Images by Perotography
Team Todak Racing drivers Admi Shahrul and Hafez Kamarudin presented sterling drives from the back of the grid in the Super 1500 NA category to come back on the top after their disastrous qualifying, which included a roll-over incident for the former.
Earlier in the day Admi Shahrul escaped from a crash resulting in a roll-over during qualifying at turn 6. Luckily for him, he walked away unhurt and was able to start the race later in the evening and then went on to win the 2019 MSF Merdeka Enduro round. Meanwhile Hafez’s car suffered a broken oil filter adapter and he too was unable to complete the qualifying session which rendered him to the back of the grid.
But with sheer determination and a never-say-never attitude both cars made it to the starting grid, all these made possible by the great job done by Team Todak Racing chief mechanic Gan Kian Huat and his crew, who worked tirelessly repairing both cars until just before the start of the race.
Due to their qualifying dramas, Admi and Hafez began the race from the back of the grid which seemed like an impossible task, initially. But both of them were not about to give up that easily and this is where their sterling drives were on full display.
Running almost in tandem the pair quickly made up ground once the lights went green going into turn 1. Although it looked like it was going to take some time for the pair to close the gap with the lead group of their class, all that changed as they were going into turn 2 during the opening lap.
As usual, with a large grid and with 3 different categories running together, things would get rather chaotic during the opening lap and it did, with an incident involving several cars at turn 2. Admi quickly took advantage of the situation and came out unscathed and it didn’t take long for him to join the mid-pack soon after. Meanwhile, Hafez didn’t quite make the cut and had his work cut out to stay in contention, plus he had handling issues especially on left turns of the circuit which dropped his pace massively.
As for Admi who is now having a much better on-track position, he was beginning to stride forward and was lapping consistently in the 2:40s and moving up the order. That consistent pace played a crucial role during his pit-stop on lap 9. With a near perfect pit-stop time, Admi managed to come out onto the pit straight just ahead of the lead car of team Rab Prodrag driven by Mohamad Shahril and Shamir Aizan, thus taking over the lead.
With the clock running out Admi is now being hunted down by the Rab Prodrag’s car. The pair were trading almost identical lap times until Admi opened up with a blistering high 39s and kept the lead till the finish line. After his pit-stop and some work done to his car, Hafez did a couple of blistering laps to move up the order, but with time running out he could only bring back his car across the line in 5th place, salvaging some vital points to his championship hunt.
“I definitely didn’t expect to win the race today because of that roll during qualifying, and in fact I didn’t know if I could even start, so this result today is truly unbelievable. Gan and his guys worked on the car tirelessly and was determined that I could start the race and I have to give him a massive thanks for his incredible work,” said Admi. “Overall the car was OK, not really the way it was supposed to be given the time that the crew had to work on just to make the start. But I pushed hard for them today and for our sponsor Todak, because it was a good way to say thanks to them with this win,” added Admi.
Hafez who had to push hard after suffering an ill-handling car prior to his pit-stop reflected on his drive from the back. “It was not an easy time during the first couple of laps because I had handling issues which was traced back to a slow puncture. But after the pit-stop and with the tyres rectified, I had to push hard throughout the remaining of the race. So much has happened during this round but nevertheless I’m thrilled to be able to bounce back and make it to the final steps of the podium. Massive thanks to Gan and his crew and our sponsor Todak for having faith in us,” said Hafez.