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2013-06-20 11:56

EAT THAT, SEPANG! Formula BMW Asia Cup championship leader Shayur Harpal (centre) is all smiles as he stands next to second and third place competitors Andhika Sasabone (left) and Arjun Maini. Image: MSA

SEPANG, Malaysia - There has been an assault of local racers taking the international circuits by storm, showcasing just how much talent lies in South Africa. KZN’s Shayur Harpal just got back from leading the pack in the 2013 Formula BMW Asia Cup series at the Sepang GP circuit.

That’s a big deal for a 15-year-old. The Grade 10 pupil from Crawford College in Lonehill, north of Johannesburg, started his racing career in 2007 in the South African National Karting championship and landed up second overall in the 2008 championship.


Bad luck followed for the next four years and he could not produce a decent championship result to count on for any more titles.

Then he made podium three times in the final round of the South African kart championship in 2012 and finished fourth overall. As luck would have it, a talent scout invited him to perform a test in the Formula BMW race series at Sepang International GP circuit in Malaysia early in 2013.

Harpal produced some very competitive lap times in April, securing entry to the series over June 14-16.

He managed to qualify on the second row in fourth on Friday, 0.312sec off pole. The qualifying results placed him fourth for the start of Race 1 on Saturday and Race 3 on Sunday. Race 2 starting order would be determined by Race 1 lap times.


He won Race 1, finishing 3.118sec ahead of his closest rival in second place.

Race 2 saw him start second on the grid. Harpal took the race lead fast and then strategically defended his position to replicate his first race result with a second win for the day.

He started Race 3 from the same position as the previous day but this time round his opponents were wise and boxed him in early to prevent him from scampering off into the distance. This made for a tough race, especially with under-performing tyres resulting from his first two wins. Thanks to understeer, Harpal managed sixth of 12 for Race 3.

Even with the lower finish, Harpal found himself topping the points table with an eight-point lead in the championship. Fellow South African and VW Engen Cup racer Mandla Mdakane finished third.

His next international race weekend in Sepang will be over August 2-4 2013.

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