13 July 2015

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Jon Lee Bags Four Trophies in One Race

Rok Cup, Round 4 – 3rd Runner-up
Senior DVS – Overall Champion
Challenge Trophy Senior DVS Overall Champion
SMSA Overall Senior DVS Champion
Rok Cup 2015 (Round 4)
11 July 2015, KF1 Circuit

After three intensive rounds of racing held between April to June, Jon will be entering this 4th Round of the ROK Cup Singapore, with a 14 points lead. The team is preparing the final round with a strategy, not to aim for any podium spot but emphasizing on getting enough points to secure the championship. The Overall Champion of each category will also get to represent Singapore at the Rok Cup World Finals to be held in South Garda Circuit on October 2015.

This final round of the Senior DVS Rok Cup saw 14 drivers (six from overseas) competing at the KF1 track. While the overseas drivers aimed to win the races, the local drivers are more focused on winning the championship.

On Friday, Jon only did three sessions of practice to preserve the engine performance. During his final practice session, Jon had some issues with the front brakes pulling to one side. The team decided to swap the whole brake system with a new one on Saturday morning.

During the warm-up laps before Saturday Qualifying, Jon’s pace was reasonable but another problem arose as the team noticed that the engine temperature was rather high. This was an alarming situation because the engine may seize during the race and a DNF will spell disaster for his championship contention. The mechanic checked everything but was not able to find the root cause. In order to ensure that the engine will last, the team decided to run the Qualifying with a richer carburetion setting even though this would compromise Jon’s pace. In the Qualifying, Jon was still able to set the 5th fastest time with his closest championship contender in 3rd spot but due to the 4th position driver was underweight upon returning to the Parc Fermé, Jon was promoted to 4th.

Prior to the Pre-Final, the team had decided that Jon will just need to finish behind the championship contender. Once the race started, Jon was immediately able to gain a spot but soon lost the position back and eventually finishing 4th as planned. This has resulted in Jon’s championship points lead reduced to just 10 points. With a maximum 60 points in the Final race and 0 points for a DNF, the championship is far from decided. Going into the Final, the mechanic was finally able to find the issue that caused Jon’s engine to heat up. It was a loose water pump pulley that slipped during high speed rotation. The pulley and pump were promptly changed and the carburetion was re-set back to normal. Same as the Pre-Final, the strategy was again to finish just behind the closest championship contender.

It was a good start in the Final for Jon and he was able to jump one spot again to 3rd while his closest championship contender dropped to position 7th. With a new carburetion setting and optimum engine temperature, Jon was able to follow the front two overseas drivers from Thailand and Italy. They were able to pull away from the back group but soon the 4th position driver caught up and overtook Jon with ease. Jon did not defend his position as the strategy was finishing the race in one spot behind his closest contender who was still struggling in 7th position. Suddenly a twist of event unfolded in lap 9 as Jon’s closest championship contender seized his engine and suffered a DNF at turn 9. With 11 laps to go, Jon understood the situation and started to adjust his strategy. His new priority was to reduce his race pace and ensure the engine will last till the end of the race. With the reduced pace, the 5th position driver was closing in but there were not enough laps for him to make a move on Jon. It was a big relief for the Team as they celebrated at the grandstand watching Jon finishing in 4th position thus crowning him as the first Singapore Senior Rok DVS champion.

“The overall championship didn’t come easy and I’m glad I made my Team proud. I’m very excited and look forward to representing Singapore at the ROK Cup World Final 2015 which will be held on 14 October in Lonato, Italy," said an elated Jon.

Congratulations to our Team TPCRG for clinching two 2nd runner-up positions in round 4 and the overall Team Category. Many thanks to the race organizer, race sponsors and SMSA for organizing the first Rok Cup in Singapore.

The night literally ended in a bang with a beautiful fireworks display after the podium ceremony.

What an unforgettable night!

X30 Challenge Singapore Race Guide

6 July 2015

X30 Challenge 2015 (Round 2)

X30 Challenge 2015 (Round 2)
4 July 2015, KF1 Circuit

After racing in round 2 and 3 of the ROK Cup 2015 as the driver of Team TPCRG, Jon was delighted to know that his efforts have paid off because Team Principal, Mr. Lawrence has agreed to extend his sponsorship for Jon, including the X30 Challenge 2015, from round 2 onwards.

Unlike the ROK cup which extends its Friday practice sessions till late evening, the X30 Challenge only has five sessions that ended before 6pm. School lessons for Jon ends around 1pm, so he was only able to have two sessions of practice and kart setting up. It was crucial for Jon to maximize the two sessions as the team do not have any data of running an X30 engine on a CRG kart. During the first session, the set-up was not ideal at all and major changes were done. On the second and final practice session, Jon was able to improve his lap times closer to the front runners but the testing was cut short as his engine was overheated. Luckily, the engine did not seize and it was found that a faulty water pump was to blame. With minimum testing, the team will have to rely on the Saturday’s warm up session to get things right.

On race day (Saturday), it was a big surprise for everyone as it was raining heavily in the morning. The kart was re-set completely for rain during the warm up session but in the Qualifying session, as the track started drying, all the teams frantically changed the kart back to dry setting at the Parc Femme. Initially, Jon was able to do some reasonable lap times but during his final hot lap that would have resulted in pole, he was impeded by slower karts thus ending his charge and only able to secure 3rd position.

In the Race 1, Jon did not make progress by finishing 3rd. Upon returning to the pit, lack of testing on the dry confirmed that there were still some issues with the kart handling. The team make some final adjustments before the Final race during the break time.

In the Race 2, Jon had a good start and was able to secure 2nd position. For the next 10 laps, it was a three way fight between the front runners. On lap 13th of the 16 lap race, suddenly the third driver had a mechanical issue and ended his race. This has given the opportunity for Jon to concentrate chasing down the pole driver but it was not to be. On the same lap but at a different part of the track, it was Jon’s kart turn to experience a mechanical issue. It was heartbreaking for the Team, as they saw Jon rolled to a stop at the run-off area.

Even though Jon had a DNF in the Final, based on the points system, he was still able to stand on the podium for 5th place. It was damage limitation as Jon was still in the lead for the championship due to the huge lead he garnered from round 1.

Next weekend, Rok Cup Singapore 2015 will hold its fourth and final round. This is a crucial round as it will determine the overall championship winner. Good Luck to all!