AsiaCup Series, Sepang International Circuit, Event 3 : More lessons learnt in Malaysia
As part of his ongoing transition from karts to cars, Nikita threw his hat into the ring of the AsiaCup Series’ finale. Organised by the Sepang Circuit, the 12-round, FIA-approved series has quickly proven to be attractive to international drivers looking to gain experience in junior formulae but on Grand Prix stages.
Using the popular, tried, tested and trusted Formula BMW package in the hot and humid conditions, Malaya was presented with plenty to cope with but did an admirable job; adjusting quickly to the unfamiliar car and temperatures.
The weekend started on Wednesday with testing and culminated with the fourth and last race of the event on Sunday afternoon. “There lots of practices and races!” was how Nikita neatly summed up the experience.
“I’d never driven that car before, so it was quite difficult to in the beginning. I had to learn its handling and engine characteristics, the performance of the tyres, how to make the most efficient gear changes, what its braking limitations were and how the aerodynamics affected it through low and high speed corners – all sorts of things.”
In timed qualifying, Mazepin acquitted himself well against a far more experienced field; placing 8th overall after his run. He later admitted that he felt he could have done better: “It wasn’t bad but I didn’t get the best out of the tyres or manage to put my lap together as smoothly and precisely as I’d wish to.”
Perhaps partly hamstrung by a combination of not extracting the maximum from his equipment and his inexperience in the Formula BMW class, Nikita’s expectation of more from his trip to Malaysia were a little compromised. Nevertheless, he still recorded a string of top ten finishes in his four races; claiming a brace of 6th places, plus 7th and 8th respectively.
“Overall it wasn’t a bad weekend,” he reflected. “There were plenty of positives but the experience highlighted that there is also a lot to be learned. Still, the races weren’t bad. I made some good overtaking manoeuvres and generally made good progress. At the beginning (of the racing) I was struggling with not closing the door properly and making a few simple mistakes but by the end everything was okay.”