Afiq Ikhwan Yazid's (Meritus Racing) gritty determination came to the fore as he erased memories of a dismal finish in his last start in the JK Racing Asia Series in Sepang (Malaysia), clinching pole ahead of Austrian prodigy Lucas Auer (EuroInternational) in the third, which will commence on Saturday at the Sentul International Circuit in Bogor.
Ikhwan's time of 1:30.918 beat the qualifying lap record held by Sean McDonagh who set the record back in 2008 by 1.1second. Yazid finished with just six points in the last race in Sepang and saw Petronas MR's Irfan Ilyas and Nabil Jeffri sneak ahead of him into the championship table. On Friday, he finished half a second faster than Auer who has taken an unassailable lead, by winning five races in-a-row and cushioning himself with a 49-point lead after six races run over two rounds.
If Yazid can get off to a good start on Saturday, he can hope to end Auer's winning run, which has made this event a one-horse race. Nephew of former F1 driver Gerhard Berger, Auer is driving in a single-seater class for the first time after many years of karting.
There was some hope for the lone Indian qualifier, Raj Bharath, who finished eighth, behind six drivers who clocked times in the 1:32 bracket in the qualifying. The Sentul circuit conditions were to the liking of the Bangalorean as he clocked 1:32.694.
The writer's trip has been sponsored by JY Tyre