal having a busy task of defending the charges from Brendan/CY Ong, this gave Desmond the opportunity to pull away from his main rivals, an advantage he kept and giving him his second win of the day.
While most were hoping to see second and third positions battle right to the wire, circumstances changed as the Dream Chaser’s car came to a halt on lap 3. With this outcome Syahrizal’s second place is secured and FTuned Racing had more reasons to celebrate as the sister #59 FTuned Racing’s car driven by Soffiz Hardy/Wan Ahmad Farouk finished in third position.