PETRONAS Syntium Team Accomplishes Goal of a 1-2 Finish at MMER 2012

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay News | Latest Industry News

• PETRONAS Syntium Merdeces-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 finished overall 1st, with sister car #28 in 2nd.

• Same stellar driver line-up of Taniguchi, Yanagida and Ang used the same car and won the MMER 2012.
• This is the third overall MMER title that the PETRONAS Syntium Team has won.

PETRONAS_Syntium_Team_successfully_defends_MMER_title_1Successfully defending their title, PETRONAS Syntium Team beat the heat and achieved the desired result of a 1-2 finish at the 13th Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) 2012. Flagged off at noon this year, the reigning champion formula of the Merdeces-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 with Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Dominic Ang had a smooth run and came home first with 319 laps at the stroke of midnight. Sister car #28 with Tatsuya Kataoka, Fariqe Hairuman and Melvin Moh experienced a bout of bad luck but recovered and followed up in second place with 317 laps. The first to win the MMER three times, PETRONAS Syntium Team’s last 1-2 finish was in 2009.

 

Qualifying in second place, the PETRONAS Syntium Merdeces-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 was running second until the race leader encountered troubles just before the ninth hour. Taking over the front of the field from that point, it was a clean run home to the chequered flag. Sister car #28 started in third place and was staying close behind car #1 until it got caught behind the safety car and lost precious time. More time was lost when the car had an extended pit stop due to the need to change brake pads. Fortunately the consistent pace built a good enough gap from the next car and the target of a 1-2 finish was achieved.

 

“It was good to hear the ‘Negaraku’ (Malaysia’s national anthem) being played at the home country for our team and the MMER means a lot to us. Consistency is key in endurance racing and I couldn’t have asked for more, with a hardworking team and disciplined drivers, all of whom contributed in their own ways to make this dream happen. Our partnership with PETRONAS goes back a long way to 1990 and together, we have gone through many tears of joy, as well as a fair share of disappointment over 22 years. With their support, PETRONAS Syntium Team has pushed boundaries and steadily chalked up the titles and wins,” said Dato’ David Wong, team principal of PETRONAS Syntium Team.

 

He added, “At the same time, we have created a proven platform for young Malaysian drivers to develop upon. They have shown tremendous improvement year on year, being put on a steep learning curve as they receive guidance from the professional Japanese drivers who have a lot of experience.”

 

Structured to provide young drivers with efficient accelerated driver development, the PETRONAS Syntium Team puts them alongside the professional Japanese champion drivers for maximum opportunity to learn and make effective progress. Ang made his debut in GT racing with the team last year and clinched not one, but two major titles – Super Taikyu overall champion and MMER winner – with Taniguchi and Yanagida.

 

“I’m very happy to have defended the MMER title and this is an early birthday present to myself. The race was good and my pace was quicker compared to last year. Temperatures were very hot this year and we spent a good part of the race chasing down the leader and pushing competitive timings. We couldn’t really back down and had to keep pushing yet keeping it safe to make sure we bring the car home,” said Ang.

 

“Teaming up with (Nobuteru) Taniguchi and (Masataka) Yanagida has helped me grow a lot as a driver and also as a person. Both of them, and also the rest of the crew, have been imperative in my driver development. I am very grateful to Dato’ David Wong of DWA Motorsports and PETRONAS for this opportunity and I would also like to thank the team and our supporters.”

 

In 2011, PETRONAS Syntium Team made the debut of the highly sought-after Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 in the region and successfully inked the books of history by clinching the overall victory of the MMER, along with third place as well. This marked the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3′s first ever victory in long-distance endurance racing worldwide and PETRONAS Syntium Team was rewarded for its achievement with the “Best Racing Performance” award at the AMG Customer Sports Season Finale.

 

Back in Japan in the six-round Super Taikyu Series, the professional Japanese endurance race championship, PETRONAS Syntium Team is topping the leaderboard with the same two cars after three rounds, on track in their pursuit of securing the fifth consecutive Super Taikyu title. The fifth round of Super Taikyu will be held at Suzuka Circuit on 20 – 21 October.

 

NOBUTERU TANIGUCHI / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1

Last year was tough and this year was no different, as we had to keep fighting and pushing. An endurance race means consistency and reliability, and although we had to be quick, we also had to make sure we don’t push the car over its limits as we need it to go the distance. I’m glad the race went according to plan for our car #1. We will now go back to Japan for the last two rounds of Super Taikyu and the next target is to clinch our fifth overall Super Taikyu title.

 

MASATAKA YANAGIDA / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1

It was a good battle and even though I was battling hard to close in on the race leader, I still remembered to enjoy the race as well. Endurance races mean needing full concentration for prolonged periods of time and I was focused on pushing for each stint. I never let myself feel any pressure during the race and just focus on delivering my best. I would like to congratulate PETRONAS and also my team-mate (Dominic) Ang as this is their home country.

 

DOMINIC ANG / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1

I’m very happy to have defended the title and this is an early birthday present to myself. The race was good and my pace was quicker compared to last year. Temperatures were very hot this year and we spent a good part of the race chasing down the leader and pushing competitive timings. We couldn’t really back down and had to keep pushing yet keeping it safe to make sure we bring the car home. Teaming up with (Nobuteru) Taniguchi and (Masataka) Yanagida has helped me grow a lot as a driver and also as a person. Both of them, and also the rest of the crew, have been imperative in my driver development. I am very grateful to Dato’ David Wong of DWA Motorsports and PETRONAS for this opportunity and I would also like to thank the team and our supporters.

 

TATSUYA KATAOKA / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28

Our car #28 was also aiming for the win, as our pace and lap times match our sister car #1. Unfortunately, we had some problems with the car balance and during the first stint, I was experiencing big oversteer. The safety car period also worked against us when the safety car came out before us and resulted in us being one lap behind the race leaders. We also had to change brake pads, causing one of our pit stops to be extended. Nonetheless, I’m glad we came home well.

 

FARIQE HAIRUMAN / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28

I am a little disappointed in not getting the win – we always seem to run into some bad luck. Anyway, it was still a good race and luckily enough, we managed to come through for second place. It’s been a long time since I last stood on the top of the podium and I am still waiting for it, so I will keep fighting. Meanwhile, huge congratulations to the team and I’m glad to be part of the family, being the longest-serving driver.

 

MELVIN MOH / Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #28

This definitely makes a good memory as it replaces the ill-fated memory I had of MMER when I raced with this same team and suffered a DNF (Did Not Finish). This time, it has been a very satisfying weekend as I had a good pace and second place is a great achievement, especially after the two incidents that cost us valuable time. My focus was to remain consistent and not make mistakes and I’m glad I achieved that.

 

DATO’ DAVID WONG / TEAM PRINCIPAL

It was good to hear the ‘Negaraku’ (Malaysia’s national anthem) being played at the home country for our team and the MMER means a lot to us. Consistency is key in endurance racing and I couldn’t have asked for more, with a hardworking team and disciplined drivers, all of whom contributed in their own ways to make this dream happen. Our partnership with PETRONAS goes back a long way to 1990 and together, we have gone through many tears of joy, as well as a fair share of disappointment over 22 years. With their support, PETRONAS Syntium Team has pushed boundaries and steadily chalked up the titles and wins. At the same time, we have created a proven platform for young Malaysian drivers to develop upon. They have shown tremendous improvement year on year, being put on a steep learning curve as they receive guidance from the professional Japanese drivers who have a lot of experience.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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