Sepang (Malaysia), June 27: Eleven-year-old Indian kart racer Hamza Balasinorwala impressed all with his racing skills as he fought his way to clinch the second place on the podium in the 4th Round of the IAME Asia Series, Asia's most prestigious X30 Championship, in Sepang.
The Grade 6 student of Podar International School, Mumbai improved with every practice session but was hit by bad luck in the crucial qualifying round to take the twelfth position on the Cadet class grid.
Hamza suffered another setback in Heat 1, pulling out of the race – eventually won by Esteban Freihuber from the Philippines -- in the first lap itself. Undeterred, the Rayo Racing prodigy made a strong comeback in Heat 2, overtaking several experienced racers from around Asia to finish an impressive fourth. Singapore’s Aaron Mehta won this race, ahead of Thai racer Kamolphu Anuchatkul and Freihuber.
Hamza’s resilience continued in the pre-finals, where he expertly manoeuvred through the field from a 10th-place starting position, to finish an admirable fifth place. Mehta notched up his second consecutive win while Anuchatkul and Freihuber once again took the other two places on the podium.
As the finishing order of the pre-final decides the start order for the final, the Indian began from fifth on the grid. Getting off to a good start, Hamza soon found his way past Singapore’s Maximilian Schilling only to be passed by another Singaporean -- Michael Lederer. Hamza exhibited exceptional skill, maintaining a consistent and impressive pace throughout and went along with Lederer up the field. The duo got past Freihuber, Mehta and Anuchatkul.
Lederer eventually took the win 2 seconds ahead of Hamza. The Indian racer’s fantastic effort saw him seal the second position, ahead of Freihuber of Philippines.
“I am really happy to get my first international podium. I want to thank my family and team for their support,” the elated Hamza, who has already notched up multiple podiums in the IndiKarting Pro Races, said.
“Hamza progressed well this weekend and showed a lot of maturity in the final. We must thank our partner team RL Karting for all their efforts as well.” said Steve Hodges, Rayo Racing’s chief coach and technical head who accompanied Hamza in Malaysia.
Rayomand Banajee, founder of Rayo Racing, said: “While this is just his third international race, this has been over 1 and a half years in the making. Hamza has a lot of potential and we are confident he will rise to bigger things soon. Being just 11, he has a promising future ahead.”