The Petronas Syntium Team (PST) has achieved its goal at the Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER) 2012, and also improved on its previous effort in the weekend’s 13th edition by scoring a 1-2 finish. LKM Racing of Hong Kong – featuring World Touring Car Championship driver Darryl O’ Young, Japan’s Keita Sawa and Siu Yuk Lung – finished third.
Flagged off at noon this year, the reigning champion formula of the Merdeces-Benz SLS AMG GT3 #1 with Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Dominic Ang had a smooth run and came home first with 319 laps at the stroke of midnight.
Sister car #28 with Tatsuya Kataoka, Fariqe Hairuman and Melvin Moh experienced a bout of bad luck but recovered and followed up in second place with 317 laps. The first team to win MMER three times, PST’s last 1-2 finish was in 2009.
Qualifying in second place, the #1 Merdeces-Benz SLS AMG GT3 was running second until pole car and race leader Clearwater Racing Team (Gianmaria Bruni, Matt Griffin and Asia GT3 champion Mok Weng Sun in a Ferrari 458) encountered troubles just before the ninth hour, making an unscheduled pitstop due to steering problems on Lap 234. Taking over the lead from that point, it was a clean run home to the chequered flag for the SLS.
The #28 Gullwing started in third place and was staying close behind car #1 until it got caught behind the safety car and lost time. More time was lost when the Merc had an extended pit stop for new brake pads. But it was ultimately enough. LKM Racing had their own drama, too, surviving a tyre puncture at Turn 1 on the seventh hour.
“It was good to hear the Negaraku being played at the home country for our team and the MMER means a lot to us. Consistency is key in endurance racing and I couldn’t have asked for more, with a hardworking team and disciplined drivers, all of whom contributed in their own ways to make this dream happen,” said Datuk David Wong, PST’s team principal.
“At the same time, we have created a proven platform for young Malaysian drivers to develop upon. They have shown tremendous improvement year on year, being put on a steep learning curve as they receive guidance from the professional Japanese drivers who have a lot of experience,” he added.
After MMER, PST heads back to Japan, where the team is topping the leaderboard with the same two cars after three of six rounds in the 2012 Super Taikyu Series. PST’s quest to score its fifth consecutive Super Taikyu title continues at Suzuka in October.