VINTAGE car racing champion Dexter Daquigan left his comfort zone and tried racing at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia for the Classic Mini Championship Asia for the second time with only a podium finish in his mind.
He ended up winning it all.
A many-time Classic Aspirated Cup Series champion on Philippine soil, Daquigan of Mus Mini Malaysian Job/Mohspeed Racing Team took his driving skills in Malaysia, where he discovered that preparation is still the supreme reason why champion racers find ways to beat the competition.
“I really prepared myself for this race. I’ve never prepared myself like this since I started racing cars in 2014,” admitted Daquigan. “I am physically and mentally prepared for this race. I learned my mistakes during the first time I raced in Sepang last May.”
And Daquigan’s intense preparations showed.
After yielding to Malaysian Jeffrey Chew of JC Works Mini in the pre-final race, Daquigan drove a tactical race when it mattered in the final race as he set the pace right on the get go. Chew tried to close the gap every lap, but Daquigan kept his focus all the way to the finish, winning by 1.385 seconds and submitting a best time of 2:56.17.
Liaw Hee Wong of Johor Classic Mini placed third.
“Once the red lights went off, I pushed myself to the limit and had a good position in the first corner to the first lap. I then started hammering it down until I managed to pull a gap little by little. But Jeffrey was very fast in turns 7 and 8 as he closed the gap every lap. But I tried to focus and did not make any mistake. We had a good battle, but I kept the lead until the last turn, all the way to the chequered flag,” said Daquigan.
Daquigan emphasized that racing is a team effort, too and not just about the driver and his car.
“I had the best people on my side, like Muslim Harin, the head mechanic of Mus Mini Malaysian Job, and Hafiz Bachok, the 2016 Classic Mini Championship overall champion, who was my coach,” said Daquigan.
Another factor that contributed greatly to the win was his setup, done at the Mus Malaysian Job garage, where the team did the final adjustments to the car, with the help of Daquigan’s Filipino mechanics Morris Miranda, Eddie Farreras and Armand Hipolito, with the support of head Malaysian mechanic Harin. Daquigan also had his crucial shakedowns at the Johor Circuit.
“It was a really nice experience at the Johor Circuit, as it was a very challenging track with uphill, downhill, camber, off camber spots, everything in one package,” said Daquigan. “Since we already had a shakedown at the Johor Circuit, I knew we can fight for a podium (finish), not expecting to be 1st place overall, but we’ll take it (win).”
Daquigan added: “The most important thing was we managed to tune the suspension and made a last-minute final adjustment that made me more comfortable with my race car. We were able to win the Open Class despite having a lower engine displacement in our race car. We were able to give a good battle and demonstrate my driving skills, proving to the world that a Filipino can compete abroad and win at the same time.”
With his triumph on Malaysian soil, Daquigan suddenly became a hot commodity as he was invited to the K4GP, a 24-Hour Race, also at the Sepang Circuit on Nov. 17 to 19.
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