Photo Source: MSF Media
Making their first entry in national race championship, brand new team Moda Machine set out with vigor when they made their debut in the 2019 Malaysia Speed Festival (MSF) Championship. With a two-car entry and a star-studded lineup, it was supposed to be a dream start for the team, but as the opening round of the MSF demonstrated, there is still work to be done.
Team Moda Machine has entries for the Street 1600 NA category with a Honda Civic EK and a Proton Satria Neo competing in the Race Cars 1600 category. The former has actress Faye Kusairi and Mirza Syahmi behind the wheels while the latter feature ex-works PETRONAS driver, Syahrizal Jamaludin with Mirza Syahmi doing double duties in every rounds competing in the Race Cars 1600 too.
Round 1 of the 2019 MSF Championship was a two-day affair as it was the support race for the Asia GT Festival weekend, which made the start of the Street 1600 NA category’s qualifying and races start on a hot and humid afternoon of Saturday.
Mirza Syahmi qualified the car in 6th place, which was a base for Faye to start Race 1. Once the lights went green the race began in earnest and during the jostle for positions going into turn 1, Faye lost a couple of positions. From here, Faye was playing catch-up and finding a difficult path to go through as the Street 1600 NA category was also running together with two other different categories, so everyone had their own personal fight.
Despite this, Faye remained calm and was in control and more importantly, was making strides by posting consistent lap times. Even in those situations, she managed to recover some of her lost positions and brought the car home in 8th place in class.
With Mirza Syahmi starting Race 2 in 8th position, he already has plans right from the start how to overcome the position deficit, and which he did well once the lights went off. Making up three positions after two laps Syahmi was within sight of the leading group. But unfortunately and similar to Faye’s previous encounter, Syahmi was caught in the squabble of different categories fight, which hampered his progress. To compound matters, he was losing massive front-end grip and beginning to experience some issues with the transmission.
With the laps dying down, Syahmi made the decision not to get involve in the fight with the cars in front but not before snatching 5th place and nurse the cars tyres and transmission across the line.
“That was one hot race literally, weather wise and of course the race itself,” Faye said enthusiastically. “Usual with the MSF Championship, the start was frantic with many cars jostling for positions going into Turn 1. Yeah, I lost a couple of positions during this frenetic period and this made me want to recover quickly and not lose too much ground with the lead pack. Once I got the heat in the tyres, I was able to catch-up with some of the cars in front. As I was beginning to get the rhythm and was sure that I had passed some cars, something was amiss with the transmission. With the end of the race in sight, I decided that it was wise to save the car, salvage whatever positions that I can for the team and let Syahmi continue with the task in the second race,” said Faye.
Mirza Syahmi reflected on his race and admitted that despite issues with the car, this was one of his best race to date. “In general the car was pretty decent and despite some issues I was able to join the fight with some of the best drivers in the business, and this really made my day,” said Syahmi.
“My start was good and during the opening laps I was surprised that I had the pace and could make up several positions swiftly. As the laps went down, I was approaching the lead group of different classes’ top contenders mixing with my own class, than the car’s front-end grip began to deteriorate and compounded by difficulties engaging certain gears, it made the situation rather difficult. But with fifth place within grasps and worth fighting for in terms of points score for the team, this was an opportunity that I want to grab and thankfully I managed to do it without much drama,” Syahmi concluded.