Sepang Circuit Malaysia, 04th September 2016:: Indian kart racer Shahan Ali Mohsin created history as he clinched the title after a valiant final weekend of the Asian Karting Championship held here today.
Agra native Mohsin managed to thwart off his main championship rival Hayden Haikal in a tough battle, while recovering from a massive bout of food poisoning which forced him to miss two full days of track time.
Throughout the weekend, Shahan wasn't completely fit as he fought the infection which surfaced early on Thursday. He was severely dehydrated and the situation continued to worsen after administration of preliminary first -aid. He was eventually put on prescription medicines and participation in the event remained a major question while his rivals pounded the track throughout Thursday and Friday during practice sessions.
After complete rest for two days, Shahan was finally felt well enough to head to the circuit, although still far from fit.
Right from practice one though, Shahan was in the mix for the top three spots albeit missing a few tenths from outright benchmark. However, he almost magically put it together in qualifying— taking pole position by over two -tenths of a second (0.2 sec) — a dominating showing given the drivers from 2nd to 5 th position were separated by just five -hundredth of a second (0.05 sec).
Coming into the weekend, Shahan was leading the Micro Max championship table by a five point margin to his title rival Hayden Haikal. Therefore it was critical to have a clean weekend with no risks and no surprises and finish ahead of Hayden in all sessions possible which included two heat races, a pre -final and the final.
In the two heat races, Shahan kept his composure despite a few brushes with Amer Harris, who was not in championship contention but was fighting aggressively for the race win. Shahan and Amer fought hard and Shahan passed Amer in both heats but Amer aggressively took the place back both times. The Indian had the big picture in mind and didn't want to push his luck and risk a DNF. Resultantly, Shahan finished 2ndin both heats but was crucially ahead of title rival Hayden who finished Idin both races.
For the pre -finals, the strategy was similar — keep the nose clean and stay on the podium; Shahan was starting 2ndand with Haikal behind in third. Once again it was about Shahan and Amer who passed each other for the lead multiple times but eventually on the penultimate lap Shahan settled for second as Haikal was more than four seconds behind.
So far so good, but the title was set to go down for the wire with Shahan just about holding an advantage but this time it was a three-way fight all the way through from first to the last lap.Amer, Hayden and Shahan were in the thick of it, rubbing bumpers with places being switched between the two championship contenders while Amer led at the front but not far away.
Eventually Shahan settled for third with Hayden finishing second this time around; with the top three finishing within 0.2 seconds. Numbers were crunched with bated breath and at the end of it Shahan emerged four points ahead thanks to his consistent performance over the weekend as the 2016 Asia Max Karting Champion!
"It is unbelievable really it is yet to think in but I was in seriously bad shape on just two days back and couldn't even think of driving a kart, let alone fight for the Asian Championship title-,said an emotionally -charged Shahan.
"The strength I got from having both my parents alongside me throughout was incredible and I still don't know how I managed to walk, get into the kart and get pole position in qualifying. I surprised even myself a little bit!"
Everything after that was a blur and thanks to Wai Leong and the entire Top Kart team for a superb setup and excellent strategy which helped us secure the title with the least amount of risk", he added.
The 12 -year old will be hoping for a repeat closer home in the JK Tyre National Rotax Max Karting Championship as well, where he is leading the Micro Max championship standings with the final round scheduled on September 25.
Shahan is supported by Park Exports, Sakura, Dawar and Jas Exports.
2016 KRS-KKS Asia Max Challenge
MICRO MAX (8-12 years)
Final Championship Standings
CHAMPION : SHAHAN ALI MOHSIN (India)
2nd : HAYDEN HAIKAL (Malaysia)
3rd : OSCAR NG (Malaysia)