Maranello, 2 September - It was an interesting weekend at the Sepang circuit, which hosted the fourth round of the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific and the eponymous 12 Hour race, the most important endurance event in Asia, also known as the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race.
After two qualifying sessions run in difficult conditions of heavy humidity, which can have an effect even on the most experienced drivers, the protagonists in the Ferrari one-make series today tackled two very closely fought races.
There were in fact twenty eight 458 Challenge cars entered, battling it out on the Malaysian track trying to get as many championship points as possible. In Race 1 Italy’s Philippe Prette took the win ahead of Pasin Lathouras (Thailand) and Philip Ma (Hong Kong), while in the second leg, victory went to Lathouras who got the better of Prette, having taken pole in the second qualifying session.
Completing the podium in Race 2, Japan’s Motoaki Ishikawa, who did a good job of controlling those behind him. As for the Coppa Shell, Race 1 saw the win go to Japan’s Francis Hideki Onda, followed by Gregory Teo (Singapore) and Eric Cheung (Canada). IThe Canadian was then the runner up in race 2, behind the winner Jacky Yeung (Hong Kong), while another Hong Kong driver, Alex Au, crossed the line third.
The large crowd was also able to watch the 458 GT3 cars in acton, driven by Ferrari’s Gianmaria Bruni in the famous 12 hour race. The Italian, who has carved out a successful career in GT racing, shared the cockpit of his Ferrari entered by Clearwater Racing, with Irishman Matt Griffin and the Asia GT3 champion, Mok Weng Sun. Having started from pole and led the race for no less than 10 hours, the crew had to retire with a suddent mechanical failure, which put an end to what had been an impeccable performance.
Apart from the Sepang 12 Hours, the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific programme also has another really unique event on the horizon: this September 23rd, the one-make series will be a curtain raiser to the fifth edition of the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.