Thai youngster Atiratphuvapat conquers qualifying in Sentul, Indonesia leading up to the second race of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup (Shell Cup).
18-year-old Nakarim Atiratphuvapat continued his top form from FP2 and FP3 in qualifying today, scoring himself his first pole position in the series. The Thai national lapped the Sentul circuit with an impressive time of 1:37.428. Not far off behind were the Japanese duo of Yuta Date in second with a best time of 1:37.688 and Ryo Mizuno in third after clocking in 1:37.710.
Speaking with us after the session, Atiratphuvapat explained that his mid-session suspension tweak truly paid off. “My extra push somewhat came from pressure from the other riders I was with whilst lapping the track.” Another factor that helped with his push was the Sentul’s circuit’s conditions and surface mimicking similarly to the tracks he raced on back in Thailand, allowing him to easily adapt himself towards a higher pace.
Atiraphuvapat was clearly elated with his qualifying result, but his mission isn’t over just yet. He added, “I want to win. Tomorrow, I will start pushing hard from the start of the race.”
For Date and Mizuno, the Japanese duo instead had no issues with the weather conditions here in Indonesia. Date stated, “It really isn’t all that different than racing in Japan during summer – its always hot anyways.” Both appear to be somewhat pleased with their top three results, and have shifted their focus towards tomorrow’s race. Like Date and Mizuno, much of the experienced riders have spent a lot of their down-time relating feedback with their mechanics and coach Alberto Puig.
When asked about their strategy for tomorrow, both Date and Mizuno are on the same page with intent on applying pressure on pole-sitter Atiraphuvapat during the race start. Mizuno eagerly said, “I’m ready to give 120% commitment towards tomorrow’s race.”
The seven-strong Malaysian squad also pushed themselves hard on track for qualifying in an effort to redeem themselves after a somewhat dismal FP3. The boys slipstreamed each other for most of the session to gain the best times, however only one managed to rank himself in the top 10.
Making the cut into the top 10 ranks was Fakhrusy Rostam. The 18-year-old Johor Bahru native’s fastest laptime of 1:38.361 was enough to rank him in 10th in a roster-full of Japanese and two Thai riders. The rest of the seven could only manage to place 11th – Helmi Azman, 12th – Shafiq Rasol, 13th – Ibrahim Norrodin, 15th – Nazirul Bahauddin, 17th – Shafiq Ezzariq, and 19th – Adam Norrodin.
The boys are clearly having a slightly difficult weekend, but their drive is as high as it has always been. “Tomorrow, I plan to safely clear myself at the first corner and keep out of trouble first as there will be a lot of riders slugging it out,” said Fakhrusy who is in the most competitive position amongst the seven. Echoing this was Shafiq Ezzariq who qualified in 17th. “The starting will be important and I will try to safely clear turn 1 and avoid falling in the process.”
Nazirul Izzat on the othe hand is more concerned in not repeating his mistake from the start of the last race. “I’ll make sure to start perfectly this time and avoid a jump-start like what happened in Qatar.” Ibrahim Norrodin on the other hand stated his aim to avoid any mishaps altogether, especially after missing out on points after his first corner fall in Qatar.
The Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup second round’s race is scheduled to take place tomorrow afternoon at 1pm local time preceded by a short 15-minute warm-up session in the morning. All 23 riders will compete over 16 laps of the 3.96km-long circuit.
In the meantime, check out our extensive gallery of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup paddock below.
Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup Rd.2 Sentul, Indonesia Qualifying Gallery