Ayumu Sasaki leads an all-Japannese podium domination in Asia Talent Cup 2015 Round 4 Race 1 in Zhuhai, China.
The fourth round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup 2015 got underway earlier today for Race 1 in Zhuhai, China. Drama unfolded once again towards the 17-lap race’s later stages, culminating in yet close race finishes in the season.
As soon as the lights went green in the Zhuhai International Circuit (ZIC), a tight five-way battle for supremacy was incubated for the 17-lap race. The lead melee comprised of Japanese riders Ayumu Sasaki, Ai Ogura, Yuta Date and Takuma Kunimine with Malaysian pole-sitter Adam Norrodin also involved in the heated contest.
Unfortunately, despite his best efforts and strong start from pole, Adam’s was dealt with a heavy blow on the final lap. The Batu Pahat-born youngster made an error whilst under braking, causing him to make contact with one fo the four Japanese riders he was slugging out with, forcing him off into the gravel trap. Adam would eventually recover and finish the race, but was classified down in 11th – a disappointing day indeed.
The five-way battle climaxed in the exit of ZIC’s final corner towards the start-finish straight after championship leader Sasaki overtook second-placed countryman Ai Ogura to claim the chequered flag first. Just 0.032 seconds separated Sasaki from Ogura whilst Yuta Date finished in third just 0.870 seconds behind Sasaki.
A sweet redemption from his DNF in the last race in Sepang, Sasaki’s defence for the 2015 title strengthened further as he continues to lead the standings with 126 points in total. Kunimine ranks second with his total score of 91 points so far whilst Thailand’s Nakarin ‘Chip’ Atiratphuvapat is third with 89 points in total.
Overall, this was indeed a day to forget for Team Malaysia. Besides Adam’s costly mistake, Malacca native Shafiq Rasol was forced to sit the weekend as a result of his high-side crash during Friday Practice left him with a broken finger. Adding tot his was rrookie Azroy Anuar’s DNF after crashing out on lap 3 whilst Helmi Azman was plagued with bike setup issues that hampered is pace, costing him a potentially good run having started from fourth.
On the up-side though, the towering Fakhrusy Rostam of Pasir Gudang ended the day in 10th despite facing strong difficulties due to his still healing leg injury. Wildcard rookies Ahmad Idham Khairuddin and Luth Harith Erwan, on the other hand, charted yet another successful race finish with Idham coming in 13th and Luth in 16th. The duo would once again gain crucial mileage and race experiences, thus further increasing their chances on becoming full-time series riders for next year.
In the points standings, Team Malaysia are in a difficult position to say the least. Both Adam and Helmi, who are ranked 9th and 10th respectively, are in danger of losing their top 10 ranking. Ranked in 11th and tying with Shafiq Rasol in 12th with a total of 46 points. The results gallery below should give a much clearer image of the situation.
Race 2 will take place tomorrow at 12:30pm local time, with both Adam and Helmi determined to redeem themselves as they still hold strong starting positions – pole and fourth respectively. We’ll have more updates after tomorrow’s race.
Results (FP, QP & Race 1)
2015 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Round 4 @ Zhuhai, China – Race 1
2015 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Round 4 Race 1 by Mauro Talamonti