13 December 2011

Asian Karting Open Championship (Round 5)

Asian Karting Open Championship
8-11 December 2011, Macau

Fresh from winning the WSK race in Singapore, Jon is in good spirits to face new challenges on a track he has never seen and driven before. Anticipating hot actions on track but it was the cold weather that caught us by surprise, especially in the morning when it was a freezing and windy with a temperature of close to 10 degree Celsius.

Jon set off to Macau by Tiger Airways on 7 December. Upon arrival, he headed straight to the track to hand over some important spare parts to his coach, JP and mechanic, Raymond.

The Kartrodomo de Coloane in Macau is an awesome high speed track. Wide enough to accommodate three to four karts in a row, and with more than nine turns, it offers exciting opportunities for overtaking at almost every corner.

The race program started on 8 December. Jon, who is participating in the "Mini Rok" category, had four non-qualifying practices on Thursday. Friday consisted of three non-qualifying practices, scrutineering after the last practice, and ended the day with a "Drivers Briefing" at the official hotel.

On Saturday, Qualifying Practice 1 started as early as 8am when the sun is barely visible and the ambience is still very cold. Soon after the qualifying, JP headed to the official trays to collect the result and was overwhelmed to see Jon on Pole among 20 drivers from six different countries! As the temperature got warmer in Qualifying Practice 2, a few other best drivers from the region seemed to have found more pace than Jon and eventually he was relegated to fifth position. Starting from fifth in all three heats, the team is not able to find a better pace, especially the lack of pick-up exiting from corners and thus with the combined results from the heats, Jon will have to start from eighth in the Pre-Final the next day.

On Sunday morning, the team tried a few set-up changes but it did not seem to work. In the Pre-final, Jon started well and he was already fighting for fourth after the second corner but after a while, each time he tussled with another kart while trying to overtake, lack of acceleration caused him to lose even more places. The situation seemed to get worst as Jon ended Pre-final at ninth position.

In the Final, Jon had a reasonable start but was soon caught up in battle with the Indian champ, Kush Maini and Jarute of Thailand. All three drivers were trading places in most laps that left them separated from the front group of six drivers.
Finally, Jon was able to emerge in front of the pack on  the last lap and cover the last corner well to finish in a respectable seventh position.

"It's a new experience of karting in the cold weather and I enjoyed it very much. This is my first race in AKOC 2011 and my first time racing in Macau. I'm quite happy to finish the race in top 10 position. Thanks to Drakar Racing Team (Uncle Raymond and Uncle Edwin) for giving me this great opportunity to race overseas. I also want to thank Uncle Roland for arranging the logistics. Special thanks to JP and Raymond for their great guidance and supervision, "said Jon.

This is Jon's finale (last race) in the cadet category. Stay tuned as 2012 will be an exciting year as Jon moves up to the Junior category which will definitely be more challenging!

more pictures of the race can be viewed here...

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