The last AKOC round in Macau is already past news but even if we were stupidely stranded in Bangkok, received the info a little late and do not have pictures to illustrate the article, we feel we have to give you the information.
For your reference, but also to salute all the racers who did well in Macau and those who won a title in the 2008 AKOC season. You may already have noticed but KartingPhotography likes AKOC and there was no way we would give a miss to the conclusion of a great season.
See you in 2009 for another enticing season, despite the dark clouds gathering on the economic horizon...
...and this does not mean that we will not continue to add articles in the coming days and weeks.
This report is the one sent to Vroom for their coverage of the last AKOC race
The last round of the Asian Karting Open Championship in Macau is the most exciting event of the Asian season. It traditionally has the highest number of participants (Japanese drivers can join in numbers as their home season is over) and the meeting also serves as a platform for the CIK-FIA Asia-Pacific Championships (KF1 and KF3). This year again more than a hundred drivers (around 120) took part in the AKOC races, a very good score considering that we were missing a few Thai drivers stranded in Bangkok (by the blockade of the airports) and a few more who went to Italy (for the Rotax Grand Finals).
Filipino Christian Gaddi, having won all eight races of the previous four rounds, had already be crowned 2008 champion after the Saraburi round and, at Macau, raced in the Mini Rok class.
Miss Praewphan arrived late in Macau and could not join the time trials, she had to tune her go-kart during the qualifying heats. Khun Veravich started the heats on pole position and won the 3 races!
The Macau pre final was a Thai battle, with Khun Veravich winning ahead of Miss Praewphan, while the final was won by Filipino “Gab” Dacasin in front of Khun Veravich and Justin Monzones.
Gabriel Dacasin and Khun Veravich finished respectively 2nd and 3rd in the Championship.
The meeting was dominated by Filipino Vencer Jon Suba who clinched the best time in time trials, won 2 of his three qualifying heats, and went on winning the pre final and the final, in each case with a comfortable lead of 5 or 6 seconds.
Second in the time trials, second after the qualifying heats and second in the final Filipino Fernando Villalon became the 2008 champion in the Yamaha Senior class, and Vencer the Vice-Champion thanks to his impeccable performance in Macau.
The Yamaha Junior AKOC season was also dominated by Filipino drivers and RG Romero won the Macau final and the championship, ahead of Milo Rivera and Brian Del Val.
Mini Rok (22 entrants)
Racing on his home track did not help Andy Chang who, at least mathematically, still had a slim chance to retain his 2007 crown in the Mini Rok class. But the time trials came as a deception as he could not do better than 11th. He finished the final 5th, just behind 4th-placed Igor Omura Fraga.
Igor Fraga, who won 6 of the 10 races of the season, won the championship, followed by vice-champion Andy Chang, but the stars of the Macau meeting were two racers registered as Filipinos… but with names sounding definitely Japanese: Masataka Chiba and Kazuto Kotaba.
Matasaka clocked the fastest lap in time trials, won qualifying heat 3 and the final. Kazuto was 2nd best after the time trials, won heat 2 and finished 2nd in the final.
Third in the final Thai Sasakorn Chaimongkol also finished 3rd in the 2008 championship.
Cadet champion Christian Gaddi won the pre final and lost his 2nd place in the final after failing the technical inspection. We will surely see more of him in 2009 in the Mini Rok class.
Junior (125 Open, Rok Jr, Rotax Jr, 21 entrants)
Bryan Mehta had already bagged the 2008 125 Open Junior championship at Saraburi and he did not race in the AKOC Macau meeting, concentrating his effort on the CIK KF3 race instead (where he finished 6th).
It was then left to Indonesian Kevin Susilo, fresh from a podium at the Silver Cup in Italy, to ensure the show and he did so in style (best time in time trials, winning the 3 qualifying heats, the pre final and the final).
The final was a thrilling race with 4 racers battling it out until the last lap. Kevin had to recover from 4th on lap 2 to win the race, followed by an excellent Franco Reyes who finished 2nd from 9th on the grid. The two other protagonists in this hard-fought race were Swiss Raphael Aguiar (the winner of the Rok Junior 2008 grand finals, who was invited by AKOC) and Japanese Yoshito Matsumoto (Rotax Jr).
Their good performance at Macau gave Kevin Susilo the Vice-champion title and Franco Reyes the second runner-up position in the 125 Open class.
The 2008 Rok Junior champion is Joey Orduna from the Philippines (he won again the pre final and the final in Macau) and in Rotax Jr the title went to Thai-Danish Sandy Stuvik.
Filipino Jose Antonio Turalba is not a racer who likes to rest on his laurels. Although he had clinched the title at Saraburi he came to Macau to win again and he achieved his goal (pole in time trials, winner in the 3 heats, 2nd in the pre final and winner in the final).
In that context we have to salute Chinese driver David Zhu for having managed to beat Turalba in the pre final (by 1 tenth of a second but still a win!). David finished second in the final, ahead of another racer from China, Zhang Da Sheng.
Jonathan Reveille, unfortunately stranded in Bangkok with some others Thai drivers, had enough points to become the 2008 Vice-champion in this class, followed by David Zhu.
Senior (125 Open Sr, Rotax Sr, 27 entrants)
Filipino Stefano Marcelo was leading the championship with a very slim margin (2 points) over Thai Tin Sritrai before Macau so the last race was to decide who would win the championship in the 125 Open Senior class.
Tin got the fastest lap in the time trials (49.170), with Stefano second (49.390). The suspense was maintained.
And then disaster struck in the qualifying heats for… Stefano, who finished 26th in heat 1 and 25th in heat 2. His second place in heat 3 still relegated him to 20th on the pre final grid.
Meanwhile Tin Sritrai had won the first two heats but a 14th place in heat 3 made him lose pole position for the pre final to Thai Nanin Indra Payoong, who was eager to demonstrate his talent for his first race with the Tony Kart Team.
Tin won the pre final ahead of Nanin and Ryan Mumford but all eyes were on Stefano Marcelo who managed to come back from 20th on the grid to 4th.
Stefano Marcelo made it a point to win the final after a race-long battle with Tin Sritrai, who finished only 2 tenths of a second behind the leader. Stefano’s last effort did not produce the ultimate reward though.
By finishing second in the final Tin Sritrai secured the 2008 title… with a 3 point lead over Vice-Champion Marcelo Stefano.
Ryan Mumford, 3rd in the final, is the second runner up in the 125 Open Senior class.
The Rotax Max race was won by Japanese Daichi Nagano with a 7 seconds lead over Hiriki Takagi.
Luca Ferigutti is the Rotax Senior 2008 champion, Gary Mumford won the Veteran class title.
We will come back several times to Macau’s Coloane track in 2009. For the AKOC rounds but also for the CIK-FIA World Karting Championship, organized for the first time ever in Asia.