Published on July 5th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Grass Racing Autocross Championships Round 1, 2011
Malaysia’s leading autocrossing community known as GRA launched their 6th year in autocrossing with an impressive line up of business partners to forge ahead in growing grassroots motorsports here. GRA is currently backed by BFGoodrich Tires, Red Line Oil, Vanli Genuine Parts, Gophers GPS, EcoCoats Interior Enhancers, and PG Perma Glass. For the 2011 season, Renault Sport has become the official car manufacturer with Strawberry Fields being the official cafe partner and Meguiar’s returning back to GRA after a 2 year absence. It was a fun filled event with all partners supporting their cause of promoting grassroots motorsports and partnering with GRA that is sanctioned by the Motorsports Association of Malaysia. GRA running a 5 round calendar for 2011, ran Round 1 at Shah Alam Stadium. Marcus Chye in the Team Lotus car started as car number 1 as he took last year’s championship, followed by Ivan Khong in the BFG Subaru with Ee Yoong Cherng in his Nissan Skyline V8. This year’s title fight will go down to the wire as the drivers were chasing top spots with time differences of less than a second between them. The Grass Class drivers started their runs in the morning with William Lim from Team Vanli Genuine Parts in his Suzuki Swift stamping his continuing winning form since last year. Woo Keen Pong, also from Team Vanli managed a 4th place in Class OA with a borrowed Kelisa from Charlene Khoo. It would be a big chase to the championship this year as William now leads Class OA ( up to 1500cc ) with Alven Lee in second from Team Red Line and Kenneth Chiew from Team EcoCoats in third. The top 4 drivers in Class OA would be an interesting battle, as the drivers are pretty close on points. Howard Goh from Red Line Oil said, ‘This year’s championship would be interesting as the competition is tough and the top runners are all running Red Line products, which is great for us!’. Julian Pang from Team Red Line would be having it tough this year with Mitch Chong from Team Strawberry Fields taking 1st in Class OC with Sia Chee Bin from Team PG Perma Glass taking 2nd in the class. Julian having won last year’s championships for Class OC would up the ante after suffering a broken engine during the race. Class OB driver Charlie Ling from Team EcoCoats with his Levin AE86 proved to be a runaway leader in the class with no one being able to catch him. Benjamin Yoong took 2nd with new comer Aaric Ooi taking 3rd in his Waja. Ray Leong from Team EcoCoats traded in his Nissan 180sx for a Nissan Sentra 1600cc this year and managed a 5th place in a totally stock car. The main battle for Round 1 came from the top drivers in this country for autocrossing by Marcus Chye, Ivan Khong and Andy Kow. Ivan led mostly by less than a split of a second after four cumulative timed runs. Marcus and Ivan were exchanging FTDs, which Andy following a close third in the class. Surprisingly in the Overall standings Mitch in his Proton Satria Mivec was chasing the top three positions in his fully lighten FWD car. His times were matching the top runners, goes to show that weight is an important element in gaining time round the slaloms and donuts. Meguiar’s detailing products made a return to GRA with Victor Lim’s Evolution 7. Committed for the this year’s program ‘ Meguiar’s is once again happy to be involved with Malaysia’s No.1 Autocrossing fraternity, we are looking forward to synergies with GRA’, said Mr. Johan Wong, Operations Manager. Renault Malaysia’s entry into GRA was a welcoming sight as Ian Khong took the Renault Megane through the paces of an Autocross track for the first time in GRA. It was the first time that a machine of this caliber has ever set its sight on an autocross event. ‘The car was quite fast around the course which shocked me, considering the size of the car, it was very maneuverable around the slaloms and donuts’, said Ian who is the 2004 Asian Autocross Champion. GRA which is Malaysia’s leading autocrossing community had its first mobile café set up at the venue. Strawberry Fields Head of Operations Mr. Alwyn Leong was instrumental in creating an actual café during the event. ‘Driver’s need food and water to keep their driving at top level, and it is great that GRA is in synergy with us to bring great food to great drivers!, chuckled Alwyn. In the novice category of Grass Class, Sky Sin in an automatic Proton Putra took 2nd Overall, his highest finish so far since he joined GRA a year ago. Jarryd Tan from Team Gophers took 2nd in Class B, with Benjamin Yoong taking 1st in the same class. Gophers Managing Director Mr.Lee Siong said, ‘GRA’s community is closely knit and we are proud to be a part of it’. GRA’s Managing Director Ms. Low Jian Nin said, ‘GRA is about a driver’s community. We are here to promote grassroots motorsports the right way, and going about it correctly is getting the right understanding that licensing and safety of the driver’s is of the upmost importance!’. It is good that grassroots motorsports is headed the right direction with GRA at the helm. For more details of this excellent form of motorsports do log onto www.grassracingautosports.com for more details.