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Hyundai Team Engstler’s Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah in action in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at the Sepang Circuit on Sunday. -Bernama

Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah is good on two wheels. What about four wheels?

It turned out that his performance at the season-ending leg of the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at Sepang Circuit over the weekend has raised quite a few eyebrows.

Hafizh, who has raced in MotoGP for the past two seasons, was a complete newcomer to car racing prior to competing in the Sepang 1000km endurance race last month.

The WTCR race at Sepang was only his second event in a car and he did well to finish 25th from 30 drivers in Race One, 22nd in Race Two and astonishingly in the points in 15th in Race Three.

Hafizh, who drove for Hyundai Team Engstler, initially crossed the line 16th in Race Three but was promoted to 15th following a penalty imposed on Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corsa).

Hafizh, as a wild card driver, had also had to carry a 20kg ballast throughout the weekend.

World Championship winner Norbert Michelisz (BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corsa) was among those impressed with Hafizh’s performance as the latter had also been competing in the Eight Hours of Sepang endurance race over the weekend.

“He did an incredible job this week, first of all from a physical point of view as he did testing on Monday and Tuesday and then jumped on the motorbike and did a lot of hours there,” said Michelisz.

“It is difficult to switch your brain from competing on a motorbike to a car because they are completely different vehicles.

“And to be able to come close to scoring points (prior to Tarquini penalty) is unbelievable, I must congratulate him.”

The Hungarian added that he was happy Malaysia is now part of the WTCR season and is looking forward to coming back.

“As you can imagine, I have won the (world) title here in Malaysia so it will be in my memory for a lifetime,” added Michelisz.

“No matter what happens in Malaysia it will be one of my favourite circuits.”

Malaysia fielded three wildcard drivers at Sepang with the other two being Mitchell Cheah (Hyundai Team Engstler) and Douglas Khoo (Viper Niza Racing).

Mitchell, who was suffering from fever on Sunday, had also done well to place 19th, 16th and 19th in race one, two and three while Douglas managed 26th, 24th and 21st.

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