|Sixth straight win for Ikhwan to close gap to Championship leader|
Afiq Ikhwan claimed his sixth straight win today during Round 12 of the JK Racing Asia Series at Marina Bay Circuit during the 2011 Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
The 19-year-old crossed the finish line completing ten laps in 27 minutes, 10.178 seconds in an action packed race. Two Safety Car periods interrupted the race, the first at Lap 2 when Akash Nandy hit the wall and had to be cleared up.
The second Safety Car Period was called after Iran Ilyas, who was trying to make a move on seventh placed Calvin Seibl, touched and both suffered front wing damage.
For Ikhwan, despite the interrupted race, he managed to stay focused on the race and claimed his second pole to flag win in Singapore.
“I am very happy this weekend we have a good car, a good team and everybody worked together perfectly.
“I had a good start. I managed to pull a gap after turn 5 and focused on my driving, keep my time consistent. Then suddenly I saw the Safety Car, again twice like yesterday, can’t do anything much, that’s racing.
“I saw Lucas and I saw his front wing, then when I crossed the start/finish line I saw the Technical Issue Flag for Lucas, which was a relief” said the Meritus.GP driver at the post race press conference.
Ikhwan is still second in the points table, now with just nine points to current Championship leader, Lucas Auer, heading into the third and final Formula One support race weekend, scheduled in India at the end of October.
“9 points gap between him and we are pushing now to the end of the Championship. For sure India will be interesting. The car that we have, we will bring it to India and we just wait and see how it goes” ended Ikhwan.
Malaysian driver, Nabil Jeffri took his Petronas Mofaz Racing car across the finish line in second and was able to make up some added points after a disappointing weekend in Sentul. He looked happy with the results in Singapore for his team and supporters.
“First of all I’d like to thank the team. It was a really good weekend for me, two podiums. My aim was to bounce back from Sentul which was a disaster for me. I finished my last race in second and I am very happy.
“It was a very interesting race, a lot of things happened as usual on a street circuit, you have a lot of Safety Car, so I kind of expected it.
“I saw Lucas coming quite quickly from the back and I saw his wing was slanted at one point and I thought something was going to happen. I was right, he was called in after a few laps and I was just lucky I guess.
“I think I drove well and the team was great. I am pleased with the result and hope to do well in India” ended Jeffri.
Duvashen Padayachee broke his fourth place finish duck when he claimed a podium finish for the first time this season. The Eurasia Motorsport driver was all smiles and thanked his sister for being his lucky charm and his family for the tremendous support.
“It’s pretty exciting. I feel relieved to get this podium. It’s been a lot of fourth places, the whole season, Sentul was all fourth places. Now with a bit of luck involved but it’s good to get third place.
“It was quite tough. I got a good stat and battled my way through. I started in sixth so I had nothing to lose, just go forward and not backwards. I was catching Nabil for third and then the Safety Car came out and that was just disruption for my race” he said at the Post Race Press Conference.
Auer was unlucky in the race today when he had a first lap incident with Pasin Lahouras while trying to overtake the Thai based driver. Lathouras’ race ended prematurely while Auer managed to continue with worsening front wing damage. The wing finally came off and got caught on the car so Auer was called in to change his nose cone, dropping him down the grid to ninth where he finished Round 12.
“Firstly big thank you to the team. We had such a good car and we were really quick.
“I had a good start, perfect start. I braked at the first corner and Pasin was in front of me and he braked early and I crashed into him with my front wing. I had a little damage, it wasn’t a problem for me.
I was in fourth position and I overtook the third car and then the second but then I got the balck and orange flag so I had to come to pit to change my front wing. After that I finished in ninth” said a dejected Auer. The Austrian driver is looking forward to the race in India for his Eurointernational team.
“I still got a good car and the points lead. I just don’t know how much can happen in six races. Incredible, you can lose and win so many points. I have a great team, a great car and I will just concentrate on India” he ended.
The JK Racing Asia Series continues in India at Buddh International Circuit during the inaugural 2011 Formula One India Grand Prix on 28 October 2011.