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Monday December 3, 2012

Nabil’s title hopes up in smoke after crash with Afiq

PETALING JAYA: Nabil Jeffri (pic) lost the chance to win the JK Racing Asia Series title in the most unfortunate circumstances in the last race of the season at the Buddh International Circuit in India yesterday.

The 19-year-old, driving for Eurointernational team, was just two laps away from savouring a glorious moment for Malaysian motorsports when his car was taken out of the race by fellow countryman and Meritus GP driver Afiq Ikhwan.

Nabil was lying in second place and would have become only the second Malaysian after Jazeman Jaafar to win the prestigious series title if not for incident on lap eight of Race 16.

Both Malaysians could not continue the race and South African rookie Aston Hare was left unchallenged to cruise home for the chequered flag and the overall title.

It was a highly successful weekend for Hare, who is Nabil’s team-mate, as he won three out of the four races to finish on top with a tally of 236 points.

Nabil had to settle for second spot with 223 points. Afiq was third with a 174 total.

It was a big disappointment for Nabil after fighting hard in yesterday’s last two races.

He battled his way from 10th on the starting grid to finish third in Race 15 but was awarded the second placing points.

India’s Akhil Khushlani, who finished second, was a guest driver and not entitled to championship points.

For Race 16, Nabil fought superbly from seventh on the starting grid to second to keep his title hopes alive until he was bumped out.

Nabil’s father, Jeffri Al-Jan, who was in New Delhi, was livid over the incident that ruined his son’s chances of following in the footsteps of Jazeman, who emerged overall champion in 2007.

“This is not what Nabil wanted. He was just two laps away from taking the title. He was in second place and the points earned would be more than enough to remain on top in the overall standings.

“Afiq came and hit Nabil on the last corner and it’s not the first time this happened.

“I believe the stewards may take action against Afiq and the team,” said Jeffri.

Nabil was frustrated with the end result.

“I gave my best and it was my best drive. I can’t tolerate such an act happening to me,” said Nabil.

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