For the Round 2 of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, Team NAZA Aylezo travelled to China where they fought against a field of 28 cars at the Shanghai International Circuit. The FIA Grade 1 race track features 16 turns over a length of 5.541km and has one of the longest straights in the calendar at 1170 meters.
Although Round 1 went pretty well for the team, there was still much to learn about the all-new twin-turbocharged 488 Challenge race car. Using the open and free practice sessions to further understand the race car’s behavior on the Chinese race track, Zen Low managed to clock an impressive 2:10.379 during the Qualifying 1 session, earning Team NAZA Aylezo the P2 spot on the grid to start Race 1 in.
The team was in high spirits to start the race on the front row and Zen was also set to convert the P2 start into a podium finish. As the light turned green, Zen wasted no time and gave chase towards the car in front with hopes of overtaking him and taking the lead. Unfortunately, Zen had pushed the car a tad too hard in the opening stages of the race and with only 15 minutes left to the checkered flag, he started to lose position due to tire degradation and only managed to cross the finish line in P4.
While it was not the result that the team was looking for, they have learnt a very valuable lesson on tire degradation and further understanding the behavior of the race car. Team NAZA Aylezo did not let this to dampen their fighting spirits and immediately showed that they meant business in Qualifying 2 where Zen stunned the field by being the only driver making it into the 2:09 range, firmly planting the team to start Race 2 from pole position with his blistering 2:09.598.
Keen not to repeat any past mistakes, Zen got a good start and gave his best to defend the position against the pursuing field of 26 cars, all eyeing for the P1 position in the race. Finally, after 14 laps of intense racing, the Jalur Gemilang was seen on the podium once again as Zen drove the 488 Challenge race car across the finishing line to claim P2 in Race 2.
Adding another trophy into the collection, the next race will take the team to China once again, but this time to compete on the newly opened Zhejiang Circuit on 9-11 June. Team NAZA Aylezo would like to take this opportunity to extend their greatest appreciation to everyone who had helped in making this journey possible, especially RJJ, Naza World, FX United, Rudy Project, Ecotint and Lifestyle Chiropractic LLP.