Sunday started out sunny and promising, as the racers of the RaceWorks Elite Racing Series looked forward to a day of solid racing after rain had ruined the first two rounds. However, the weather forecast wasn’t positive and as predicted, thunderstorms came in the afternoon.
Using the same layout as the previous round, the drivers’ familiarity with the track showed in their improved lap times recorded during practice. Teams were also managing the tyres better, dealing with the overheating issues and getting good life out of their tyres.
At the start of the day, the drivers were aware that getting a good qualifying in would be crucial given the rain forecast which could require the final results to be based on the standings from qualifying.
Erasing the disappointment from the last round (disqualification due to technical issue), Nicholas Lee of Team Tamiya SG got off to a good start and clocked a stunning lap time of 16.100 seconds in just the first lap. Thereafter, he continued to show consistent pace throughout qualifying, easily winning the first round of qualifying.
His team-mate Alvin Koh also displayed good performance, running second to Nicholas with a fastest lap time of 16.492 seconds. However, a mistake in the last corner coming onto the start-finish straight cost him close to five seconds and it was Allister Lim of Team HB/HPI Racing who jumped to second spot just before the five-minute window ended. Allister maintained his pace and hence qualified second with Alvin in third.
The biggest upset of the day came from Team Xray as both their cars did not start for Q1. Series leader PY Tang of Team Xray Singapore suffered a snapped rear belt during warm-up and could not make it back in time for the start, while his team-mate Wee Yi Xi faced electronic problems with his newly-built car (completed just minutes before qualifying).
Before Q2 could start, the Heavens decided to open its floodgates and a heavy thunderstorm descended on the track. After a two-hour wait, with no signs of the rain stopping, it was determined that the final results would be based on the Q1 results.
“Honestly, I wasn’t well prepared for this race. I only had the day before to practise since the last race and the grip of the surface was a little different compared to the month before. The main issue for this series is the tyres, but fortunately our car (the Tamiya TRF 417V5) is the easiest to set up in such tough conditions. I feel happy about my win and this wouldn’t be possible without the support from Team Manager Andrew Law and Chhua Joo kiah. Both of them helped me a lot, especially when I have to spend most of my time serving the nation. This win is hence dedicated to the team,” said Nicholas, winner of Round 3.
It was disappointing for the drivers as this is the third consecutive time that rain had disrupted race proceedings. Half the championship points were awarded in this round once again since the finals were not run and this could have a big impact on the overall series results by the season’s end.
In the drivers’ championship, Nicholas faces a big deficit as he missed the only full-points scoring round (in Round 1) due to National Service commitments. He would now need to try to recoup the gap in the remaining rounds. Meanwhile, Alvin shoots to the top of the drivers’ championship.
With both Team Tamiya SG drivers finishing on the podium this round and a no-show from Team Xray Singapore, the team championship is now led by Team Tamiya SG, as they take over top spot from Team Xray Singapore. Allister’s unexpected podium finish helped to lift Team HB/HPI Racing off the bottom of the standings to a joint fourth.
The next round will be held on 5 May and fingers will be crossed hard for good weather this time!