Malaysia Championship Series

There have been women in motorsport for a long time and the FIA (the world body governing motorsport) even has a Women & Motor Sport Commission which aims to create a sports culture that facilitates and values the full participation of women in all aspects of the sport.

In Malaysia too, we have a number of women who participate in motorsport and one who has stood above the rest this year is 35-year old Leona Chin. After an impressive season-opener which saw Leona grabbing 2 wins in the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS), she was back at the Sepang International Circuit to tackle the remaining 2 rounds of the championship.

While Round 3 ran in a similar format as the first 2 rounds, the final round came with a different challenge where it was a 300-km endurance race, with double points to the finishers. It was on this final showdown that Leona and her team pulled together to not only win the race, but also collected enough points to be crowned as the Overall Champions in the Malaysia Touring Car (MTC) category. However, the journey to the top was not an easy one as the journey was littered with challenges that could easily alter the course of the race.

A satisfying finish
The start of Round 3 was not what the team was hoping for as troubles had appeared on the car which had hampered the driver’s pace during practice session. Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule, there was not enough time to rectify the issue before qualifying, and the pouring rain just made things a bit more challenging. Despite these setbacks, the 2:43.236 clocked during qualifying was good enough to earn them a P3 in class to start the race in.

But the streak of bad luck did not end on the first day as in Race 1, Leona encountered some misfiring issues which had forced them to spend extra time in the pits for repairs. While the team did their best to fix the problem, the same issue lingered after they rejoined the race. The extra time spent in the pits meant they were two laps behind the race leader, forcing them to settle with a P7.

However, their luck was about to turn the other way around as the few hours before Race 2 were put into good use by the crew to return the car into optimal condition. This time, Akina Teo started the race and he played it safe during the start as the mixed conditions of the track resulted in some nasty crashes in the early stages.

Once the cars were scattered, Akina got to work and started to make up positions along the way. Backed up with vital information provided by the team manager, he was soon pursuing the MTC front runner for the race lead. Making the move at the final few laps, Akina performed a clean overtake on his opponent and brought home another win for the team.

Crowning of the champion
With 2 races down, the focus was shifted to the final 300-km race as the double points finish could play a big role in the championship decider. Akina drove the first stint and he put in a good pace before passing the wheel to Leona. While the team did encounter a few issues along the way, the problems were ironed out quickly and Leona was able to resume the strong pace that the team carried.

This race however came with a bittersweet moment as with 10 laps to go, MTC race leader car #15, which was also under the same outfit as Leona, was involved in a crash at Turn 4. This was no doubt a disappointing news to the team, but it had also reignited the possibility for Leona to win the championship title. Before the crash, they had done an early points calculation which had put Leona as the 1st runner-up for MTC.

At this stage, all they had to do was to bring the car home as the nearest rival was one lap behind. Finally, after 52 laps and over 2 hours of racing, the #7 Suzuki Swift crossed the line not only as the 300KM MTC race winner, but also as the Overall Champions for the category. It was a big moment of joy and relief for Leona who had been chasing the title for years.

“We were all very happy when the results came out. We have been in the industry for many years and were always looked down upon. Today is redemption!” she said.

It has been a fruitful year for Leona as she not only clinched the 2021 MCS MTC Overall Champion title but also won the prestigious 2021 Sepang 1000KM Endurance Race which was held earlier in November. “The achievement for today and this season is not just about the driver, but also about teamwork. Everyone in the team really helped a lot in the strategy, and also in preparing a really good car,” she added.

Final battles of 2021 Malaysian Championship Series to be held on December 15 & 16

The return of the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) gave a chance for Leona Chin to get back to 4-wheel racing after her last outing in 2019. Although these first 2 rounds did come with a roller-coaster of emotions, the whole team was able to put together a great performance which rewarded them with two class victories.

Leona is competing in the Malaysia Touring Car category in a Suzuki Swift prepped by Tedco Racing. The practice session on Wednesday gave the team the chance to fine-tune the car before heading into the qualifying session.

Starting on a high note
Going against other rivals in cars like the Honda Fit and Toyota Vios, her best time of 2:39.944 around the Sepang International Circuit positioned her in the front of the MTC class to start Race 1.

Although Leona was overtaken at the start of the race, she kept a cool head in the opening stages as every MCS race runs for 1 hour. It did not take long for her patience to be rewarded: by Lap 4, she reclaimed her position and led the MTC category. After a smooth pit stop and clean second stint, she brought the car across the finish line to claim the season’s first victory almost a minute ahead of the nearest competitor.

Being a double-header, Race 2 was only 4 hours later and already fired up with the victory, they looked forward to another possible podium finish for Round 1. The win in Race 1 had placed Leona to start from pole in class once again and she managed to clear the early stages of the race without any hitch.

Unfortunately, Race 2 did not go very well for the team as Leona was nudged at one point of the race which had sent her into the gravel. Although the impact did not seem to be very serious, there was actually damage to the oil cooler and splitter – which was enough to put her out of contention for the race.

With two more races lined up for the next day, the team had to burn the midnight oil to make sure that the car was raceworthy for the next round. Tedco Racing’s experience was put to good use and the car was prepared and ready to do battle by Friday.

Returning to the top
For Race 3, Leona started the race from P1 in class. Keen to redeem herself from the DNF earlier, she made a clean getaway as the lights turned green. Unfortunately for her, she was forced to retire from the race once again through no fault of her own. A reckless manoeuvre from one of the SP2 contenders struck her Suzuki near the right rear tyre, ending her race even before clearing Turn 1 on the opening lap. A very sad moment indeed.

This presented a whole new challenge for the team as they only had about 4 hours to fix the car before the start of Race 4. But they managed to do it all in time, and the Leona was able to participate in the final race.

The DNF in Race 3 meant that Leona had to start from the back in her class, which was not so good. However, fuelled with the determination to make up for lost ground from the previous misfortunes, she did not stay long in P5. By Turn 4 of the opening lap, she was already in second place and on Lap 3, she had moved ahead to lead the MTC field. From then on, she remained dominant and raced to the finish to take her second MTC win of the season. With 4 races done, the team is now preparing for another 2 rounds which will be held in mid-December.

What’s a Homologation Special?


Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on YouTube