Round 2 of Saturday Night Fever was a display of how fabulous this event has become with almost 2000 people from walks of Malaysian (and Singaporean!) life making it down to Sepang for the motorsports extravaganza that SNF is. There is also starting to be a trend amongst the teams and drivers, with the top guys still being untouchable at the top and effectively becoming the Ruling Class.
The Sepang Circuit paddock was a sea of spectators by 8:00pm, and was full of colour: JC Racing sponsored the usual gorgeous SNF dancers; the gerai at the back was bustling with hungry souls; and Pit 21, set up like a bazaar with 6 booths by Alpinestar/Endless, GAB Suspension, On The Road magazine, Kementerian Dalam Negeri, lubricant company OWS, and a Mak-Cik selling kacang (Natsumi)! Don’t laugh, they sold out their stock that night..
The Matspeed pit featured a pimped-out Waja with bling lights and girls on display selling “Team F3-Matspeed” T-shirts. Platinum Oil were also on-hand, having anchored a team of 5 cars. As for GAB Suspension, they sponsored the whole SuperCompact category! Clearly these discerning companies have realised the benefits that SNF brings to the industry.
Other than the non-stop action on track, what blew the crowd away was local beatboxer Shaun Lee. This kid is small but he is an extraordinary performer. He was Awesome! Everyone went nuts, the crowd loved him! He’s hoping to run in SNF one day, and we hope to see and hear more of him again soon!
Last month On The Road magazine ran a contest in their magazine, and 7 lucky winners had the chance to catch the circuit warfare up-close in the Chase Car, following the event from the back for 1 lap, getting a front seat view of all the action. I know I’ve said it too many times in just 4 paragraphs, but they loved it!
With great intercoolers comes great power!
The event proper was not without issues though. The Driver Briefing started late as drivers couldn’t access some pits early on, and we were 9 pits down due to Porsche Carrera Cup Asia testing. With a record entry of 130 cars, it was always going to be tight. Some fellas squeezed 12 cars into a pit, with some others having to park behind. But this didn’t dampen their spirit and enthusiasm, and all drivers and teams still put on a tremendous show!
The GAB SuperCompact teams were very well behaved this time, now that they’re familiar with the rules and circuit, most of them coming in full racing suits! Hats off! Once again it was K Perajun who took the wins. But this time he had to work harder at it, being chased closely by fellow top-bill driver Logeswaran Kaliaperumal.
In the Campro Chase category, it seems that the boys have started taking things too seriously, with drivers fighting 4-abreast into Turn-1 and pushing beyond the capabilities of their vehicles, with cars were going off here and there. In Heat 1, Muhd Hairis went off at full speed when his brakes couldn’t stop him rapidly enough and disintegrated. Yanking on the handbrake and slamming it down into 2nd gear in desperation, his engine and gearbox blew itself to smithereens. The ambulance was dispatched, and as he returned to the pit we all breathed a sigh of relief to see him ok and on his feet!
In Heat 2, Ridhuan Ramlee lost it exiting the last turn on the last lap, hitting the gravel-trap sideways and tipping over onto the roof. Ridhuan was extricated with no injuries but to his ego.
Throughout the night however the fight was between Rozman Azlan and Michael Ayyavu. Watching them blast around the North Circuit was an education in dogfighting in true Touring Car style. No desperate lunges into every corner, but rather nose-to-tail all the way around, a jab here and block there, trying to create an opportunity. In the Final it was Rozman that cracked under pressure, popping a frantic overtaking big into T1 and drifting a bit wide, giving Michael the breathing space that he needed – and kept – to the flag. At 1m24, their laptimes are as quick as the Street 1.8 Open class! Taking 3rd was previous podium finisher Rangzeeb.
Yeah baby, a Sentra! In SNF!! And it made podium!!!
Street 1.8 Open
The Street 1.8 Open stood up to expectations in delivering superbly engaging runs every heat. The range of little monsters in the line-up would keep rabbits in their holes: a GSR Turbo Satria Neo; an SR turbo’ed Sentra; a Satria Neo featuring a B18C; Steven Lai’s obscene Vios Turbo; a Gen2 MIVEC; and BP Chu’s good old AE86 that once belonged to some Tengku Djan guy..
The action was fierce and tighter than Beyonce’s backside: one moment it was GSR Neo ahead of Vios Turbo ahead of Sentra (err.. Sentra?!); and next lap it was Sentra (again??) ahead of AE86 ahead of GSR Neo. Yet in front of ALL of them: ProDrag’s EK9!
Having invested heaps of time and money and setup in the past 2 SNF events, it all paid off for ProDrag as they made it to the top step of the podium. Steven Lai too finally got what he wanted with a hard-fought 2nd, followed by Shahrulnizam in his Sentra (R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!). As for Aman (GSR Neo) and the rest of 1.8 boys, we’ll see what new surprises they may have in store for us next round!
Of most note, Round 2 saw the for the first time a mighty R35 GTR taking part in SNF, and regular leaders Jon Teo and Tung Wei were a bit worried. Aravind was also back in his Scooby, with some improvements to suspension and setup meaning he was delighted to finish ahead of Khairul Anuar’s GTR in the Preliminary Heats, his laptimes down to 1m19; but Jon and Tung Wei are now scintillatingly quick, circulating the North Track at 1m16!
In the Final however, Khairul Anuar managed to make it ahead of Ara at the start and the two of them were dicing it out all the way to the finish line, where Khairul made it stick by just a car’s length! Jon and Tung Wei were in the league of their own, Jon pipping Tung Wei to the win, and have cemented their position in the Ruling Class of SNF!
Kok Foo's Veilside RX7: Very fast and very furious!
Admittedly, amid angry looking RWD cars such as an undercover black-coloured RX2 and a hoard of 1JZ-engined BMWs, when some of us first saw Kok Foo’s “Tokyo Drift” Veilside RX7 pull into the pits there were hushed mumbles of “Sure or not??”. But once the RWD action got started on track, Kok Foo and his fire-breathing RX7 blasted all-comers with the exception Ken’s yellow S15! Along the way to the podium, Tong Wui Fatt’s KE70 stole some of the limelight in Heat 2 before unfortunately expiring.
Ken, another member of the SNF Ruling Class, finally had to work for his win but nonetheless enjoyed the friendly competition. Cars in this class seem to not last very long, with half the field not taking part in the 3rd and final heat. This worked to the advantage of Chiew Rouh Peng who finally made a podium finish with his BMW Z4M.
The FF Festival gained not one but 2 new superstars this round: Ahmad Rizal Omar for holding off Megat Arizal to put ProDrag’s Civic EK9 on the podium, and Mark Darwin for making the Red Bull Rookies team for the Sepang 1000km race this year!
And as if to prove a point, Mark went out in Heat 1 and finished ahead of FF 2nd-tier stalwart Mohd Hizam. Keeping up the momentum he dropped below 1m20 in the second heat, but a mistake on the 4th lap fighting tooth and nail with Hizam and Raby (Satria EVO) dropped him down the order. Still much to learn, young padawan!
Up front, it was status quo with Moorthy, Desmond, and Megat Arizal heading the pack at the end of Heat 1. Megat Arizal however was already starting to feel the heat from the nimble little EK9, which then took advantage of the 2nd row starting position in Heat 2 to pull away.
They say good Honda’s never die, they just get a VTEC-transplant.
In the final heat, Desmond kept right up with long-time adversary Moorthy, but try as he might there was nothing he could do to rattle the very experienced Moorthy who went on to take the win. But all eyes were on the brawl behind them for 3rd place. There was no way Megat Arizal was going to let Ahmad Rizal get away and he was pulling out all the stops, entertaining the crowd with ballsy out-braking moves. But Rizal had answers for all of them, and SNF hailed a new hero as he took the flag in 3rd.
The APR boys had made their point by firing the first salvo in Round 1 and taking all three podiums. In response, the Renault driver’s upped their game: proper tyres, some tuning, and practice saw the leapfrog to the top of the sheets and turn the category in a battlefield between the Germans and the French! It was trench warfare all over again, and blood would be drawn..
Heat 1 and Shedden unsurprisingly took the win. But behind him it was tight fighting all the way, with no relief for any of the combatants. Adrian, Syed Mod Rizal, and Iwan Rashman were on the move, wrestling their way to the front and taking pot shots at each other along the way.
Shedden however drove his Golf GTI so hard that the brake disc shattered, and he spent Heat 2 in the pits as his team quickly swapped in new front brakes. Adrian took the early lead but at the back, Matt Mazuki’s Scirocco broadsided an Megane RS250 broadside at T2 putting both cars out. Adrian pulled out a lead, but it was short-lived as he puttered into the pits with trouble at the end of Lap 3, handing Iwan the lead and win.
The Final got off to regretful circumstances as Team APR missed the call for EuroCup being brought forward as required by the authorities, and were very unhappy at the turn of events. In protest, Team APR have regretfully withdrawn officially from future rounds of SNF, which is a shame as they have been very supportive ever since the event’s conception.
Not everyone made it to the flag
Shedden started from the rear due to his repairs, but quickly asserted his dominance by climbing right up to the front by the end of the 1st lap. In fact he was going so quick, he got mixed in battle with the FF Festival front-runners, in which the EuroCup Final was running in conjunction with. This proves that the Euro FF cars can easily take the fight to the Honda’s in the FF category.
Shaharuddin Abu Bakar made the most of Wan Chung Hong and Iwan’s trouble in traffic to take 2nd in his beautiful white Megane R26.
Keeping with the theme, it was Faizal Hassim (EK9) taking the win from Faizal Izhar and Jeffrey Moo (both CRX). Faizal Hassim and Jeffrey Moo made amends for problems in Round 1 to battle their way to the top.
Next Round: April 23
We never expected that the times could tumble further, but they have and probably will continue to do so. As all the driver’s gain experience, the Ruling Class of SNF may not have their way in the next round. As CAMPRO Chase has proved, Michael Ayyavu came out of nowhere to take the win. Will we see more new entrants whip-ass in April?
There’s only one way to find out: Be there!