Sunday, May 26, 2024

2nd and 5th for Wing Hin Motorsports’ Mitchell Cheah and Naquib Azlan in debut TSS Super Compact Race

It was good hunting for Wing Hin Motorsports in Round 1 of the Thailand Super Series when the pair of Mitchell Cheah and Naquib Azlan returned a strong 2nd and 5th place overall finish in their championship debut in the Super Compact class. The performance also earned the team a class win in the normally-aspirated category.

Starting from 6th place on the grid, the Wing Hin Motorsports duo drove their Toyota Yaris to a strong second place finish in Race 1 on Saturday (4 May). Looking to repeat this performance however, began as an uphill task when Naquib who started Race 2 on Sunday (5 May) was lucky to steer clear of a first corner incident which took out several vehicles and brought out the safety car. Naquib had climbed as high as 3rd position in Race 2 before the compulsory pitstop and driver change.

“In a 1-hour race and with conditions being extremely hot (42 degree celcius), the plan from the very beginning was to find a sweet spot in terms of reliability, consistency and outright performance in the Toyota Yaris. We have a strong line-up of drivers in Cheah and Naquib and they are also matured and experienced enough to know when to push and when to sit tight and plan their attack on track,” said Wing Hin Motorsports Team Principal William Loh. “And that was precisely what played to our advantage this weekend.

“This is our first year in the Thailand Super Series and it is intended to be a learning year for us, therefore, coming away with a podium and 5th place finish in the very first round is an outstanding result. We could not be happier with this outcome given the high level of competitiveness in the class.”

Wing Hin Motorsports will also move up a gear when Round 2 of the championship moves to the Bangsaen Street Circuit in 3-7 July with the debut of a Toyota Supra GT4 with Malaysian drivers in the TSS THE SUPER SERIES GT4. This will also mark the team’s debut in GT racing and in support of its objective to give young and talented Malaysian drivers the opportunity to move up into the higher classes of racing.

RACE 1

In Race 1 on Saturday (4 May), the pair of Mitchell Cheah and Naquib Azlan kept a cool composure during the 1-hour + 1 lap race to take the Wing Hin Motorsports Toyota Yaris to second overall.

Placed 6th on the starting grid, Cheah started the race maintaining track position until he came in after 28 minutes for the compulsory pitstop and driver change. Naquib rejoined the race in 8th position but gradually made his way up to 5th, 3rd and eventually 2nd by the 44th minute as he chased down race leader T. Thanaroj in the Honda CRZ who was 3.7 seconds ahead. Both Naquib and Thanaroj traded quickest lap times but it wasn’t enough to make a move for the lead as Thanoraj eventually kept a steady 3-second lead driving across the finish line.

“I would like to thank all the Thai teams, drivers and race fans for welcoming us as guests to the Thailand Super Series. It is an incredibly competitive racing series and to finish as high up as we did, is definitely a great start to the season,” said Naquib.

RACE 2

Race 2 again saw the Wing Hin Motorsports Toyota Yaris starting from 6th position on the 4th row of the grid but this time with Naquib at the wheel.  A first corner contact on the first lap sent Naquib wide, dropping him to 9th position. The incident also involved several cars which brought out the safety car for 3 minutes before the race got going again. As the race got underway again, Naquib made up three positions over a period of 3 minutes to climb back up to 6th.

His decision to stay out for almost 9 minutes extra when the pit window for the compulsory driver change opened brought him as high as 3rd position, before handing over the second driving stint to Cheah who rejoined in 6th.

“It was a hectic first stint which began when I got tagged at turn 1 and lost a lot of positions. From there it was pushing to the max, trying to get as much positions as I could. The initial plan was to box early but the pace was strong so we decided to extend my stint, saving us crucial time,” said Naquib.

A problem with race leader J. Achitaphon’s Honda CRZ just minutes after Cheah’s stint, however moved the Wing Hin Motorsports Toyota Yaris another position up to 5th. Tragedy also struck P. Thananthorn who inherited the lead which promoted Cheah into 4th.

With 10 minutes to the finish Cheah came under pressure from Toyota Gazoo Racing Thailand’s  Na Dol V. for track position and eventually conceded 4th for 5th place. The race was won by M. Chaiya with S. Thanapattra and A. Norrarat in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. – REFLEKS!

Read this > Malaysia’s Hayden Haikal takes 1st GT4 race win in 2024 Thailand Super Series Championship