Have you purchase your ticket to watch this year Merdeka Millennium Endurance?
MME Drivers Get Ready For Qualifying
The heartbreaking moment of truth has arrived at Sepang Circuit as competitors at Sepang 12-hour Petronas Primax 3 Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MME) go into qualifying tomorrow (Friday, August 24) to secure their place at the starting grid of the actual race.
With 309 drivers and 103 cars registered for the eighth edition of the MME this year, 78 drivers would need to pack their racing suits with their 26 cars leaving the pit garages as only a maximum 77 cars would be allowed to start the race in accordance to the FIA circuit license granted to SIC.
Without doubt, they would be refunded for their entry fees, but that would be little consolation to all that months of time and money put in for the preparations as well as the excitement and thrills to be part of the MME, which is hailed as Asia’s Biggest Race and without doubt, the most anticipated event in Malaysia’s motorsports fraternity.
“It was in 2003; but I still remember it clearly. I was very frustrated and just went home to JB the next day, without watching the race. I cannot bear to see the race,” says 2004 winner Eddie Lew of Honda Malaysia Racing Team.
Partnering seasoned drivers Faidzil Alang and Ferhan Fauzy in his first year with Honda Malaysia and considered one of the frontrunners for the race, their Honda Civic encountered electrical problems in qualifying and just did not have the power and acceleration that it showed in its earlier free practices.
For the 2007 race, Eddie – regarded as Malaysia’s best saloon car driver – would be partnering Japan Super GT drivers Hiroki Katoh and Shinya Hosokawa in a specially prepared two-liter Honda Civic Type R machine by Mugen of Japan would again be placed as one of the top contenders for the overall title or at least within their Class A for production cars above 1900cc.
According to the regulations, only 25 cars from a combined entry of 38 cars in Class A and the open class would qualify for the race on Saturday. From a total of 36 cars in Class B for engines between 1601cc and 1900cc, 26 cars would be selected and from the final Class C for cars below 1600cc, only the fastest 26 cars of a total 29 entries would be selected.
“We have a very good team and a very good car; but let’s take things step by step. First we qualify for the race and then we plan our strategies based on our place on the grid. Remember last year, the Lamborghini failing to qualify. So, let’s not be overconfident,” said Eddie when met at the official launch of the Honda Malaysia MME Team in Kuala Lumpur last night.
Driving a powerful Lamborghini Murceilago, former Japan GT driver and 2005 overall winner, Genji Hashimoto was sensationally booted out of the race last year when their cars encountered mechanical problems in qualifying.
Australian Peter Leemhuis, who would be driving with countrymen Tony Alford and Malaysian Kiefli Othman, said it was going to be a very close qualifying session tomorrow given the huge number of participants in this year’s race. “What we need to do is just focus on what we are doing and push the car as fast as possible,” said Leemhuis, who would be driving a Honda Integra DC5 among the Class A runners.
Qualifying session would start at 10am tomorrow with each of the three drivers requiring to do their best lap times for an aggregate lap time to decide their grids positions or going out of the event.
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