Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
Proton Satria GTI/Proton Production Car Championship (qualifying session Rounds 5 & 6):
Low steals pole position from Lew.
Jimmy Low put in a blistering final lap to claim pole position ahead of championship favourite Eddie Lew for tomorrow's rounds 5 and 6 of the Proton Satria Gti Championship at the Sepang International Circuit.
Low posted a time of 2min:49.485s, just a slim 0.017s quicker than Lew, while in third was Proton Sport's Faidzil Alang. Fourth was Eric Yeo who only managed three laps in the half hour qualifying session before being taken out by gearbox problems.
"The times were very close and although I managed to beat Lew to pole, you can be assured of it being an extremely close race tomorrow," said 44-year-old Low who has the advantage of starting the race 50kg lighter than Lew who is carrying the weight penalty.
"Lew has been very consistent throughout the season and I expect him to be charging for another victory tomorrow. It's going to be a tough fight. What you don't want is to let Lew out of your sights because he'll be very difficult to catch."
As for Lew, pole position would have been the most ideal starting order for the man who has built a strong reputation of consistently being able to run away with the race. He said his nearest contenders will most likely be Low, Faidzil, Yeo and Team Breakaway's Tommy Lee who will start from sixth on the grid behind his younger brother Lew Kar Kan,
"It's a compliment that Liew finds me a contender in the race and championship but frankly, we're all more worried of him running away with the race," said Faidzil."It's going to be a close race again for sure."
In the 1800cc of the Proton Production Car Championship, Jerry Ng staked his claim to pole position and was clearly two seconds faster than the next man on the grid. Azman Hussin will share the front row starting from second while Hafizy Hafiz and Raymond Wong were third and fourth respectively.
"The difference in time is reflected more accurately by my decision to stay out on the track a little longer and I was fortunate that towards the end of the session, the track had dried up significantly," said Jerry who clocked 2min:55.938s on a damp track thanks to unexpected light showers.
"The reality is that the top drivers will most likely be in a very tight bunch for tomorrow's race. Whether it's a wet or dry race tomorrow, it's going to be close. I just have to keep it clean, get a good start and hopefully pull away."
Currently third in the championship, the 44-year-old finished fifth in round three at Sepang last month despite starting from the back of the grid when he missed out on qualifying. In Johor, Ng was second and fourth in rounds 1 and 2.
Azman meanwhile, is banking on a wet race tomorrow which he said should cancel any mechanical advantage the drivers have.
"Better to have it raining tomorrow so that the racing becomes a lot closer," said the 38-year-old driver from Johor. In round three in Sepang, he was comfortably running second in the race until a gearbox problem forced him out of the race.
In contrast, and enjoying his stint from last place on the grid, is successful veteran driver Zulkiflee Hassan who at age 52, is the oldest of the 30 competitors in the race.
"There are a lot of fast and talented drivers out there on the grid. My times are competitive and although I may not be among the fastest, I certainly am the oldest," said Zulkiflee who, despite signing up for the entire championship, missed out on the first three rounds due to budget constraints.
"To be frank, the car is not up to the mark at this point and with financial difficulties, it's become a huge challenge just to make it to every race by itself," said Zulkiflee who recorded a lap time of 3:13.301.
The quickest in the 1600cc novice division was Ahmad Fauzi with a time of 3:00.089s, while A. Kesavamoorthy and Razman Zakaria qualified second and third respectively.