One of our dream is to be in Formula 1 & FIA WEC as a photographer
2019 Motorsport season in Indonesia has finally come to an end. But, no time to slack off, because one of our friend, offered a chance to cover two world championships of motorsport. 2019 FIA WTCR By Oscaro & FIM EWC final round, took place at Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia. Considering that Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur/Sepang is not so far away, so we decided to took the opportunity. The FIA WTCR, stands for World Touring Car Cup was an international touring car championship, sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for touring cars. The FIM EWC, stands for Endurance World Championship, is the premier worldwide endurance motorcycle racing championship. Never been on motorcycle racing event before, I really looked forward for the EWC.
We do believe, if something bad happened, right before D-Day, many good things will come on the D-Day for us. Something bad happened, our friend, left his iPad, ON THE AIRPLANE SEAT POCKET. He realised that he lost his iPad, just after immigration checkpoint. So, we thought nothing bad will happen to us on the circuit. Sadly, what we believe is totally wrong! I got a problem with my media pass and my photographer tabard/vest. But big thanks to Richard from FIA WTCR, who calmly and patiently helped us through our first problem of the day. As you can see on picture above, I got my pass & tabard for the weekend.
First thing first, before Raceday, we usually do some practice for us. Doing test shots, uncommon angle etc. Since we came to Sepang on our own, we can do what we want, right?
Also, this is Ardian’s first time in Sepang. So, he got some time to walk around, explore the circuit and find some good spots. Everything went smoothly, so we thought that, enough drama for this trip and time for good things came to us.
Formula 3 for starters. Our second time to took a picture of open-wheeler race car. They got these formulas as feature race. Maybe it’s like some breakfast for us before the main show. These cars are damn fast, I really wonder, how fast formula 1 cars is.
Qualifying session for WTCR 3rd race. There are 3 races for WTCR in Sunday. Sounds really fun eh?
Taking a picture at day and night are totally different. Different ways and camera settings, just so you know. We took this opportunity for our practice before Raceday. Things on Raceday will be way more hectic than this. Thankfully, Sepang circuit got some magnificent lights. As you can see from the pictures, quite bright isn’t it? It’s really helpful tho!
3rd race Qualifying session done, we got Norbert Michelisz from BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse on pole position, Clocked 2.13.141. Slightly behind Norbert, there is Esteban Guerrieri from ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport in 2nd place. Followed by Mikel Azcona from PWR Racing in 3rd place.
Not to forget, there’s also local heroes who participated in this round. One of them is Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah. Yup! it’s the Malaysian guy, who race in MotoGP for Red Bull KTM Tech 3. This guy really gave me a surprise. Did you know that he also participated in FIM EWC? Yes he is! What a strong man, EWC took place on Saturday, WTCR on Sunday and it’s like all day long. Can you imagine, how busy is this guy on that weekend?
Unfortunately, another drama came to us. Rain poured down so badly on Saturday.
You know actually, I love when rain pouring down. Somehow you will get a very dramatic pictures if you lucky enough. Something you can’t get when it’s sunny all day long. Bad thing about rain, your DSLR, Mirrorless or whatever, is in a high-risk of getting TOASTED! Well maybe it’s not a big deal for camera that comes with “Weather Shield”. Since there still lot of time before race start, they performed some, I think it’s their traditional dance or something. Good to watch for spent some time.
Weather is getting worse and it’s already time to start the race, you can see from the picture above. After they ride some warming up lap, I think the participant told the official, they’re unable to race if the weather doesn’t get any better than this. Yeah, who wants to race in dangerous situation like this.
Here’s Kopet, our friend who left his iPad on the airplane seat pocket. After you saw this picture, I think you should understand enough, how bad the weather on that weekend.
So for safety reason, the officials decided to delay the start until further notice. About an hour later, if I’m not wrong, weather is getting better, race will be started soon. Because the track surface is still extremly wet, race will be started under safety car.
Yeah finally! I get to see these two-wheelers on circuit. Really exciting, but too bad because the start has to be under safety car. I always enjoyed first lap of the race, especially in the first sector of the circuit. Many interesting moments usually happened in that sector. Since it’s under safety car, something great doesn’t happened.
Getting better? nope, weather is getting worse and worse than I thought. Red flag is on, riders came back to the pit and the race is postponed until further notice. Aw, cmon! gimme a break. So it’s under safety car all the way from start until red flag. There’s no great action yet to happen on track but it’s stopped already.
About 4 or 5 hours later, the race is continued. I was excited because the track surface is way better than before, so the race will be going on. Sadly, another episode of drama happened. My cameras are TOASTED. Cameras? yes, both. I brought two DSLRs and both are busted. So, the picture above is the last frame from my own camera on Saturday. Why do things are keep getting worse….
Apparently, not only mine. Ardian’s camera is also toasted in the evening, he also brought two and luckily there’s no problem with the other one at all. Kopet’s 70-200mm lens is also busted. My belief about “drama on first day will be a tons of luck for the day after” all this time, it’s all wrong. Never ending drama on this trip. I spent the rest of the day by borrowing Ardian’s camera for one or two shots and accompany him walking around the track. What a bad start for my two-wheeler race experience. Despite all drama and failure, I think the race went on as it should be. Alright, let’s move on to the next day.
Sunday, our last day in Sepang, and it’s a turn for WTCR. Proper race cars, team crews, tools etc. Everything looks very proper in here. Good news is, all of our equipments is already back in action, so we can do our work like usual. first race started in the afternoon, the weather seems not bad but not that good enough.
Here is Mitchell Cheah, one of the local heroes.
To be honest, these are uncommon sights for myself. I never seen like, parts and tire changing on the starting grid. I thought they’ll just fasten and tighten the wheel bolts like usual. what I see is, the car came out from pit to the starting grid with slick tires. Because the weather eventually getting worse, some of them are changing their slicks into wet tires and also replaced the control arms. Also, I’ve said “some of them” not “all of them” before, so there is someone, decided to sticked with the slick tires like Guerrieri. Well, I don’t know much about this. I think it depends on their strategy. I wish all of you could saw them working on this, and how fast they getting things done.
First race went on. What I would say is, this is the real racing. Pure and proper race. Everyone made a contact without hard feelings. They’re fighting for the first place like it should be. Not to mention that these cars are really fast for a touring cars.
I still can saw some fight until the last lap, in every corner and positions. I kinda overwhelmed by this race. Tons of excitement from the beginning until the end.
Of course it’ll be perfect if I add the champagne shower on my shot list. I don’t know why but sometimes I got goosebumps when took a picture of champagne shower. Norbert Michelisz wins the first race, followed by Aurélien Panis in 2nd place and Gabriele Tarquini in 3rd place.
As for the 2nd race, it started in the evening before it gets dark. Unfortunately, there is an accident in turn 10. Race is postponed and the Marshalls had to clean up the track. Also, the rain poured down once again, and it’s similar like Saturday. Race is restarted when it’s already went dark. let’s see if our training on Friday would do the trick.
I have to admit, that the second race is way, way more overwhelming than the first one. More fights and body contacts. Plus, the track is really wet so we could saw some rooster tails.
This is what I love from competition and sport, not only motorsports. There always fans or family, following their love ones. They chanting, dancing as their love ones wins the competition. Just like the pictures above, Guerrieri wins the race, and you can see happy faces of the fans and family, celebrating and enjoying the precious moment.
Well, as for the third race, nothing much happened. I think, maybe because the second race is too much excitement and really astonishing, the climax has passed. So, it’s not really exciting as before.
I think that’s all from me. I learned many new things from this experience, like I’ve seen a new world. I really hope, we can move forward to another world championship events from now on. So, let’s assume, this is a baby steps towards the world! Ah yes, we wishing a happy new year to all of you who read this! May all your dreams and wishes come true and may prosperity touch your feet.
Words: Fauzan Pasha
Photos: Ardian Pradana & Fauzan Pasha
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