It has not been a lucky season in the Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC) for Daim Hishammudin but the 13-year-old Singaporean never stopped fighting and believing in himself and his team BHPetrol Racing. At the fifth and final round of the 2011 AKOC, Daim battled his way to the podium in third place out of the 20 drivers who raced in the Formula 125 Junior Open category.
The weekend at the Kartodromo de Coloane started off with intensive practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, before qualifying on Saturday where Daim qualified 8th. Starting in 8th for all three rounds of the heats, Daim then finished 10th in Heat 1 but pushed harder and came in 4th in 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. Gearing up from the second row on the grid, Daim had a good start in the final and was up in P2. He lost a place later but managed to keep in third place to the chequered flag after 18 laps.
“I was aiming for a podium finish for this round. My kart wasn’t as fast as the others and it has been a tough weekend for me just trying to get into the top five. After experiencing a bad spell in the previous four rounds with disqualifications, penalties and kart failures, I am glad I ended my debut Junior karting season with a hard-fought third place finish in my last race of the year,” said Daim at the end of the race on Sunday.
Team principal Rodney Francis Magness of BHPetrol Racing Team commented, “Daim 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.”
The 2011 AKOC started off brilliantly – also held in Macau – for Daim when he finished first from 12th on the grid. However, the result was voided due to a post-race underweight penalty that he received. Daim then entered the second round in The Philippines with a fractured collar bone, but managed to score a second place finish. The third round held in Indonesia was a terrible experience for Daim – he had to deal with an inferior kart which severely lacked pace and was knocked out of the race by another driver. At the fourth round in The Philippines again, Daim was running up to second in the finals when his chain cover flew off and he was given a black flag.
Although the AKOC did not turn out as hoped for, Daim achieved success in the 2011 Rotax Max Challenge Malaysia and Rotax Asia Zone Challenge where he finished overall second and was only one of two Singaporeans invited to compete in the prestigious 12th Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Plans for Daim’s 2012 racing season are still in the pipeline and more details will be released soon.