Published on March 6th, 2018 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Azlan Opens 2018 Campaign with Double Podium Finishes
Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman’s hunt for his third Asian title has gotten off on solid footing. Two strong performances at the season-opener of the Idemitsu Asia Road Racing Championship at the Chang International Circuit had placed the Manual Tech KYT Kawasaki rider in good position to defend his SuperSports 600cc title.
Azlan headed into Race 2 with a third place finish in his pocket from the previous day. Racing under the blistering heat, with air temperature up to 36 degrees and track temperature recorded at 60 degrees Celsius, a remarkably fit Azlan featured prominently in a lead group that comprised of Anthony West, Ratthapong Wilairot, Zaqhwan Zaidi and Decha Kraisart.
The Malaysian stuck to the leading pack for the first half of the race, waiting up to Lap 15 before he made a bid for the lead. Unfortunately for the Malaysian rider, he ran wide at Turn 1 and could only rejoin the race in fourth position. From then on, it was a desperate chase on exhausted tyres in an effort to catch up.
Just when it looked like Azlan was going to miss his appointment with the podium, Zaqhwan Zaidi collided into Ratthapong Wilairot at the last corner. A delighted Azlan skipped to the finish line with his second consecutive third place finish in 30’01.634s.
Up ahead, Anthony West clinched the race win in 29’59.201s followed by Decha Kraisart in second place.
Japanese riders Yuki Ito and Tomoyoshi Koyama completed the top five.
“I had some engine issues halfway through Race 2 and had to push very hard to keep up. Because of that, my tyres were worn out faster than the rest of the leading riders,” explained Azlan. The Malaysian’s double podium places him second overall on the leader board with 32 points.
In the Underbone 150cc category, Mohd Helmi Azman was promoted as the winner of Race 2. Helmi, who had been putting in a strong performance in Round 1, finished the race in second but became the winner following a sanction on Wahyu Aji Trilaksa which added 20 seconds to the Indonesian riders’ time.
In the revised official results, Helmi was awarded the win with a time of 16’42.183s. Indonesian Syahrul Amin went up to second place and Amirul Ariff Musa third.
Round 2 of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship will take place at The Bend Motorsports Park in April.