The BHPetrol Racing Team marked their foray into the highest category of kart racing at the CIK-FIA Asia Pacific Championships held at Kartodromo De Coloane in Macau last weekend with Tan Weiron competing in the KF1 category. It is also Weiron’s debut in KF1 – referred to as the Formula 1 of karting – and he finished a commendable 8th out of the world-class 15-driver grid. Simultaneously, the last round of the 2011 Asian Open Karting Championship (AKOC) was also held and the team’s youngest driver Daim Hishammudin, 13, finished third in the Formula 125 Junior Open race.
Weiron qualified in 12th but picked up pace in the heats and finished 8th in Heat 1 and Heat 2 on Saturday. He fell back a little and came in 11th in Heat 3 on Sunday morning and his overall heats result was 8th. In the pre-final Weiron encountered a nudge from another driver and lost places, eventually finishing 10th. Some mismanaging of the tyres in the final caused Weiron to lose pace, but he crossed the finish line after 25 laps in a creditable 8th place.
Commenting on his inaugural KF1 race, Weiron said, “It has been a good and bad weekend at my first ever KF1 experience. We didn’t have any testing and we came right into this race and it is tough to be competing at the top of the field without any experience. Still, it has been an interesting weekend racing against very good drivers. I have lots more to learn in the years to come and I would like to compete in more KF1 races to gain more exposure.”
In the AKOC race, Daim qualified 8th before finishing 10th in Heat 1 and 4th for both Heat 2 and Heat 3. That gave him a consolidated heats result of 5th. From there, he gained a place to finish 4th in the pre-final. A good start in the final saw Daim up to P2, but he lost a place later and remained in third place to the chequered flag after 18 laps.
Team principal Rodney Francis Magness of BHPetrol Racing Team commented, “This has been a good experience for the team as it was our first time competing in KF1. Everything went better than expected and Weiron’s best lap time was just two-tenths off the fastest guy on the track. Considering Weiron has zero experience in this category, it was a praiseworthy performance against top factory teams and their drivers, especially on the super soft Bridgestone tyres.
“As for Daim, he has indeed been having a lot of bad luck this year in the AKOC, but he still managed to produce some good results with a steady progression into the Junior category. It is a good sign that he’s learning and maturing as he races more and more.”
Plans for BHPetrol Racing Team and its drivers for the 2012 racing season will be announced soon.