The Asia Max Challenge Round 5 2017 was held in Sepang on the 19th and 20th August 2017. Many drivers are glad to be back to this track as majority are very familiar with it.
Scorching weather but blazing action in the track at some of the races. Really thrilling edge of the seat action.
The prefinal for the Micromax was one of the best highlights of the weekend. Top 3 karts going in like no tomorrow, shifting back and forth, leaving everyone at the edge of their seats. Aditya Wibowo led the attack first going in on the first corner after 2 laps, wrestled the pole position from Hebiete Nasen Yue. However he soon lose the position to team mate, Krit Boonyang. But Hebiete is not going to just sit back and watch. He took back the pole position after 4 laps and then its game on between him and Krit as they both dished out all sorts of tricks and wits against each other. One lap its Hebiete leading and next its Krit and back again. Aditya didn’t join in the fight just yet…slowly…surely…he will make his move. And at the 2nd last lap, he attacked and gotten pole. But he was unfortunate not able to hold on to it with Hebiete and Krit passing him at the last lap. And this is where it got interesting. 3 karts coming in fast at the last corner. It looks like it can be anyone’s game. It was Hebiete and Krit…as they are coming up to the finish line, Hebiete edge Krit a few inches to take the win. Cameraman was so engrossed until he forgotten to take that shot. Phew. But come the final, it was a different story for everyone. Hebiete suffered engine issue at the rolling lap and was unable to continue. What an unfortunate turn of events. Krit suffered similar fate in the AMC Round 4 in Shah Alam, when his fuel hose came loose and started right at the back. It was impossible for him to chase the pole leader. With Hebiete out of the way, it was left to Krit and Aditya. Krit have the advantage as his kart was much more faster but in a surprise move, he gave way to Aditya, allowing him to overtake him. You could see the huge question mark over Krit’s mother’s head. Aditya won the race and Krit comes in 2nd. It turns out that both will win the race in their respective group but he didn’t want to fight with his team mate and decided to let Aditya hog the glory this round. With this win, Krit is leading back in the championship but just slightly as he only has a gap of 1 point over Hebiete Nasen Yue.
Romain Leroux fought hard to fend off Muhammad Ibrahim and gotten the win he deserves in the Junior max Final. It looked set like it is going to be Ibrahim’s win as once he pulled away from the rest, its pretty much hard for the rest to catch him. But Romain had other plans. He stuck to him real close and overtake whenever he could. Ibrahim is not going to let it slide and he too stuck real close and overtake Romain on the 7th lap but lose the pole to Romain the next lap. For most of the race duration, Ibrahim is just trailing behind Romain and he tried again in the 17th lap but unfortunately couldn’t make it stick. Romain defended well all the way and crossed the finish line. Romain will need to work up another awesome display in the next round to beat Ibrahim as he is currently 2nd in the overall champion, behind Ibrahim a mere 5 points gap. Ananthorn Tangnainatchai and Akmal Mohd Ashibli are both behind Romain 4 points and behind Ibrahim 9 points.
In the senior, Rifqi Rakamulya sealed all the races with a strong win starting from the time trial all the way to the final. He was unstoppable. He bagged the fastest lap for every race except in the prefinal where he lost to Arsh Johany. Other than that, it was all perfect for Raka. Ahmad Gunadi, his team mate settled for 3rd.
In the DD2 category, Senna Noor barely won the DD2 category as his kart suffered engine problems mid race. There was some debatable issue regarding to the starting grid of the Prefinal for the DD2 category. Prassetyo Hardja started 2nd when he was supposed to start pole. When the issue was brought up, the race has already started. Senna was able to put a gap but his engine was not performing as well as he would liked and with each lap, Prassetyo got closer and closer and was nearly side by side. Lucky for Senna, it was the last lap and he won it by the skin of his teeth. In the final, Senna was able to pull away but Prassetyo is not far behind. But he wasn’t getting the pace he wanted and was falling back further until Ehsan Pieris was able to overtake and Akash Nandy, new driver in the DD2 category, managed to pushed himself ahead of Prassetyo. In a few blinks of an eye, Ehsan is behind Senna and tailing him. Senna’s engine issue seems to have returned and he could only defend to keep Ehsan from overtaking. And in doing so, he allowed Akash and Prassetyo all come within distance to each other. It was Ehsan’s turn to defend and this gave some space to Senna to pull away abit but it was enough for him to cross the finish line.With this win, Senna has closed the gap with Prassetyo and both are now tie in points. Its winner takes all for the final round of the AMC 2017. It will be one heck of a tense and exciting race to watch. In the DD2 master category, Riki Tanioka continues to dominate his class and won the race under the master category. His closest rival is Alan Saw but he trails Riki by 15 points! And in the DD2 veteran category, it looked like Eric Mancini would have an easy win but Lee Lung Nien who hasn’t been able to have a decent pace suddenly found himself in the upper mid pack and ahead of Eric. It was the best driving by Lung this season. In the finals he was unable to get the pace to overtake Eric, and Eric Mancini has got his 2nd win this season.
The last round will be held back in Sepang and will be the main decider for the Micromax and DD2 as the top 2 are level on points or only a 1 point gap.