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Canadian Maxx Ebenal continues to lead 2016 Asian Formula Renault Championship
By: Maxx Ebenal
Unknown to the drivers, the demanding track would require more than mental, physical, and simulator training to be properly prepared for the race weekend.
"Of course I was hoping to be on top of the podium again, but realized quickly that all the preparations I had made before the weekend would not compare to actual 'on-track' experience", says Ebenal.
There was a 3-hour paid practice session on Thursday, in which teams were able to gain valuable track experience, make neccesary changes to the cars, and complete qualify/race simulation runs.
Ebenal sat out of Thursday practice, essentially allowing all other competitiors to receive double the track time going into the races on Sunday.
"After qualify I was more than 1 sec off the pace, and knew that I needed to significantly adjust my driving if I wanted to compete for the lead. We were consistently getting the car going in the right direction, and I was confident to close the gap for the races on Sunday."
Ebenal was able to challenge for the lead in Race #1 by lapping only 0.3sec off of the leader's fastest race lap. After a safety car restart on lap 3, Maxx took the lead coming out of turn 2, only to drop back to 2nd place later in the same lap. Final results for race #1 would put Maxx back into 3rd place due to a 30sec jump-start penalty.
Race #2 was more interesting starting from P3. "I moved up to 2nd after turn 3 on the first lap, but was receiving immense amount of pressure from my teammate. I had to drive defensively all race to maintain my position instead of chasing the leader."
After laps of great wheel to wheel racing, Maxx's teammate made a brilliant pass into the hairpin at the end of the long straight. "He made an agressive pass on me going into turn 3 and held his position strong. I lost part of my front wing during the pass, and wasn't able to keep up with Najiy's fast pace for the rest of the race, finishing in 3rd."
"Most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to follow my dreams alongside my partners BRM Chronographes, Molecule Sports, Air Canada Hong Kong, and Sideways Driving Club."
Harry Chai is pleased with the team's results. "Our performance this weekend was perfect for the new team sponsor Sergio Tacchini. The races were very exciting to watch, and as a team owner, I am always happy when both our car's finish on the podium."
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Page Updated Last on: May 16, 2016