Michael Schumacher began karting at a very young age and he has always attributed his Formula 1 success to the lessons learnt in karting. Aspiring to follow the legendary champion’s footsteps are the racers in the Rotax Max Challenge Asia Karting Championship 2015.
Young Indian racer Shahan Ali Mohsin displayed his talent in the second round of the championship, by finishing sixth after beginning from a lowly P15. The Agra resident, however, did not have the most smooth sailing of weekends. The temperature at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia was soaring. To add to the physical torture were mechanical issues that plagued his kart during the preceding races before the final race.
Qualifying P16 on a grid, Shahan had his work cut out. Things did not look bright during the two heats and the the pre-final race as he failed to even make it into the top ten. But, then the tide turned in his favour during the final race.
The first couple of laps were a dream run for Shahan. He managed to filter through the field and rose to P10 by the second lap. He steadily maintained his pace and was within tenths of the front runners. After rising to P8, his progress slowed. Undeterred by the offensive from the drivers ahead, he managed to grab P6. He could have picked up some more places but sadly, the 15-lap race had come to an end.
Speaking about his strong performance, Shahan said, âIt was a really difficult weekend and things didnât come together until the very last session â which makes scoring consistently very difficult. We need to work hard and make the weekend strong throughout, from start to finish ensuring a good points haul so we stay at the right end of the championship table.â
The next round of the Rotax Max Asia Challenge will be held on May 16 and 17, 2015 at the Elite Speedway Plus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Gritty 6th place for Shahan in Rotax Asia Karting Championship
|20 April (Sepang, Malaysia): Ten year old Shahan Ali Mohsin staged a splendid recovery drive to finish sixth in finals of Round 2 of the Rotax Max Challenge Asia Karting Championship at Sepang International Circuit â located 30 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur.
Racing in the Micro Max category of the championship (8 â 12 years), it was a tough weekend for the Agra lad with extreme temperatures and tropical humidity testing the physical limits of all racers while mechanical issues affected Shahanâs momentum during the run up to the final race.
Practice sessions started on a good note as Shahan finished 9th in the first session but as the track gripped up, he subsequently slipped down the order in the following sessions and couldnât recover thereafter whilst his iS Racing Team worked hard to adapt the equipment to changing conditions.
Shahan eventually qualified a lowly 16th out of 25 drivers â at which point it was clear that it was going to be an uphill task to salvage a good result out of the weekend, with two heat races scheduled before the pre-final and final races.
Things didnât improve significantly in the heat races as he finished 15th and 16th respectively â unable to make significant headway due to lack of pace.
The trend continued in the pre-finals as Shahan once again couldnât manage to finish better than 15th and getting into the top 10 looked like a distant possibility.
However, the team had been hard at work throughout and finally managed to crack down on the mechanical issues and sorted the kart before the finals. Armed with new-found pace, Shahan started 15th in the 15-lap final race but managed to scythe his way past the midfield in the opening laps.
A super-aggressive yet precise approach saw Shahan sail into the top 10 after the opening two laps â for the first time during the course of the weekend. Despite having to pass a train of rivals, Shahan was lapping at a pace just a few-tenths short of the frontrunners.
After making his way into the top 8, the progress slowed slightly as drivers ahead mounted a stronger defence since the pack ahead was doing similar times as Shahan. It was a close fight and positions were swapped multiple times on each lap.
He eventually made it past and was breathing down the exhaust of the fifth place finisher, but simply ran out of laps to challenge the frontrunners and finished merely 0.841 seconds behind the race winner while posting the fourth fastest lap of the race.
âIt was a really difficult weekend and things didnât come together until the very last session â which makes scoring consistently very difficultâ, said Shahan.
âWe need to work hard and make the weekend strong throughout, from start to finish ensuring a good pointsâ haul so we stay at the right end of the championship tableâ, he added.
The next round of the Rotax Max Asia Challenge is scheduled on 16-17 May at Elite Speedway PLUS in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In addition to the Asian Karting Championship, Shahan is also participating in the 2015 JK Tyre National Karting Championship which commences on June 20, 2015.