BACK-TO-BACK class victories in the opening 2 rounds of the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship were a great start to young Malaysian Hayden Haikal’s international racing campaign in Thailand this year. The 18-year-old put in maximum effort as he got the job done and gave the Malaysian Wing Hin Motorsports team its first two victories on its maiden appearance in Thailand.
This is Hayden’s second year competing in Thailand, his first appearance in the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship, and also the first time that Wing Hin Motorsports is racing in Thailand.
“To win our very first race here on our debut is just crazy! We hope to continue this momentum for the rest of the season,” said Hayden who was in a Toyota Vios. “The drivers in my category are very competitive as I had expected. The cars the top drivers are running turbocharged cars that are way faster than our car with a normally-aspirated engine. Thanks to the team, our car, however, seemed to be the most reliable and had better handling, enabling better cornering speeds and braking compared to the rest of the field.”
In Round 1’s race at the 4.554-km Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Hayden was fastest in his class and the only foreign driver registered in the championship, He commendably handled the pressure of being up against 21 rivals to finish 8th overall and first in his class. Starting from 5th on the grid in Round 2 the following day, he completed the 12-lap race by improving his overall finish to 6th and again first in class.
“The Chang International Circuit has traditionally been good to me. I’ve won here on 3 different occasions in the past and it suits my driving style very well. There was nothing more I could have done. The turbocharged cars just had greater straightline speed, acceleration and pace,” he said.
Hayden, who is also a regular in the Vios Challenge in Malaysia, is looking to capture his first international racing title after finishing the overall runner-up in another Thai championship, the Thailand Super Eco Saloon Car Series, last year. Winning the first two rounds means he now leads the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship.
The championship continues with another 4 rounds, with Rounds 3 and 4 scheduled in May, and the final two rounds in June.