Putrajaya Top Gun Challenge - 2 Oct 2011

posted Oct 5, 2011, 12:47 AM by Robert Fernandez   [ updated Apr 25, 2012, 1:42 AM ]
Putrajaya F3000 Powerboat Top Gun Challenge

For the first time in a long while, an almost complete field of pilots together with boat and engine builders from Malaysia and her close neighbour Singapore converge on the scenic lake fronting the Maritime Centre in Presint 6, Putrajaya to battle it out and stake their claims. Ten invited boats made the line-up and the warm up laps during the practice / testing session showed the vast improvements in speed that all the crafts were capable of. You couldn’t tell who had the better package by just watching in the early stages.

Kane Fernandez (Boat #25 - Team Fernandez Racing) who posted a qualifying time of 45.43 second set the pace by getting more than 2 seconds ahead of Awang (Boat # 23 - Kandis Racing) in 2nd position followed by Larry Chua (Boat #16 – Team Singapore F1 NC) in 3rd, Tan Chew Peng (Boat #38 – Team Techsteel) in 4th, Keith Fernandez (Boat #1 – Team Fernandez Racing) in 5th, Laurence Wong (Boat #19 – Team Singapore F1 NC) in 6th, Anuar Saidon (Boat #68 – Malaya’s Dragon Team) in 7th, Mohd Haniff Borhan (Boat #61 – Team Fernandez Racing) in 8th, Tony Chew (Boat #3 – Team Atlantic) in 9th and Andrew Goh (Boat #89 – Team Andrew) in 10th. Andrew who had a fuel feed problem failed to get it fixed in time and eventually missed the start.

The race employed the rolling start method and Kane who set pole made a clean getaway followed closely by Awang. Anuar who had qualified 7th however failed to observe the starting grid formation and jumped the start. In 3rd position, he was savagely pursued by all three boats piloted by Keith, Tony and Larry. Most of the action was the fight for 3rd and 4th places.

First, it was hard charging Keith who managed to make a move on Anuar and get ahead to next go after Awang but just as he had overtaken Awang, he hooked, missed a turn buoy but eventually emerged to finish ahead of Awang. Next, Larry, a rookie in his first F3000 Powerboat race, got ahead of Tony and managed to make a move stick on the now 4th place Anuar and held on to that position till the end. Tony who had an engine bogging problem pulled out on lap 10. Haniff, the prince of drift (motorsports) in Malaysia, another rookie in his first F3000 Powerboat race, drove a safe and steady race and will come back stronger at the next race.

This event was also an opportunity for Laurence, Larry, Haniff and Kane to get some practice for their forthcoming participation in the F1 Nations Cup later next month in Singapore. Overall, everybody was satisfied as this time around, there was a level playing field and everybody got a chance to pit their driving abilities and machines against probably the best line up of boats in Malaysia ever.

Anuar, though finishing 5th, was disqualified for a faulted start. He had meticulously prepared his boat all through the week and was disappointed with his performance. When asked, he said he had ‘technical problems’ which needed a bit more time to resolve. However, he was very pleased with the organization of the event where he felt the conditions were good unlike the big letdown in Melaka a couple of months ago. Anuar, who hopes to race in the Formula 1 Powerboat Championship, said he’s looking forward to the next race when he hopes to have sorted out his engine package or probably come back with his new boats.

Keith, who finished 2nd was penalized for missing a turn buoy (when he hooked) and was relegated to 7th position after being docked a lap. It happened at the far corner of the racing circuit and was not noticed by the marshals but was observed by his father, Robert who brought it to the attention of the marshals and was conceded by Keith. Asked to comment on this, Robert Fernandez (Principal of Team Fernandez Racing and Managing Director of Aquatech Marine Sdn Bhd, the Official Promoter and Organizer of F3000 Powerboat Race Events) said “It would have been fantastic to have my two boys on a 1-2 finish, but it’s a sport and we play by the rules. As much as it would have given me a lot of pleasure, at races organized by us, we do not resort to or condone ‘set-ups’ (cheating) in order to get the results that we desire. We don’t need to win races that way.”

Congratulations to Team Singapore F1 NC for their very credible and gallant efforts. Onwards to Abu Dhabi and let’s bust some propellers …

We would like to express our utmost appreciation to all the Top Gun Pilots / Teams who have come all the way to participate in and support this F3000 Powerboat Race Event.

And A Very BIG THANK YOU to Everybody who has helped to make this event a success !
For detailed qualifying times and final finish position, check out Race Results