Leong Takes His First Win in Asian Touring Car Series
Leong Ian Veng took his first win in the Asian Touring Car Series today, when he crossed the line completing ten laps in a total time of 25:07.940. The Macau driver, from SON Veng Racing Team, was battling for first with Henry Ho when the latter's car suffered mechanical problems and had to retire one lap from the end.
In only his fourth race in the Asian Touring Car Series, Leong has made his mark, coming in fourth and sixth in the previous two rounds before his podium finish today in third for round 7 and the win in round 8.
"I am very surprised to be on the podium today and to win this race. This is my first year competing with the Super 2000 regulations and to get this result today I am now very confident.
"I started the race in fourth and had a normal start. At turn one there were a few incidents and I was lucky to be able to avoid that. At turn 15 on the first lap, I was already leading the race and I led it until lap seven. Then I got really nervous because Henry was very quick and was behind me. I just tried not to make any mistakes and two laps before the end, Henry overtook me.
"Then at the last turn I saw him slowing down and I just maintained my pace and kept it all the way to claim the chequered flag" said a very happy Leong.
Behind him, the trio of Liu Lic Ka, Charles Ng and Lui Man Kit, who started at the back of the grid in 22nd, 20th and 24th respectively, all managed great starts and got themselves towards the front of the field midway through the race.
Liu had the best start of them all, climbing up to fourth by the second lap. From there he overtook Wong Kiang Kuan on lap two and made his move on Cheang Kuok Hang by lap four to place himself in second where he remained to the chequered flag.
"I am very very lucky today because in the first race I had an accident and I wasn't sure if I can race this round. My mechanics did a fantastic job and got the car ready right before the pit-exit closed for this race.
"I started from the back and wanted to do my best but I did not expect a podium. I had a great start and by the second lap I was already in fourth. Then Charles came to push me and since we didn't have enough time to properly set my car, it did not handle so well. I just did what I can to defend my position. So luckily I did not make any mistakes, giving me second.
"I am very thankful to Team IMSP and to all my supporters. I am very happy today" ended Liu with a big smile.
Third placed man, Charles Ng, was able to celebrate his birthday with a podium finish and one of the best races of his career. The young G.Harry Racing Team driver said during the post race press conference "I started in 20th and climbed up to second. That was by far one of the best races I have done so far.
"At the start, there were many incidents that almost got me, but I managed to save my car and after getting past a number of cars I started to have a clean race and just kept climbing. When I saw Liu Lic Ka that was when I realised I would be one of the podium finishers.
"I was fighting with him for quite a few laps. I managed to catch up to him at some corners but his car is a well prepared car and he drove really well so it was hard to pass him. I caught up close to him but not enough to pass him" smiled Ng.
Lui Man Kit finished the race fourth and took the AAMC (Automobile General Association Macao-China) class third behind Leong and Liu. Lui was absolutely stunned with the results of the race today and did not expect to be on the podium. "I had a smooth race today and I pushed myself to the limit to finish third. It is a very lucky day for me.
"My car was not 'normal' after the first race because of the crash but my mechanics managed to fix my car in time. I am so thankful to everyone at RPM Racing Team, because without them I would not be here today".
It was an action filled race today and despite all the drama and position changes, the second race went off without any major incidents. A total of six drivers did not finish the race including Mak Ka Lok, who had an engine change after blowing it during round 7. But the replacement engine also could not last the duration of the race, leaving him to retire after completing only one lap.
Henry Ho also could not finish the race. He started from the pit-lane due to some mechanical issues faced before the start of the race, caught up to the front running pack within seven laps and overtook Leong on lap eight for the lead before having to park on the start/finish straight on lap nine.
"Before the lineup I had problems starting the engine of my car as the alternator broke down and the battery wasn't charging. By the time we got going, we had to start from the pit-lane" said Ho after the race.
"Lap by lap I managed to catch up to the front and then I was in first position when the warning light came on saying that my battery is dying. Then on the second last lap the car started having problems, there was no charge going into the injector and so no fuel was getting into the engine.
"At the straight I had trouble driving and at the turns the steering died so I just parked my car. There was nothing that I could do" said Ho dejectedly.
The Asian Touring Car Series will continue with the final two rounds held at the new Korean International Circuit on 2-3 October 2010 during the Asian Festival Of Speed.