A New Champion is Born – Leona Chin Clinches MTC Title to End 2021 Racing Season!
After a sensational season opener which saw Leona Chin grabbing two wins in the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS), she was back at Sepang International Circuit to tackle the remaining two rounds of the championship. While Round 3 ran in a similar format as the first two rounds, the final round came with a different challenge where it featured a 300KM endurance format and offered 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 to collect 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 Bumpy Start, A Satisfying Finish on Round 3
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 team manager Wayne down in the pits, 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.
The Crowning of the 2021 MCS MTC Champion
With two races down, the focus was shifted to the final 300KM race as the double points finish could play a big role in the championship decider. Akina drove the first stint and he managed to put out 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 hunting for 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,” said Leona.
It has been a fruitful year for Leona as she did not only manage to clinch the 2021 MCS MTC Overall Champion title, she had 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.
About Malaysia Championship Series (MCS)
MCS is a national four-wheel racing series originated from the Malaysian Super Series (MSS), which was introduced in 2002. MCS features top drivers and racing teams competing in four different classes – Touring Production, Malaysia Touring Car, Stock Production 1 and Stock Production 2.
About Leona Chin
Leona Chin Lyweoi is a professional motorsport athlete from Malaysia. Her motoring industry career kick started at the age of 19 with drifting, and she climbed her way to become a race car driver for an all-female race team for a 12-hour endurance race. In 2019, she was awarded the Most Inspiring Female Motorsport Athlete Award from Sepang Circuit, and finished 2nd in the 2019 Malaysia Championship Series M-Production class.