Leona Chin and team claims overall victory at 2021 Sepang 1,000 km race

The privateer team of Leona Chin, Akina Teo, Tham Yik Choon, Adrian Chong and Mohd Nasri in their green Beautyful-Excel Group Suzuki Swift Sport (no.7) took the overall champion of the 2021 Sepang 1,000 km endurance race after starting from 8th on the grid. A total of 39 cars started this year’s race in hot and dry conditions.

While the Akina Teo drove the Suzuki Swift Sport to take the second spot overall when the chequered flag was waved, the team were promoted to first and overall champions due to a breach of sporting regulations by the pair of Hayden Haikal and Timothy Yeo in the Toyota Yaris MTC (No.39).

The duo was added with post-race time penalties by race organisers for violating driving time requirements under Article 18 and Article 16 of the sporting regulations and thus demoted to the third position overall in an updated document that was released at 11:58 pm, nearly four hours after the end of the race.

Leona Chin commented, “Thanks to the fellow sponsors and the team for the arrangements of S1K. We are happy that we won the race. The dramatic race. Lots of challenges from it, and surely we will cherish this moment.”

Last month, Leona Chin also drove another ZC31S Suzuki Swift Sport to two victories in the MTC category of the Malaysian Championship Series at Sepang International Circuit.  

A steady performance from the Tedco Racing team and their Honda Jazz MTC (no. 15) led them to finish the race in third place and then promoted to second, with their combinations consisting of Yee Kok Jun, Mah Siew Chean, Foo Yung Chieh and Aaron Lim Say Joon.

The team commented, “It was a tough long day, luckily we came through cleanly at the end. Unfortunately for the other competitors, I guess that’s racing. We experienced ups and downs this year, and thankfully we got miracle on our side.”

While it was a bitter pill to swallow for the drivers and Wing Hin Motorsports, the pace of the Toyota Yaris MTC over its debut weekend (starting from second) was a huge psychological win.

In total, three Toyotas occupied the top five front positions on the starting grid for the 181-lap race on Saturday morning, with Wing Hin Motorsports’ Toyota Vios MTC (no. 38) just behind in third and Team Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia Vios MTC (no. 37) driven by Tengku Djan, Akio Takeyama and Naquib Azlan in fifth.

The 2021 Sepang 1,000 km was far from a procession, with fans treated to a battle of four cars trading places for the lead throughout the race. Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia’s Vios MTC was in a strong second place until 26 laps to the finish when the front left wheel was ripped away and eventually immobile after getting stuck in the gravel trap of Turn 14.

Their misfortune left the victory for the taking for car number-100 Hi-Rev Dream Chaser Suzuki Swift Sport driven by Mitchell Cheah and Brendan Paul Anthony but their hopes of a victory too came to a crushing end when mechanical problems 10 laps to the finish put them into retirement and also out of the classification.

In the highly competitive SP2 category that saw a field of 25 cars, the R Engineering-HMRT team and their Honda Jazz cars took a one-two finish, with the pairing of Lai Wee Sing and Calvin Wong (no. 339) ahead of Putera Adam and his partner, Chiow Teck Song.

The SP2 category saw the pairing of Eddie Lew and William Ho leading its category for much of the race until disaster struck at the back straight for the yellow Honda Jazz (no. 98) just 18 minutes before the end.

The privateer team consisting of Baron Sim, Pee Sau Fan and Ian Wong Jien Sean finished in third place, completing an all-Honda Jazz podium.

The champion, Lai Wee Sing and Calvin Wong commented, “We did a pretty well overall race, and we won the race with the luck was on our side. Overall, the team did a good job to keep all the strategy happen.”

In the inaugural Toyota Vios Enduro Cup, Aylezo Motorsports’ trio Mirza Syahmi Mahzan, Zen Low and Aiman Haziq completed 166 laps en route to bagging a cash prize of RM10,000. It was a one-two victory for Aylezo with Dato Danny Yip, Kenneth Teh and Chang Choon Ming placed second. In the third spot was 23 Motors’ Al- Farouk and Abdull Miqail, followed by Toyotsu Racing’s Liew Jo Choon and Tan Chan Wei in fourth.

The Team Toyota Gazoo Racing Malaysia rookie team consisting of Jwan Hii, Mika Hakimi and Zizan Razak completed the five-position podium ceremony, ending their first endurance race after what seemed to be a promising first half of the race until mechanical issues slowed down the performance of the Toyota Vios SP2 racer.

Action at Sepang International Circuit continues into this month, with Rounds 3 and 4 of the Malaysian Championship Series (MCS) scheduled to take place from 14th to 16th December.

Image credits: Facebook/owenleejunhui – Photo specialist at Sepang Circuit and Facebook/SepangCircuit



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