Recap – The 12 Hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race 2009

The 12 Hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER), or sometimes known as the Sepang 12 Hour will be back this August at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). The race start will be reverted back to its original time with a midnight start, finishing 12 hours later at noon. Ahead of this year’s race, we look back at the 10th edition of the 12 Hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race in 2009. Former F1 pilot Alex Yoong, Le Mans regular Tom Coronel, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Tim Sugden, upcoming local talent Jazeman Jaafar, Super GT driver Nobuteru Taniguchi, Manabu Orido and Masataka Yanagida are among the drivers that took part in the race last year.

Early signs looks promising for the defending champion Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) in class O when they took pole position. However, Thunder Asia Racing (Mosler MT900R GT3) driven by the trio of Tim Sugden, Melvin Choo Kwok Ming and Jazeman Jaafar are not far behind in 2nd place while Team Hong Kong Racing (Ginetta G502) started third.

Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing’s entry, the Porsche 997 GT3 RSR that won them the MMER in 2008.

Fastest qualifier in class A1 is Team Fugazi Racing (Radical SR8) driven by Alex Yoong, Faisal Zelman and Wira Dani starting on grid 11. Team Honda Malaysia Racing Team (Civic Type R) piloted by Aaron Lim, Eddie Lew and Rueben Wong is fastest in class A2 and will start 17th on the grid. 44 cars will be on the grid for the race with 15 cars in class O, 10 in class A1 and 19 in class A2.

Thunder Asia Racing’s Mosler MT900R GT3.

Come race day, pole sitter Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) stalled on the formation lap and were forced to start from the pitlane. This paved the way for the Thunder Asia Racing (Mosler MT900R GT3) to lead the way. While the front runners were running away at the front, both the Petronas Syntium Team’s BMW Z4 car number 15 and 28 conservatively kept their pace and concentrating on finishing the race rather than chasing the leaders.

This tactics paid off when the BMW Z4 team Petronas Syntium car number 28 driven by Tatsuya Kataoka, Manabu Orido, Johan Adzmi took the lead on the lap 53 with their sister car number 15 driven by Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida, and Fariqe Hairuman in 2nd place. Kencana Racing Team driven by Dato’ Mokhzani Mahathir, Sven Herberger and Tunku Hammam Sulong dropped to third place.

Kencana Racing Team won the 12 Hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) in 2007.

Seven and a half hours into the race, as the cars blazed through the track at dusk, both the Petronas Syntium Team’s BMW Z4 kept their 1st and 2nd place. By this time, the Dilango Racing Sri-Lanka‚Äôs Porsche 997 GT3 was up to 3rd. However, both the Thunder Asia Racing’s Mosler MT900R GT3 and Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing’s Porsche 997 GT3 RSR were staging a late comeback and lapped faster than the rest of the field after earlier problems forced the mechanics to work with the cars in the pit. In class A1, Team Fugazi Racing were already a few laps ahead of their competitors.

20 minutes before the end, a dramatic turn around for the race occured when the lead car of Nobuteru Taniguchi, Masataka Yanagida and Fariqe Hairuman in car number 15 suffered a left rear puncture. The sister car number 28 took the lead and finished the race in 1st place. The Petronas Syntium Team’s BMW Z4 car number 15 managed to limp back to the pit to change tyre and finished the race in 2nd place.

A dominant performance from the PETRONAS Syntium Team saw them finishing 1st and 2nd in the race.

Team Porsche Club Singapore Racing (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) finished 3rd, 5 laps behind the winner. LKM Racing Team (Porsche) finished 4th and Danville Motorsports (Porsche 997) finished 5th. Despite having the fastest car on the grid and registering the fastest lap of the race with the time of 2:07.830, Thunder Asia Racing (Mosler MT900R GT3) only managed to finish 6th.

Alex Yoong at the wheel of the Radical SR8 for Team Fugazi Racing.

Team Fugazi Racing is the winner in class A1 and class A2 was won by the Team Type R Racing headed by Wong Yew Choong, Soh Kee Koon and Lai Wee Sing. 17 cars retired before the race and the winner lapped the Sepang International Circuit 305 times in 12 hour.

This year, some of the familiar faces from last year will be joined by Lotus F1 test driver Fairuz Fauzy as he will be partnering his brother and 2004 MMER overall winner Farriz and former German F3 driver Rizal Ashram Ramli in an Aston Martin for Mofaz Racing.

PETRONAS Syntium Team driver Masataka Yanagida.

Last year’s winner, PETRONAS Syntium Team will be back to defend the title with their 2 BMW Z4s. This time the car will be piloted by Fariqe Hairuman, Melvin Moh and Tatsuya Kataoka while another Z4 will be piloted by GT300 winner this year at Sepang Nobuteru Taniguchi, partnered by Imran Zaharias Shaharom, and Masataka Managida.

Related posts:

Through the Lens - MotoGP 2nd Official Test 2010 at Sepang : Part 2
Recap - Super GT 2009 at the Sepang International Circuit : The Art of Driving in the Rain
Shot of the Day - Petronas Syntium BMW Z4
Wallpapers - Michael Schumacher at Sepang Circuit
Malaysian Super Series (MSS) 2010 - Round 1 Practice Session
Super GT 2010 Round 4 at Sepang - Gallery : Saturday Practice and Qualifying Session
12 Hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race 2010 - A Brief Look into the Details
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