Monday, August 23, 2010

ARTA HSV-010 gets first win of the season

GT500 class winner for the Round 6 of the 2010 AUTOBACS Super GT Series that was held at the Suzuka Circuit in conjunction with the 39th International Pokka GT Summer Special on 22 August 2010 was team ARTA HSV-010 with drivers Ralph Firman, Yuji Ide and Takashi Kobayashi, bagging their first win of the season.

Team ARTA HSV-010 started from the front row of the grid in pole position with Yuji Ide as the starting driver. The team completed the 121 laps of the 5.807-kilometre Suzuka Circuit in 4 hours 7 minutes 10.085 seconds.

The Motul AUTECH GT-R finished the race in second overall in the GT500 category with just 22 seconds behind team ARTA HSV-010 whilst Team RAYBRIG HSV-010 managing third overall in the GT500 category.

Ralph Firman was relieved with the win at Suzuka Circuit and was delighted that it was the team's first win in their ARTA HSV-010 for the season, even though it was a tough season so far. With the win at Suzuka, the team can now look forward to the remainder of the races for the season with a bigger confidence for the team as well as the drivers.

Yuji Ide added that he was also delighted as it was his first pole start for him for quite some time, as he managed to stay calm and get a good head start for the race.

"Since joining the ARTA team this year, I had not been able to contribute to a good race result, so I wanted to win here. What was the reason for my tears after the race? There are really just too many reasons.", he added.

Team R&D Sport Legacy B4 emerged as winners in the GT300 class with drivers Tetsuya Yamano and Kota Sasaki, after starting from 11th position on the GT300 class grid.

The teams will now move on to Round 7 of the AUTOBACS 2010 Super GT at Fuji Speedway for the OKAYAMA GT 300 kilometre Race round the 4.563-kilometre Fuji Speedway track on 12 September 2010.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BRNO Tests

Bad weather at Brno afforded the MotoGP teams just half a day's testing in the second and final official one-day post-GP session schedule, setting their self up for the rest of the eight races for the 2010 MotoGP Season.

Jorge Lorenzo of the Fiat Yamaha Team, who picked up from where he left-off during the first session the day before, was still the fastest round the track with a total time of 1 minute 56.269 seconds whilst his team-mate Valentino Rossi, only able to clock fourth fastest with a total time of 1 minute 57.129 seconds.

The Fiat Yamaha team tested their new engine upgrade as well as a new suspension setting for their M1 bikes for both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo, on the other hand, was able to complete some laps on Yamaha's 2011 prototype YZR-M1.

Being the fastest round the track, Jorge Lorenzo was happy with the 2-day post-GP official tests held at Brno, as he finds that the tests were important and rather interesting for them. Unfortunately, the heavy rain forced all the teams to stop early.

Casey Stoner of the Ducati Marlboro Team managed to clock second fastest completing yesterday's post-GP test session with his team-mate Nicky Hayden, only managing tenth fastest on the time sheets. Nicky Hayden who injured his left wrist was riding a more conservative lap round the track to ensure he is able to be back to full fitness in time for his home race at Indianapolis on 29 August.

"We tried a new fork today and as far as we could tell, the feeling is positive. Unfortunately we were only able to get a couple of hours in this morning because immediately after lunch, it started to rain and we couldn't complete the test.", Casey Stoner of the Ducati Marlboro Team.

Meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa from the Repsol Honda Team completes the top three Unofficial Lap Times for the 2-day post-GP Season Test yesterday finishing third fastest with a lap time of 1 minute 56.944 seconds, just 0.1 seconds slower than Casey Stoner.

The current circuit record is still being held by Jorge Lorenzo which he clocked 1 minute 56.670 seconds in 2009 with an average speed of 166.716 Km/h while Rossi having holding the Best Pole lap with a fastest time of 1 minute 56.145 seconds, which he also recorded in 2009 on his Yamaha.

The teams will now have a weekend off before making headway for the next GP at Indianapolis in The United States of America for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Valentino Rossi and Ducati

Nine-times World MotoGP Champion, Valentino Rossi, seals the deal with Ducati, after signing a two year agreement to race with the "Rossa" of Borgo Panigale in the Ducati Marlboro Team from 2011.

The arrival of Valentino Rossi in Ducati opens a new and exciting chapter in the Italian factory's sporting history and indeed, of the whole World MotoGP Championship. The opportunity of the lining-up both an extraordinary rider and character is considered by Ducati to be a huge value to the whole Ducati MotoGP Project.

Fillipo Preziosi, Ducati Corse General Director, expressed that he sees Valentino as a great fan of motorcycles and so, it has always been a pleasure for him to listen to Vale's opinions.

He added that until the end of the 2010 Valencia GP, Rossi will remain as a competitor, one so great, that have always given special values to Ducati's victories, but, as soon as Rossi rides the Ducati for the first time, they will continue to work together on every single detail that will develop the bike better in order to fully unleash its huge talent.

"Working with Valentino is one of the most exciting things for every engineer and it's good to know we will have this great opportunity next season", he added.

The Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd, announced Rossi's part from the company at the end of this season hours after the Czech Republic Grand Prix yesterday. They have announced that Valentino Rossi has played a huge part in Yamaha Racing's history and Rossi will remain as an important part of Yamaha's heritage.

On behalf of the Yamaha Motor Group, Managing Director Lin Jarvis of the Yamaha Motor Racing, conveyed the company's sincerest gratitude for the amazing seven years that Rossi and Yamaha had spent together.

In 2004, Rossi joined the Yamaha Racing Team, during that moment, Yamaha was still struggling in road racing after eleven seasons without a single championship victory.

"There have been so many wonderful experiences and victories and we are very proud to have been able to make history together. Whilst we regret Vale's decision to move on, at the same time we fully respect his decision to search for a new challenge and we wish him the very best for 2011 and beyond.", he added.

Rossi quoted that it is very difficult to explain in just a few words what a great relationship bond that has been bonded between Yamaha and himself in the past seven years. He added that many improvements and things have changed since that far-off time in 2004, but definitely, the M1, has changed.At one time, 'she' was a poor middle-grid position MotoGP bike, derided by most of the riders and the MotoGP workers.

"Now, the moment has come to look for new challenges; my work here at Yamaha is finished. Unfortunately even the most beautiful love stories finish, but they leave a lot of wonderful memories, like when my M1 and I kissed for the first time on the grass at Welkom, when she looked straight in my eyes and told me 'I Love You!'", he added, in his handwritten manuscript (in Italian).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lorenzo Wins at Brno

Photo: Fiat Yamaha Team

Round 10 of the World MotoGP Championship was held at the Brno Circuit, Czech Republic, seeing Jorge Lorenzo dominating the race from start till the chequered flag. Jorge Lorenzo secures his impressive seventh win of the season at the Grand Prix of Czech, marks him the only third premier-class rider in history to finish in the top two at the opening ten races of the season.

In stark contrast to his Fiat Yamaha team-mate's good fortunes, Valentino Rossi ran into problems from the start of the race and could only finish fifth.

Despite surrendering pole position for the first time in six races, Jorge Lorenzo proved to be a remarkable racer, when he made some bold moves around the first two turns, seeing him take the lead before the first split and he looked in imperious from on his Yamaha M1, with yesterday's front-end troubles clearly a thing of the past.

Valentino Rossi in the other hand, was confident that he would be able to mount a strong challenge for honours in the afternoon, following the heavy rain in the morning, but it was not to be for the Italian. He had felt strong all weekend despite sliding off during qualifying but he never had the same confidence in the race and was unable to ride as he would have liked.

In a post race conference, Valentino expressed that he was very disappointed with the race results, as he was confident of putting a great challenge at the front. He was confident as everything seemed right, but yet, they were not as fast as the front runners.

"We are sad but tomorrow we will have the chance to test and try to understand what went wrong today, which will help us to be in better shape in Indianapolis. As for my future, you will know something at 6pm today", he added.

With a win from Lorenzo today, he is clear of Pedrosa by 77 championship points in the standings, with only eight rounds remaining. Valentino Rossi in the other hand, holds at fifth in the standings, with 101 championship points, just 14-points behind Andrea Dovizioso of the Repsol Honda Team.

In the 125cc category, Malaysia's local hero, Mohd Zulfahmi Khairuddin managed to secure another point, after finishing fifteenth position in the race at Brno despite the poor weather conditions.

Zulfahmi who started the race from twenty third on the grid, took the track cautiously in adjusting to the wet tracks. During the post race interview, he said that he had to be a little more careful on the tracks, and he is grateful to the team who had prepared and delivered an awesome bike for the race.

Zulfahmi expressed that he is really happy to finish the race in the top twenty and to score yet another point, meeting his target for his race today.

Razlan Razali, Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit, was delighted and immensely proud of the young rider's performance at Brno, despite of the wet conditions of the Brno Circuit.

"I am glad that he triumphed despite the adverse conditions at the track. This proves that he has definitely improved on his performance, and he is learning to adjust himself to the pressures he encounters in every race.", he added.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mizz Nina Performs at 2010 MMER

Motor Racing fans were entertained by Mizz Nina at the Mall Area at Sepang International Circuit during the 2010 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race. The concert was proudly presented by Digi and Tuners in conjunction with the Tuners Fest 2010 held here.

Aside from having Mizz Nina, there were fun filled games and contests set up for spectators at the Welcome Centre with activities like colouring contests, dance competition and many more for those spectators with accompanying children. The side events held during the 2010 MMER at Sepang International Circuit was a success with many entries from participating schools for the Dance Competition.

A&W was one of the many sponsors for the events held, whilst kids and families entertained with special appearance by the A&W Bear as well as "Upin dan Ipin" mascots special appearances.

An autoshow was also held as among the events lined up for the weekend at Sepang International Circuit, where 60+ cars will be competing in several categories such as Standard Modified, Extreme Modified, Open Modified, VIP Concept, Best Lighting and K-Car.

The race weekend's side track events was a partnership between SIC and an online automotive magazine portal, Pro Tuners.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tunku Hammam Crowned MMER Champion

Tunku Hammam Tunku Sulong, won his second Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race title as his Arrows Racing Team upstaged the favorites Audi Works Team at Sepang International Circuit last weekend.

The partnership between former European GT3 champion, Christopher Haase and top Dutch driver, Peter Kox, the Arrows Racing Team drove a perfect race to the chequered flag in a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560, although starting from second on the grid, alongside pole sitter, Porsche Club Singapore Racing, led by Mok Weng Sun.

The Audi Race Experience Team Joest, featuring multiple Le Mans winners, Frank Biela and Marco Werner and WTCC driver Daryl O'Young, had to contend themselves with second placing, but vows to return stronger in next year's MMER to complete their mission for the top spot on the podium.

Tunku Hammam, in an interview during the post race conference, stated that the win this year is certainly much competitive as compared to the last one. He was delighted to win the title again, which he won his first title in the 2002 MMER, partnering Tommy Lee and Briton, Nigel Albon for Naza-Jaseri Racing Team.

"It would definitely be much harder if Mok was still in the race. They definitely had the faster car. But, this race is not about out and out speed. It's an endurance race!, he added.

It was heartbreaking for the partnership between Mok Weng Sun, Craig G. Baird and Richard Lietz, in their Porsche RSR, when it had mechanical problems, just after completing 119 laps round the 5.543-kilometre track of the Sepang International Circuit.

The Porsche Club Singapore Racing team started the race from pole position and was already breaking away from their rivals before their car came to a halt due to mechanical problems. The Kencana Racing Team, which also had a promising run, was also forced out by a similar problem with their Porsche machine.

The race was flagged off by Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek at the strike of midnight, joined by Miss Malaysia World Thanuja Ananthan and top singer Faradina Mohd Nadzir.

This year's MMER was filled with drama and suspense, as jinxed Empire Motorsports continued for a third year after their Lotus 2-11 bursts into flames during refueling, bringing their challenge to an abrupt, just after completing 56-laps. The team had faced a similar situation in last year's race, when electrical problems ignited their engine, and in the previous year, 2008, a broken wheel nut in the final hour brought their challenge to an end.

Defending champions, Team PETRONAS Syntium, which had Tatsuya Kataoka, Fariqe Hairuman and Melvin Moh, failed to finish the race, when their BMW Z4M Coupe encountered a mechanical failure just 80-minutes away from the chequered flag.

The Honda Malaysia Racing Team won the Touring Production Class Race, whilst Team Tracy Sports, featuring Masatama Kawaguchi, Masayuki Ueda and Adam Han in their Honda S2000, won the Sports Production Class Category.

Tunku Hammam added at the end of the post race press conference that he hoped to return in next year's MMER, but still unsure, whether it would be the same partnership.

"Hopefully, with these guys again and hopefully, we will get a better car or we can use the same car to race next year.", he added.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Porsche Club Singapore Takes Third Successive Pole in MMER

Porsche Club Singapore Racing will start tomorrow's 2010 12-hour Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race at Sepang International Circuit for the third consecutive year.

Lead by two-time Malaysian Super Series Supercar champion, Mok Weng Sun, the team clocked a total time of 6 minutes 17.346 seconds around the 5.543-kilometre Sepang International Track, while Arrows Racing Team, starts second on the front row of the grid.

The Porsche Club Singapore Racing failed in their bid to retain the overall title last year despite starting from pole position, after winning the MMER in 2008. The team eventually finished third after they have encountered mechanical problems in the first hour of the race, having spent 35 minutes in the pits repairing the damage.

"I started from pole position in 2008 and won the race so I am really hoping to repeat that performance at the race tomorrow", Mok Weng Sun, during the post qualifying press conference at the circuit.

He added that were not able to retain the title in 2009 despite starting from pole position. He hoped that he will be at the drivers press conference tomorrow after the race.

MOFAZ Racing, which features the Fauzy brothers, Fairuz and Farriz; and Rizal Ashram Ramli were the fastest in the Sports Production Class, clocking the total time of 7 minutes 8.563 seconds, 14th overall in the qualifying time sheets.

The Honda Malaysia Racing Team will start tonights midnight flag off from 17th on the grid, as they were the fastest in the Touring Production class with a total time of 7 minutes 16.757 seconds.

Thanuja Anandthan, Miss Malaysia Miss World 2009/2010, will flag the race off at midnight tonight, with 36 cars on the starting grid.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Key to winning an Endurance Race

Participants of the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race are busy setting and testing their cars as the 12-hour endurance race draws near. The teams main concern is their car's reliability to endure the 12-hour duration of the race, which can be affected by many different factors.

Race driver, Fairuz Fauzy from Mofaz Racing Team, said that the team's main source of worry right now is the durability of the Pirelli Tyres, unlike previous seasons, tyre makes were not standardised.

Fairuz, who will be partnering with his brother Farriz Fauzy and former German F3 driver Rizal Ashram Ramli, said that the change of tyres basically means that all the teams taking part in the 2010 MMER will have to start from ground zero.

"We all have to calibrate the cars according to the tyres. So far, quite a few teams have been struggling with the tyres as they tend to wear out after only eight or nine rounds. Imagine how it will be in a 12-hour race. It is a really big challenge for us and the other teams in getting the best out of the tyres and trying to ensure that they last longer.", he added.

This year's MMER will see participation from experienced endurance racers likes of Frank Biela, Marco Werner, Peter Kox, Christopher Haase, Daryl O'Young, Matthew Marsh, Tatsuya Kataoka, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Masataka Managida.

Aside from Fairuz, who is currently the test driver for Lotus F1 Racing team, this year's MMER witnesses the participation of many other top names in the world of motor racing, including winners of the prestigious 24-hour LeMans Race.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Honda Racing's Biggest Challenge

Former A1GP Team Malaysia Driver, Aaron Lim and his Honda Malaysia Racing Team (HMRT) expressed that the team's biggest challenge quest for the race title this year's Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) is the extended nocturnal driving hours.

This year's 11th edition of the 12-hour endurance race held at the Sepang International Circuit will have the drivers race seven hours in darkness of night of the 5.543-kilometre track and just five hours of daylight.

Aaron said that the night driving demands extra attention and focus from the drivers, thus putting more stress and pressure on them.

"Rain may also be an additional challenge for us, and it is unpredictable", he added, in clear reference to the heavy three-hour early morning downpour in 2006. The downpour may have been the reason behind the organisers decision to switch the event from its midnight start to an 1100hrs start from the following year.

The HMRT will be backed and fully supported by a full-fledged local crew of 22 personnel from its Honda Malaysia plant in Melaka and its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The team will be competing in the Touring Production Class, which will feature a host of Honda Civic FD2s, Honda Integra DC5s and the two-litre Toyota Altezza.

Aaron added that the other challenge for this year's 11th edition 2010 MMER would be the restrictions to one tyre maker, Pirelli, for all the competitors.

HMRT team leader, Loh Chin Wooi said that the team's preparation, which includes the training of 11 new members, have been progressing smoothly. He added that the new members will need to learn new ropes when they were selected to join the HMRT, to acquire new skills, beyond their usual day job.

"Of course, we are fully confident that the senior members in the team will be able to share and impart their knowledge onto the new members", adding that he is confident that his three drivers will be taking the team to the top of the podium.

The 11th edition of the Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race will be flagged off at midnight on 8 August 2010 and the chequered flag will be out 12-hours later at noon on the same day.

Audi Works Team debut at 2010 MMER

The 2010 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) gets more interesting when Audi Race Experience Team Joest driven by two former LeMans winning drivers confirms their entry this year. It is no surprise that they are the crowd's favorite for this year's MMER.

Dato' Mokhzani Mahathir, owner of the Kencana Racing Team and 2007 overall champion is delighted with the high-profile team's entry in the MMER.

"I think this is the first time that a factory works team is taking part in the MMER. This is something that we should be proud of as we can learn from how an established team presents itself for the race.", he added.

The Audi Race Experience Team Joest will be anchored by the driving brilliance and experience of former winners of the Le Mans Endurance Race, Frank Biela and Marco Werner. Their participation gets mote powerful and complete, with Daryl O' Young, former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion gets behind the wheel.

This years' participation turns into a world class event, seeing other top racing names including Peter Kox, Christopher Haase, Richard Lietz, Craig Baird, Matthew Marsh, Dominic Farnbacher, Tatsuya Kataoka, Nobuteru Taniguchi and Masataka Yanagida.

The list of entrants extends with participation of Malaysian drivers in this year's 2010 MMER, with former Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, the current Lotus F1 Racing test driver Fairuz Fauzy, Meritus team owner Firhat Mokhzani, GT3 Asia driver Tunku Hammam Sulong, Eddie Lew, Wong Yew Choong, Keifli Othman and former equestrian champion, Ashraff Dewal.

In last year's race, the PETRONAS Syntium Racing Team scored a sensational 1-2 finish with the triumvirate of Tatsuya Kataoka, Manubu Orido and Malaysian youngster Johan Adzmi in a BMW Z4M Coupe.

Dato' Mokhzani added that the traditional midnight start of the race is great, as it gives the drivers at least seven hours of cool driving, so it's less physically taxing.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reigning Champion Dominates the Race Weekend

Yasuhiro Kuhara of Team HKL Racing, two-time defending champion, was in a class of his own, when he won both races comfortably in the Superbikes Category. This is his second double victory as he had two wins in Round 1.

Meanwhile, in the Supersports Championship category, the PETRONAS Yamaha Racing Team came in full force for Round 4 as they put their top three ARRC riders, Azlan, Mohd Zamri Baba and Ahmad Fuad Baharuddin to join youngster Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, to put an end to the domination of the Idemitsu Honda Racing Team in Round 1.

Azlan and Zamri both, won both races one and two, giving the team a sensational 1-2 in both races.

The competition is ever more heated up, when Sepang International Circuit, offered a golden opportunity for the top three finishers in the Supersports Championship to be part of the selection for the 2011 Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix Moto2 wildcard riders.

Azlan is happy with the win in both races, and expressed that it was a great team effort that paid off for the win. He added that he hoped to retain his title for this season's Malaysian Super Series.

Zamri, added that the team aims to maintaining their win in the next three races, and confident that they will have the opportunity to do well in the overall championship, even though, they have lost 50 points in Round 1.

It was also a big day for the newly-established Kajang Racing Team as their rider, Mohd Syahnas Shahidan, brough his MV Agusta machine to a double podium finish, taking second and third placing in race 1 and race 2 respectively in the Superbikes Category.

The former ARRC rider with PETRONAS Yamaha Racing Team, Syahnas, said that the team did not do too well during the opening round.

"But we took a double podium today, and that is a fantastic result indeed. We hope to do even better in the next round", he added.