Over. My Street ShootOut campaign at Batu Kawan, Penang over the weekend came to an end early Sunday afternoon. With much fanfare, tire-screeching and sideways action, the 3dot5 campaign mimicked the previous one – i.e. fun, challenging but no podium finish, no Top 5 position, not even points (nope, not even one Minardi-esque one!). Grrr.
Friday Night Arrival
Stanley and I arrived in Penang Island late Friday night, surviving some heavy traffic before Ipoh. With the car stripped to further lighten the hot hatch for the event, my Satria R3 sans its rear seats and trimmings felt plenty good, especially after its major 20,000kms service, early in the day. With R3-spec Stage 2 cams in place, the car felt torquey across the range, with power coming in as early as 2,500rpm. What the Stage 1 stock Satria R3 lacked in the low-end, the Stage 2 engine upgrade certainly proved uncharacteristically pokey with some serious punch in the low and mid range.
Saturday : Test Day
Testing started on Saturday afternoon, after car scrutineering and a course walk. Stan ran first and almost dinked the car at a narrow cross-over, missing the curb by inches. The course had swooping left and right-handers coupled by several fast straights and and hairpins; and of course the customary slaloms. Having been set-up in a car park outside the Batu Kawan stadium, the course consisted of two parts, adjoined by a single narrow lane.
I took it easy on my test-run, to get a feel of the course. Even at slow speeds, the confusing course got me going the wrong direction once or twice. I found the A-boards rather distracting, and the cluster of cones misleading in some areas. With the Stage 2 bushings, car was also tail-happy, and found myself in a oversteer situation under braking. A little spin ensued after failure to counter the loose rear end. Regained composure and completed the course.
Many actually got lost as well, some more so than others! Was quite amusing watching some powering through the first couple of corners, then gradually slowing down, getting lost, then running around like a chicken without a head. Heh. Funny.
The benchmark during testing was 77seconds, set by Hammond Lai. The R3 boys had earlier tested stock cars on the twisty course – an Arena which did 81s, a stock Stage 1 SR3 also 81s and a stock Waja 1.6 – 83s. How an Arena can match a SR3′s times, I do not know. Perhaps an error?
The engineers and mechs from R3 were actually very eager to see how Stan and I would fare, with the Stage 2 kit. Unfortunately, times were not recorded due to us spinning out the course.
Sunday : Race Day
Come race day, Stan and I stripped the car further by removing the front passenger Recaro bucket seat. Another 12 kilos of unwanted weight literally thrown out the door. Familiar faces and cars were there including current Hung class champ Hammond Lai in his trusty 1.8 Civic, the Khong brothers, How WK (many times 1.6 class champ), Julian Pang (also many times 1.6 class champ), Raymond in his Toyota MR2. This round also saw Perodua sending a team of drivers and cars, which was pretty interesting – a track car Kelisa and also a mental MyVI with rollcage and all! Was also cool to see what the Proton Savvy was made of, with Ian Khong at the wheel in the Pre-Viagra class.
The mean MyVI track car scorches! Picture source: YS Khong
A turbo-charged, rear-wheel driven Waja? You bet!
We set up camp beside the R3 support vehicle (howdy neighbours!), who showcased their outrageous rear-wheel driven race Waja, to be fielded for the dorifto event. A rear-wheel 2 litre turbo-charged Waja you say? Stay tuned. Will elaborate on the car later. Besides the Waja, the famous SSO Satria driven by R3 Head of Marketing, Khaidi, was set to scorch the circuit later. Here’s thanking newrin, Foz, Prozac and Andrew for their assistance in setting up the tents and all. Cheers guys! Our very own little pit crew. How cool is that?
Stanley had set a clean first run, and I was pumped up to do the same. Helmet in place, gloved hands on steering and body firmly strapped in with the TRS harness, I was slightly nervous at the starting line. Countdown ensued…5…4…3…2…1…GO! I was off! Launched the car at around 3,500rpm with a little spin of the front wheels due to the sandy tarmac. Almost redlining in first gear, the first 90 degree left turn was taken with zest. Took it briefly to 2nd gear, then had to heel-and-toe back down to first on the first crossover, which was basically a 180 degree turn. Prior to entering the following left sweeper, I grab 2nd gear. The sweeper was understeery, no thanks to the sandy pitch, and had to modulate throttle to keep it tight. Turned in to approach the slalom. I love slaloms and with the Stage 2 car, needed just minute steering input.
The Verne-powered Satria R3. Looks fast, but not! Picture source: YS Khong
Kept it very tight although I found the slalom shorter than during the test-run, therefore needed a dab of the brakes. Exited the last cone on the slalom which led to a left and short straight. Was actually a little tricky here, as the car’s rear stepped out under slight braking. I was sideways literally and had to modulate throttle and counter-steer. The long sweeping right was taken wide to set-up for the next succession of cones. Took it as straight as I could, leading to the first hairpin. Braked late, then heel-and-toed to first gear, right lock of steering then a dash of handbrake to get the rear out. Easy peasy. Kept it in first for the 2nd cross-over, the one Stan almost curbed a day earlier during testing. Was turning in at low speed when the rear stepped out! Aarrgghh. Braked but touched and hit a Proton A-board, which fell. Damn it. Anak Cina pertama langgar A-board! Waduh! My first ever A-board! Recovered, but at least 3-5 seconds lost. The crossover then led to a straight which i took punishingly, heel-and-toed then handbraked at the 2nd hairpin.
Contestant 171 and 2, heading towards the finish…
The succession of one left and right cones after led to a series of 90 degree left sweepers, which taken in sequence was more like a long, sweeping left. The two cones after the hairpin was where the car spun during testing, the rear unsettled under braking. The left sweeper was absolutely understeery. Combination of sand and water puddles dampened any form of speed. The slalom before the finish was effortless navigated, but clocking a good time was out of the question, after the A-board incident.
Stan clocked 81.68s, which wasn’t at all great, while mine was poor 91.19s. Absolutely crap, if you allow me to say so.
Timed-run 2 and beyond
I was all psyched up for the 2nd run, going through the map layout again, just to briefly refresh my subconscience of the course. Determined to set a good time, I uttered to myself to push hard. First sequence of corners went without hassle but on exit of the left sweeper, car spun! I had lifted the throttle slightly to approach the slalom, but unexpectedly unsettled the rear. Countered and throttled but was obviously too late. Precious seconds were lost, and although the rest of the run was mainly clean, I posted a time of 92.96s, even worse than the previous effort, much to my disappointment. I could not believe I spun, especially not where it happened.
Powering out of a left turn…
Stan seemed to have nailed a good run, with a very clean negotiation of the course, but actually came out slower than his first with a 82.17s. By this time, Khaidi in the SSO Satria had already set best time of the day with 74.49s. Hammond a close 2nd with 76.47s.
My position at this point was somewhere at the bottom. The PITS (pun intended!). I was already slightly deflated at this point, although still eager to do a nice, clean run. Tail between the legs but in full gear, I did my third run. It was cautious, I have to admit, and really not to my nor the car’s full potential. Came out without hitting A-boards or spinning out of course, but not quick. At the end of the day, my 85.19s was good for a disappointing 10th place. Although only 0.1s off 7th place, occupied by pro go-karter Nurul Alis @ Kiki, it wasn’t a consolation. At 85.19s, I was sharing times with bottom-league Pre-Viagra (1300cc and below) class participants!
Hammond, currently top of the table, managed one of the fastest runs of the day with 75.63s, pipped slightly by Khaidi in the SSO Satria. Stan, in his final effort, scored a commendable 78.83s which placed him in 4th overall. Not fantastic times, but good enough to score some points. Happy that my partner-in-crime had come out, guns-ablazing in the Top 5, but wished I could have shared that space there with him, like at SSO 1dot5, Danga Bay, where we were both in the Top 5.
The car is fantastic. As responsive and direct as they come. Kudos to the R3 team for the tweaking and tuning. I’d like to write about the car performance with the Stage 2 upgrade, but I’ll leave that for another time. What I really need to do now, as I told Stan, is to practice and adapt to the car. During the SSO, it was very obvious that the car was far more sensitive to throttle input, steering, braking and weight transfer than stock. Perhaps I was numb or just not sensitive enough to the ‘new’ characteristics of the handling. Stan adapted to the car a whole lot quicker. It’s funny when you think about it, since I own the car! But hey, like they say, good practice makes perfect, and to quote The Terminator – “I’ll be back!”. Stronger, quicker, better!
Congrats to all winners!
Results can be downloaded here. (PDF format)
Will likely participate in the KKS Autocross in early September. Will take that as a practice session. Till then, keep your eyes peeled on the Waja turbo, and review of the Stage 2 Satria R3!
Oh btw, fellow SR3 owner Foz @ InCube has some extra pics. Visit his blog. (Warning: Some understanding of ‘bahasa pasar’ required!). Also surf on to cryogenesis and Nurin’s for even more pics.
Note: Naniyo sha garo means “what the fuck are you doing?” in Japanese. Hehehe. Thanks, J. Luv ya, you sweet, funny thing!