It was not the result that they were expecting, but Malaysian karting team RL Karting promises to come back stronger after a disappointing weekend at the 2011 CIK-FIA Asia Pacific Championships held at Kartodromo de Coloane in Macau. Leading race karters Bryan Homi Mehta of Malaysia and Dhruv Shivaji Mohite of India competed in the KF1 and KF3 categories respectively. Both drivers were struggling to find pace all weekend and while Mehta managed to finish 9th in the final, Mohite unfortunately met with an incident that prematurely took him out of the race.
In the KF1 category of 15 drivers, 17-year-old Malaysian driver Mehta, newly-crowned All Stars Karting 2011 Malaysian KF2 champion, qualified 8th and finished 11th in both Heat 1 and Heat 2 on Saturday. He finished 10th in Heat 3 on Sunday morning, giving him a combined heats result of 11th. Starting in 11th for the pre-final, Mehta came in 8th but was relegated to 11th after receiving a 10-second penalty for a bad overtaking manoeuvre.
Said Mehta after the race, “We were very optimistic on Sunday morning as we had good timings. But I suffered a penalty from the pre-final that pushed me further back the starting grid for the final. During the final, the engine wasn’t running to its limits in the first part of the race and it got better towards the end but it was too late. I am feeling disappointed as all of us could have done better.”
13-year-old Mohite from India, who recently finished overall third in the Junior Max category of the JK Tyre – FMSCI National Rotax Max Karting Championship 2011, was aiming for a top 5 finish for the KF3 category – a likely result if not for the mishap during the final. Mohite encountered a flat tyre and misfiring from the engine during qualifying, putting him last of the 14 drivers. Starting in the last row for all three rounds of the heats, Mohite came in 12th in Heat 1 and 10th in Heat 2 on Saturday, before finishing 9th in Heat 3 on Sunday morning. A combined heats result of 12th saw him start in that position for the pre-final, where he finished a commendable 7th. That put him in 7th on the grid for the final but a mistake and then an incident on the track cost Dhruv the race.
“I’m still new to the international arena of racing and this weekend has been a good but difficult experience. Other than racing regularly in India, I’ve only done some races in Malaysia and one race in Japan recently. The last time I raced in Macau was three years ago but that was in another series and not as competitive as this CIK-FIA Asia Pacific KF3 Championship that I did this time. The final was a pity – where I had the incident – but I will learn as much as I can and grow from this,” said Dhruv.
RL Karting team manager and mentor Aaron Lim, a professional racing driver from Malaysia, said of the weekend, “We are disappointed with the end result, as the boys were showing strong results in the heats and pre-final, especially for Dhruv. Dhruv is quite inexperienced on the international stage but has proven that he can compete with the best. He did make mistakes, but he has gained a lot in the last one month racing in Japan and here in Macau.
“There was a lot of hope for Bryan to do well and it is a mystery to us at the moment as we had good pace on Sunday morning, but we lost the pace later in the pre-final and final. The team will analyse what went wrong and come back stronger in the next race.”
The CIK-FIA Asia Pacific Championships is part of a prestigious calendar of karting races organised by the International Karting Commission, CIK-FIA, one of the sporting Commissions of world governing motorsport body Fe’de’ration Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).