Event 3 for the Caterham Motorsport Championship was held at the Sepang International Circuit, with Daim Hishammudin and multiple Caterham race winner Gilbert Ang. Both young chargers keen to prove who is number one.
The young stars didn’t fail to put on an amazing show, pushing each other to the limits and racing side-by-side the whole weekend.
All eyes were on Air Asia’s Daim Hishamuddin for third race as he shared the front row with pole-sitter and multiple Caterham race winner Gilbert Ang.
Both drivers dragging side-by-side down the first straight with Daim sneaking on the inside of turn 1 to take the lead, with Tan Pye Sen sitting in a comfortable third.
From that point on the two 420R class leaders were only centimetres apart, exchanging the lead several times each lap, usually out-foxing each other around turns 1, 4, 7 and 9. More evidence of the traditional close racing this Caterham Championship produces each race weekend.
The 310R class was nothing short of adrenalin pumping with six cars side-by-side, foxing and fighting for the whole race.
It was Malcolm Chang and Shirendra Lawrence who were battling for the lead in the early stages after Ivan Petev had a spin at turn 9. Whilst Sidqi Ahmad, Halim Mu’Azzam, and new comer Yannick Lawrence constantly exchanged places fighting for third and fourth.
After Halim and Shirendra fell back due to worn tyres and spins, it was Yannick, Sidqi and Ivan’s turns to exchange places in the fight for the top three.
On the final two laps, most drivers positioned themselves perfectly around final turn 15, setting themselves up for last minute dashes across the line with Sidqi, Yannick and Halim desperate to clench third place as Malcolm fending off attempts from second place Ivan Petev.
It was another showdown between Daim Hishamuddin and Gilbert Ang in Race 2, as Daim won the start drag to take the lead into turn 1 as Gilbert was slow off the mark.
But that didn’t deter Gilbert as he was back on the heels of Daim, and the two drivers once again spent the race exchanging the lead. Some exciting passing by both drivers, especially Daim who pulled off some great moves on the inside of turns 4, 5 and the hairpin turn 9.
On most laps the lead changed 5 times!
Unfortunately, with three laps to go, Gilbert had to pit and retire from the race as his vision became impaired due to mechanical parts flying off the front of his car.
Tan Pye Sen was holding off watching the battle unfold, and finished a solid second place.
The Supersports didn’t fail to surprise yet again, with Ivan Petev and Malcolm Chang fighting most of the way, as Shirendra Lawrence fox around for the remaining podium spot.
It was a very tight battle for third place with veterans Halim Mu’Azzam and Sidqi Ahmad on each other’s tail, neither driver backing off in the battle. As both drivers stormed towards turn 9 side-by-side, Sidqi found himself on the outside, and with no room from Halim he had nowhere to go and collided with the rear right of Halim’s car, sending Sidqi into the air and retiring in the gravel.
On the next lap, Ivan Petev who was fighting for the lead, passed under the yellow flags and was disqualified from the race.
Further down the field it another close fight between Shirendra and Yannick Lawrence, with Shirendra claiming third place.
So, it was double wins today for Air Asia’s Daim Hishammudin in the 420R class, and Malcolm Chang in the 310R.
The tension was high at the start of Race 3 with Daim looking to score a hat trick of wins, and his rival Gilbert Ang desperate to cross the finishing line ahead, to make amends for his previous mechanical problems.
It was Daim who shot off to a lightning start, taking the lead into turn 1, with Gilbert storming past Tan Pye Sen, relegating the 2016 champion to third where he would stay for the remainder of the race.
Once again it was edge-of-the-seat excitement with only centimetres between Daim and Gilbert, both drivers racing a perfect race. It was going to come down to whoever would make a mistake.
Each lap the lead changed at least four times with both drivers making controlled risky moves on the inside and outsides of turns 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 15.
But it was Daim Hishammudin who fought off last lap attempts by Gilbert to win the third race of the weekend by only 0.200s.
The Supersports were again at it with Sidqi Ahmad and Ivan Petev fighting each other for the lead. The experienced Sidqi was defending well against the rookie, until the final corner of the last lap when Ivan made a last-minute dive on the inside of turn 15. Sidqi was setting himself up for a stronger exit, but Ivan won the drag to take the chequered flag by only half a metre.
The battle for third was intense between Halim Mu’Azzam and Shirendra Lawrence in the final stages of the race after the 420R class battle cut through the field. But it was Shirendra Lawrence who drove a perfect defence to claim third step on the podium.
It was another weekend of intense, edge-of-the-seat racing with both young guns Daim Hishammudin and Gilbert Ang pushing each other to their limits and fighting tooth and nail until the very end.
And with a strong 310R field, all drivers enjoyed a tough but fair weekend of many battles, rivalries and fun.
The Caterham Motorsport Championship heads to the Clark International Circuit in the Philippines on October 20-22.