IT WAS an outing to remember for eRacing Grand Prix SEA champion Mior Muhammad Hafiz who represented Malaysia for the first time in the inaugural FIA Motorsport Games at Vallelunga Circuit, Rome, Italy, earlier this month.
Mior, who finished eighth in the grand final of the Digital Cup category, can stand proud after being one of only two drivers from Asia to qualify for the final round of the competition.
The other driver who followed Mior into the final was Chou Yi Teng from Taipei.
During the qualifying round, Mior clocked his best lap time at 1:30:428 and was then seeded to race in semi-final B which featured the likes of eventual overall champion Cody Nikola Latkovski from Australia.
Mior did not qualify for the final after only finishing fifth in the semi-final.
But the day was not over for the 31-year-old as he still had a chance to redeem himself and advance to the grand final.
He was still eligible to race in the repechage round, which was an alternate path for the top three drivers of the round to eventually advance to the grand final.
A different level of challenges presented itself in the grand final as 12 of the best drivers went head-to-head to claim the Digital Cup overall champion title.
Mior, who started the race in last spot on the grid, climbed his way up and managed to finish in eighth position where he clocked a time of 29:16.236.
“It was difficult to race here, especially when you have to compete with the world’s best.
“Initially, I was a bit disappointed for not securing an automatic spot in the final. But after speaking with Alex (Yoong) and using the pointers he gave me, I managed to stay calm and focused.
“It paid off as I positioned myself in the top three of the repechage round and took what was my only remaining option to advance into the grand final.
“It was a breathtaking race for me as I needed to overtake a number of cars ahead while defending my position. All in all, this weekend was a tough but enjoyable experience.
“I would like to thank Axle Motorsport, especially Alex Yoong and our sponsors, JD Sports Malaysia and Esports Kuala Lumpur Association (ESKL) for this wonderful opportunity and for all the backing that they had provided throughout my journey.
“It was a special moment that I will remember for the rest of my life, ” Mior said after the final.
Yoong, who is Axle Motorsport executive director and took Mior under his wings, said he was satisfied with his overall performance throughout the FIA Motorsport Games.“Clearly, this was going to be a brand-new experience, especially for Mior, as I only expected him to make it into the final, which he successfully managed, but for him to finish eighth was a bonus considering this was his first time competing at the international level.
“It was very interesting to watch, especially his transition from the beginning where he was very nervous and then slowly gained confidence in the repechage round where he drove with a bit more freedom and did very well to finish third.
“In the final, he maintained momentum, especially with his pace and did a tremendous job overtaking and defending his position. Overall, I was pleased with his performance and feel he has a bright future in this sport, ” added Yoong.
The FIA Motorsport Games was inspired by a successful event at last year’s GT Festival in Bahrain. Six categories were featured in this year’s edition — GT Cup, Touring Car Cup, Formula 4 Cup, Drifting Cup, Karting Slalom Cup and Digital Cup.