Text by Cheryl Tay
Photos by Tony Lim
It started out as a nice and sunny day with 50 racers looking forward to a day of hard racing in the RaceWorks Onroad Championship Series that runs concurrently with the inaugural Elite Racing Series. With new asphalt laid and a new circuit layout, the teams from the Elite Racing Series teams have been working hard in the run-up to the weekend to get their car set-ups right.
Given the high traction conditions on the new tarmac, teams were faced with tyre overheating issues with the controlled race tyres (all teams are required to use a specific brand of tyres to ensure equality). For optimal traction throughout the race, teams were constantly adjusting their car set-ups to minimise overheating.
The first qualifying round saw the Top 2 teams from Round 1 picking up where they left off, as Team Tamiya SG and Team Xray Singapore charged ahead to lead the pack. It was a clean run for everyone, though some cars clearly suffered from traction issues in the latter half of the session as their tyres overheated.
By the end of the five minutes, it was a 1-2 for Team Tamiya SG as Nicholas Lee qualified fastest followed by his team-mate Alvin Koh. Team Xray Singapore’s PY Tang and Wee Yi Xi finished third and fourth respectively.
However, during post-race technical scrutineering, it was discovered that Nicholas’ car weighed in just under the minimum weight; hence he was disqualified. Two other cars were similarly penalised. The provisional pole was then handed to Alvin.
Here are the final results for the first qualifying session:
To counter the overheating tyres, teams went about adjusting their set-ups for better traction management given the hot track conditions. For example, teams were making fine adjustments to their dampers or differentials. Due to the technical track layout, teams were also lowering the turbo settings on their electronic powerplants to avoid overheating the tyres with too aggressive torque.
Just thirty minutes to the start of the second qualifying session, the blazing sun was suddenly overshadowed by dark clouds and the skies opened for rain. While waiting for the rain to stop, teams took the chance to watch the opening race of the Formula 1 season for some inspiration.
Racing resumed in the late afternoon with the ROCS classes, but it started raining again just before qualifying for the Elite Racing Series was to resume. That ended all hope of any further racing action for the day.
Hence, the final results for Round 2 were based on the first qualifying session. It was unfortunate for Nicholas as his disqualification meant he finished at the back of the pack, losing valuable championship points. Picking up his first win for the season for Team Tamiya SG, Alvin was named the overall winner for Round 2, followed by PY Tang from Team Xray Singapore and his team-mate Yi Xi in third.
“I was expecting another exciting round this weekend after a fantastic Round 1. The other teams were much better prepared this time and of course, we had Nicholas to join in the fun this time. You are never fully prepared for a race, but the team did its homework. The weather and the half-point rule may influence the championship outcome at the end of the season but we are putting focus on future races, hoping to maintain and build on the strong performance,” said Alvin.
According to the rules, the absence of the finals meant points awarded to teams and drivers for this round were halved. At the end of a very short Round 2, the driver and team standings are as follows:
After two rounds, PY Tang still remains at the top of the driver standings, but just barely, with one point ahead of Alvin. Team Xray Singapore also remain at the top of the team standings, with a six-point gap over Team Tamiya SG.
Expect tougher competition levels at Round 3 to make up for the loss of racing action in this round. The next round of the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series will take place on 21 April.