Caption: Ong Chee Mang (L) with his fourth place trophy from the opening round of the Rotax Max Challenge Asia/Malaysia on March 5. Picture: Courtesy of Ong Chee Mang
Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ONG Chee Mang claimed a fourth place finish in the DD2 Masters Category during the opening round of the Rotax Max Challenge Asia/Malaysia on March 5.
He completed the 20-lap race with a time of 17:00.307 at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia.
Riki Tanioka won the category with a time of 16:45.825 followed by Thiru Kumaran, who was 15.366s behind, and Saw Khai Loon on 16:51.094.
Ong felt there is still plenty of work to be done but was satisfied with the result.
“We are still learning from the race because of the tyre compound change. A lot of set up hasn’t been tested due to limited time,” said Ong in an interview with BruSports yesterday.
“During the two-day practice we had so much to do from running in the new engine to setting up. We only had so many sessions that we could do in a day.
“We were slower by 0.3s to other Master DD2 drivers. We just didn’t have the pace but overall it was good that I managed to snatch fourth place,” he added.
“With the competitors getting faster plus our lack of testing and myself being overweight, I’m quite happy with my result,” continued Ong.
Caption: Ong Chee Mang (L) pose for a photo. Picture: Courtesy of Ong Chee Mang
Ong became the first go-kart racer from Brunei to book a berth in the grand finals of the Rotax Max Challenge in Italy in October last season after placing second overall - one win, three runner-up and two third place finishes.
He was then knocked out in the pre-finals after placing 68th out of the field of 72 racers - with only 34 racers advancing to the final - at the Napoli International Circuit.
Having already got a taste of the grand finals, his main target this year is to make it there once again.
“The aim for this year will be the same as last year which is to make it to the world final (in Portugal) and to compete against the world’s best drivers,” said Ong.
“But being overweight has been the biggest problem of my racing career. I did a lot of cycling during the off season to maintain his stamina.
“I’ll need to do more and watch my diet now. I’ll also need to eat less and work harder,” he added.
He went on to thank his team Stratos Motorsports, team manager James Russell, mechanic James Ret and the rest of the team members for getting them to where they are now.
The second round of the Rotax Max Challenge Asia/Malaysia will be held at the Elite Speedway Plus Circuit from April 22-23.