YART-Yamaha riders Broc Parkes, Karel Hanika and Niccolo Canepa won the inaugural Eight Hours of Sepang race in challenging weather conditions at the Sepang Circuit yesterday.
The Yart-Yamaha trio completed 80 laps to clinch victory under the floodlights at Sepang, crossing the line in one minute and 49.622 seconds ahead of second-placed Honda Asia Dream Racing Showa (Zaqhwan Zaidi, Andi Farid Izdihar and Somkiat Chantra).
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, comprising Illya Mykhalchyk and Markus Reiterberger, completed the podium.
The race, initially scheduled at 1pm, only started two hours later due to heavy rain but was again suspended after only half-an-hour of racing due to the rain causing limited visibility.
The race resumed at 6pm, leaving the riders with just three hours to battle it out for honours.
Favourites Yamaha Sepang Racing were ahead but surrendered their lead when Michael Van Der Mark, who rode the team’s first stint, tangled with F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Mike Di Meglio at turn 15 on lap 19.
Both crashed but Van Der Mark came off worse and was forced to pit due to damage to his bike.
It cost them more than six minutes to fix, which was a huge blow in the shortened race.
Yamaha Sepang Racing, which also featured Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah, eventually ended the race in seventh place.
BMW Sepang Racing (Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman, Adam Norrodin and Julien Da Costa) finished eighth.
The Eight Hours of Sepang is part of the Endurance World Championships.
It is also one half of the Races of Malaysia doubleheader which also features the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR). The three WTCR races will be held today. Fadhli Ishak