7 December 2011
BY CHERYL TAY
THEY had never participated in a motor race before, and none of their parents nor boyfriends were around to provide much-needed support.
But Red Bull Rookie drivers Emmiline Ang and Amirah Mokhtar – the first women from Singapore to participate in the Sepang 1,000km endurance race in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday – soldiered on and gave creditable performances in their racing debuts.
Both of them took part in the Red Bull Rookies Search that started in February with over 500 applicants and made it to the top six.
Ms Ang, 24, then went on to the final two, and won the last selection round in June.
Ms Amirah, 20, showed great potential and promise, and was kept on the team and allowed to join the training sessions, though she was not scheduled to race until last month, when Red Bull decided to send in two cars for the race for the first time this year.
Ms Ang was part of the three-person, all-woman Red Bull Rookies team with Malaysian Puteri Ayu Jasmin and Fauziah Haziz of Brunei.
Ms Amirah joined Malaysians Mark Darwin and Siti Shahkirah Shaharul in the RB21 team – the youngest team in the competition.
The Sepang 1000KM is an endurance race that was previously part of the 12-hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race.
Consisting of production cars below 1,900cc, driving duties are rotated between the drivers over the course of the nine-hour race. The winning car is the one which completes the stipulated 181 laps first.
Ms Ang drove three one-hour stints and took the car home as her team’s finishing driver, coming in 15th out of the 28-car grid after clocking 164 laps.
Ms Amirah’s team were looking good for a top-10 finish, but suffered from an electronic failure after 158 laps and had to retire from the race.
The first thing that Ms Ang said upon completing the race was: “I need a bath!”
She also commented: “Now that I have racing experience, I want more and I hope I will be able to find sponsors and continue on this journey. I took part in the Malaysian Super Series in November for licensing requirements and other than that we had training only once a month, or once in two months.”
Ms Amirah added: “It was our first time racing at night and we couldn’t really see the track. I’m glad everyone is safe and although our car failed us towards the end, we at least completed more than 75 per cent of the race.
“It would have been better if we had finished the race but I’m very satisfied and I don’t feel exhausted at all.”
*This was first published in My Paper.