Race Report by Nicholas Koh, written by Eric Koh:
After missing two rounds, Nicholas joined the 5th and final round of the MTS being 8th overall. On the Saturday testing we were lucky to have Paul Lemieux of XRAY USA on track side helping XRAY drivers with set ups.Sunday started early as we had four classes to run through including 12 scale, moto GP and VTA. The event highlight, 1/10 TC, attracted 22 drivers so qualifying was split into 3 groups. Driving was challenging with poor traction due to low temperature and humidity.
Nicholas finished 3rd for all 3 rounds of qualifying as Motor King and John Lu (Xiao Pang) was averagely 0.1-0.2 sec/lap faster. Motor King took TQ and John Lu second. We were very satisfied with this position as there were many fast drivers including Jimmy Qian (1/12 China National Champ), Heng H (1/12 AOC Shanghai Champ), Lori B of Italy, Hiroyuki Onda of Japan and Lu Wen Bo, leader of the series. Lap times of all these drivers were within 0.2 secs so the finals were going to be very competitive.
Race 1 of finals started after a short lunch break and group photo. A-main had a good clean start and as expected, Nicholas held onto 3rd behind Motor King and John Lu.
Race 2 was more interesting as 4th place driver, Lori B, was able to close in on Nicholas attacking at each corner the first few laps. This allowed Motor King and John Lu to pull away. Lori B clipped a board on lap 5, ending his threat to Nicholas and Nicholas then focused on chasing the front 2 runners. Then John Lu clipped a board allowing Nicholas to pass and take second spot. Nicholas then held onto 2nd until the final minute when a back marker hit him during a pass. This allowed John Lu to regain second spot. Nicholas finished 3rd again. By now, Motor King had sealed his 1st place with 2 wins. 2nd place was open between Nicholas and John Lu. 3rd place was even more exciting as the top 5 drivers still had the chance of winning. Everyone was trying their best to improve on their overall MTS standing in this final round.
A-main Race 3 started at 5:30pm, the last race of the day. Tension was still high as 2 of the 3 races would count toward finals. Race Director, Rick Wang, reminded all drivers to stay calm and race clean. All drivers took off simultaneously at the sound of the tone. Lap one and two went without incidents and the front 6 cars were nose to tail. Heng made a move to pass Lori B on lap 3 and the 2 cars touched. This allowed Motor King, John Lu and Nicholas to pull away. John Lu constantly attacked Motor King and the two exchanged positions a couple of times. Nicholas was 4-5 cars’ length behind when they started catching back markers. Then John Lu clipped a board whilst leading and Motor King and Nicholas both crashed into him. Whilst Nicholas was first to recover he waited for John in the confusion.
The race quickly resumed with John leading again, Nicholas second and Motor King third. In a great move by Nicholas, he squeezed pass John in the high speed right hander to the roar of the crowd. John and Motor King tried everything they could in the remaining 1 minute to regain the lead from Nicholas with the crowd going whoo…..and ahhh………but young Nicholas held the lead to the finish. John Lu came in second 0.162 sec behind and Motor King came in third 0.769 sec behind.
With that finish, Nicholas snatched 2nd position from John Lu and also took 2nd overall in the 2016 Muchmore Touring Car Series, behind Lu Wen Bo. Hiroyuki Onda takes 3rd overall with consistent driving throughout the year. It was a great year racing the MTS and we wish to see the series again next year.