Back to back race victories in the opening two rounds of the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship marks a great start to young Malaysian Hayden Haikal’s international racing campaign in Thailand this year.
Young driver Hayden Haikal leading the charge for Malaysia’s challenge and debut at the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship in Thailand last weekend at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram (10-12 March 2023).
Driving for Malaysian team Wing Hin Motorsports, Hayden piloted a super touring variant of the Vios which is fitted with a five-speed sequential transmission.
The 18-year-old did not hold back on anything as he got the job done and gave the Malaysian Wing Hin Motorsports team its first two victories on its maiden appearance in Thailand. It is Hayden’s second year competing in Thailand, his first appearance in the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship, and Wing Hin Motorsports’ first time racing in Thailand.
“To win our very first race here on our debut is just crazy and we hope to continue this momentum for the rest of the season,” said Hayden who piloted the #437 Toyota Vios to victory at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram.
“The drivers in my category are very competitive as I had expected. The cars the top drivers are running turbocharged cars that are way faster to the normally-aspirated engine our team is running. Thanks to the team, our car however, seemed to be the most reliable and had better handling and this resulted in us having better cornering speeds and braking compared to the rest of the field.”
In Round 1’s race on Saturday (11 March), Hayden who was fastest in his class and the only foreign driver registered in the championship, dealt well with the pressure of a 22-car grid to finish 8th overall and first in his class.
Starting from 5th on the grid in Round 2 on Sunday (12 March), Hayden completed the 12-lap race by improving his overall finish to 6th but still first in class.
“The Chang International Circuit has traditionally been good to me. I’ve won here on three different occasions in the past and it suits my driving style very well. There was nothing more I could have done. The turbocharged cars just had greater straight line speed, acceleration and pace.”
The 18-year-old is looking to clinching his first international racing title after finishing the overall runner-up in another Thai championship, the Thailand Super Eco Saloon Car Series, last year. Winning the first two rounds mean he will now lead the Idemitsu Super Turbo Championship.
The championship continues with another four rounds, with Rounds 3 and 4 scheduled for 19-21 May, while the final two rounds (5 & 6) will be from 16-18 June 2023, with all races taking places at the 4.554km Chang International Circuit.