PETALING JAYA: Leona Chin showed her mettle by claiming the Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) overall title at Sepang International Circuit to end the year on a high.
After a sensational season opener which saw Leona grabbing two wins, she was back at Sepang to tackle the remaining two rounds of the championship over the weekend.
While Round 3 ran in a similar format as the first-two rounds, the final round came with a different challenge where it featured a 300km endurance format and offered double points to the finishers.
It was on this final showdown that Leona and her team pulled their act together to not only win the race but also collected enough points to be crowned overall champions.
Leona encountered some misfiring issues which forced them to spend extra time in the pit for repairs.
The delay meant they were two laps behind the race leader, forcing them to settle in seventh spot for Race 1 of Round 3.
Teammate Akina Teo took over the wheels for Race 2 and managed to claim a win for the team.
With two races down, the focus was shifted to the final 300km race as the double points finish could play a big role in the championship decider.
Akina drove the first stint and managed to put out a good pace before passing the wheel to Leona. The team encountered a few issues but they were ironed out quickly and Leona was able to resume the strong pace that the team carried.
Their Suzuki Swift crossed the finish line first after 52 laps and over two hours of racing.
It was a big moment of joy and relief for Leona, who had been hunting for the title for years.
“We were all very happy when the results came out. We have been in the industry for many years and were always looked down upon. Today is redemption,” said the 35-year-old, who has been racing since she was 19.”
It has been a fruitful year for Leona as she also won the prestigious Sepang 1,000KM Endurance Race last month.
“Today’s achievement and this season is not just about the driver, but also about teamwork.
“Everyone in the team really helped a lot in the strategy and also in preparing a really good car,” she added.