The 4th round of the Rotax Asia Challenge was held back in Sepang karting Circuit in Malaysia on 28th and 29th May. Typical hot Malaysian weather throughout the race weekend but the skies did threatened to pour on Sunday but luckily it didn’t and the race finished on scheduled.
In the Micromax category, Dylan Bondi scored his 2nd win of the season ahead of Amer Harris. Dylan in 2nd position at the grid was knocked back to 3rd at the start but quickly regained his composure to take back 2nd from Shahan Ali in one lap. The top 5 karts were battling it out, changing positions at every turns of the circuit but Amer was able to hold his lead until the 7th lap, where he lost it to Dylan Bondi. The battle within the top 5 karts was still ongoing until the last 3 laps it all boils down to the first 2 karts. Amer and Dylan were changing positions back and forth, it was set to be anyone’s game. Amer got the lead back on the last lap but halfway round the track, he left a small gap and Dylan took his chances and did an overtaking move. Amer tried to win back but Dylan didn’t give him such opportunity. It was a frustrating weekend for Amer as he was so close to winning the race but blew it at the last lap. Li Hao Ran (China) was set to finish 3rd but was squeezed out by Oscar Ng and Shahan Ali who were following closely behind. Oscar finished 4th and Shahan finished 5th. Oscar just didn’t have the pace this round to mount a challenge against Dylan and Amer. Shahan Ali, winner of the AMC Round 3 Micromax, didn’t have the pace he wanted as his kart was damaged during practise and had to change the frame which he only had 2 practise sessions to test. However, with this 4th position win, Shahan Ali is still leading the championship.
In the Junior category, Stratos Motorsports drivers, Romain Leroux and Prassetyo Hardja, dominated the category from the time trial all the way to the final. Both finished 1st and 2nd, giving Stratos Motorsports a 1-2 finish. From the start, Romain and Prassetyo broke away from the rest of the pack and built quite a gap. Ananthorn Tangnainatchai (Thailand) was a surprise as he not only broke away from the pack as well but managed to maintain his pace behind Romain and Prassetyo. Ananthorn eventually finished 3rd and Arsh Johany and Nik Zamir finished 4th and 5th respectively. Arsh managed to steer clear from any incidents and made his way up to 4th and same goes for Nik Zamir. He had a good start and was able to keep up despite some pressure from Alex Brown who was getting closer and closer but was overtaken by Kane Shepherd. Kane had pace only to keep himself ahead of the rest but nowhere close to Nik Zamir.
Ricky Donison had a great race weekend as he dominated the time trial, winning both heats, prefinal and final in the senior category. Previously having following behind Silvano Christian, this round, he was able to pull away from the rest and took the win home. In the final, Ricky had a bit of a scare as Silvano managed to overtake Izzat in 2nd place and gave chase. Silvano managed to close the gap on entry into a corner but Ricky managed to pull away at the exit. However Silvano could do no more as his equipment were at max capacity and settled for 2nd. Izzat Hanif finished 3rd place without much pressure from the others. 7 racing team mates, Darryl Wenas finished 4th and Gabriella Teo finished 5th. It was a sigh of relief for Gabriella as her kart was performing nicely compared to the previous round where she encountered technical issues and was forced to make a pit stop.
Senna Noor still managed to create waves despite coming out on his own and changing his preferred CRG DD2 kart to a Praga DD2 kart. Senna was 2nd fastest in the time trial, losing out to Melvin Moh by 00.086 differences. Melvin Moh missed out the previous rounds due to work commitment, made a comeback and also drove a Praga as well. Melvin started off well in the heats but Senna was able to catch up and overtake him. In the prefinal and final, Senna was able to grab the lead at the start and held on till the end with Melvin tailing him closely but not enough to mount any challenge. Nazim Azman finished 3rd while Dhruv Mohite, newcomer to the DD2 from India, made an impressive start and bagged 4th place. Nayan Chatterjee and Eshan Pieris were fighting for the 5th place but it was Nayan who had the better pace and won 5th.
Already with half the season gone, there are still 2 more rounds before we know who will be racing at the Rotax Grand Finals in Sarno, Italy. Next round is scheduled to be at Shah Alam circuit but recent news was that the venue might go back to Elite Speedway Plus circuit much to the delight of some drivers, as talks between the organisers and the state council is still on going.