Siblings Putera Haikal Hakeem Halim and Putera Hani Imran ruled the opening race of the SIC Rookies Cup with a 1-2 finish and the elder brother, Hakeem taking top honours; winning the 12-lap contest at SIC X30 South East Asia Championship at Sepang Go-Kart Circuit today.
Starting from second on the grid behind pole sitter, Putera Alex Qiefli Esam, the 11-year old Hakeem took the chequered flag in 11 minutes 44.108 seconds; finishing comfortably 1.120 seconds ahead of his 10-year old brother.
Cheered on by their parents and family members at the Grandstand, the drivers are selected and placed under a new initiative by SIC to unearth new talents in four-wheel racing, looked like true professionals despite their young age; competing in full racing gears.
Commenting on his win, Putera Haikal Hakeem, who is mentored by I.S Racing, said he was very happy with the victory and hope that he could carry the winning momentum in the next two rounds. “I truly enjoyed the race today. It was full of fun; and I am lucky to win as I was starting from second place on the grid. Everybody was pushing hard like me to win, and I am happy that I won. Hopefully, I can also win the next two rounds.”
Putera Hani Imran said that his efforts in trying to win were affected by an incident with Putera Alex Qiefli on Lap 9 as he was pushing his kart to the limit. “I was following my brother very closely at the front with Putera Alex. But, our karts touched three laps in the final three laps and allowed my brother to open the gap. But, I managed to maintain my position to finish second. I am happy with second place,” said Putera Hani Imran, who is coached by DRM Racing Team.
Eight-year old Aldrin Cabiles of RL Karting took third with team-mate Raja Ariff Raja Azmi, 12, taking fourth place and Putera Alex Qiefli finishing fifth in an exciting contest afternoon contest under bright sunshine and scorching heat.
The two female drivers in the 10-driver entry list performed commendably in the fight against the boys with Sophia Zara Mustaffa Kamal and Nurul Auni Nasharuddin finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
Starting from fifth on the grid, 12-year old Auni, who competes for Prodigy Racing, was unlucky to be hit on the first turn; but recovered brilliantly to finish the race.
Commenting on her performance, nine-year old Sophia, who competes for 7 Racing, said she aims to do better in Round 2 as she knew that she was capable of doing better.
“Personally, it is not a good weekend for me. I was struggling a bit with pace and the set-up of the kart. I also just recovered from fever and was not able to test on Friday before the race. I know that I can do better. Nevertheless, I’m truly enjoyed the competition. Finishing 7th is not the result that I was hoping for, I hope to come back stronger for Round 2 and finish on the podium,” said Sophia.
Prizes for the SIC Rookie Cup was presented by Dato’ Lokman Hakim Ali, who is Youth and Sports Ministry Secretary-General, Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan and Mitchell Cheah, who are recipients of SIC Talent Development Programme.
Round 2 will be held on June 29 – July 1st.