Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 6:12 PM
Dilantha wins MSS Race 1, Natasha retires
Natasha Seatter retired with engine failures in Race 1 of the Malaysian Super Series. - filepix
SEPANG: Two-time Malaysian Super Series (MSS) Supercar champion Dilantha Malagamuwa rolled back his glory years at Sepang by winning Race 1 of the series’ opening round.
Driving a Lamborghini LP600 machine, the Sri Lankan, however, was forced to toil for victory after an unconvincing start, which saw pole-sitter Philip Callow and woman driver Natasha Seatter bursting away to the first corner and opening a gap on their rivals in the nine-lap battle around the 5.543km track.
Malaysian Adrian d’Silva, who started on the front row with Callow, fell out of contention after spinning at Turn 1.
His Ferrari 458 GT3 machine spun after being hit from behind and he dropped to last place in a contest of 13 cars.
With MSS debutant Callow taking an early lead in his Radical SR8 machine, Natasha’s race ended prematurely after her silver-coloured Radical SR8 car encountered mechanical failure – forcing the 21-year-old to park by the side of the track.
Ironically, the car encountered problems after Natasha, who is hailed as Asia’s current top woman driver, clocked the fastest lap time of 2:07.700 in Lap 2.
With Natasha out, and D’Silva fighting through the grid, it was then left to Dilantha to challenge British driver Callow, who is driving last year’s winning car.
Angus Kirkwood, who drove the car to victory last year, is now the team’s technical manager.
Tapping into his experience of competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Aston Martin Asia Cup and Japan’s Formula Nippon, Dilantha managed to close the gap on the Briton.
The unrelenting pressure by Dilantha clearly unsettledCallow, who made a mistake at the penultimate lap and spun at Turn 9.
This allowed Dilantha to pass eventually cruise to take the chequered flag and win the opening race in 19:32.227 and take 25 precious championship points for the GT class.
Callow was second in 19:57.198 and d’Silva third with a total time of 20:04.908.
Slotted as one of the support races for the Malaysian GP, Race 2 for the class will be held early today.