Mokhzani expects a smoother race in Sepang

  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 18 Mar 2008

PETALING JAYA: The just concluded Australian GP was chaotic with a lot of interruptions and only seven cars finished the race. 

But the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chairman, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, does not think a similar scenario will take place in the Malaysian GP this weekend. 

“Sepang will provide a different kind of challenge for the teams and drivers. It is entirely different from the street circuit of Albert Park in Melbourne,” he said. 

“Unlike in Melbourne where only seven of the 22 cars finished the race, we will definitely see more finishers in Sepang because our track offers larger run-off areas. 

“The teams will also be better prepared for Sepang after studying their performances in the opening round of the season.” 

Mokhzani added that SIC were ready to deliver the best-ever race in their 10-year history and he expected the race for top honours to be a three-cornered fight among McLaren, Ferrari and BMW Sauber. 

“We saw the power of McLaren in Australia and a convincing performance from BMW Sauber. Ferrari did not do well and they will be determined to bounce back in Sepang,” he said. 

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton won the season-opening race comfortably ahead of BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Williams' Nico Roseberg, whose third place was his first on the podium in his F1 career.  

Fernando Alonso of Renault finished fourth while defending champion Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari earned a point in eighth position after Honda's Rubens Barrichello was disqualified. 

The SIC are hopeful of attracting a record 125,000 spectators to the GP this weekend. 

On whether the SIC see the inaugural Singapore GP in September as their closest competitors, Mokhzani does not think so but said it would actually help Sepang in terms of attendance. 

“The hype and excitement for the inaugural race in the island republic would increase awareness and interest for the Malaysian GP as well,” he said. 

“I don’t see the two races in Malaysia and Singapore competing against each other because one is at the start of the season and the other is at the tail end. I would think that the fans would want to see both races.” 

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