Akin to the tarmac special stages in rallies, this event is full of drivers demonstrating the fine art of sliding out of corners under full power. Blended with autocrossing, a form of motorsports that puts more demand on driver skills on a tight circuit, the Tarmac Rally-X continues to be an attractive event for those with a thirst for speed.
The eight and (sadly) final edition of the DriveRite Tarmac Rally-X was held at the Malacca International Motorsports Circuit (MIMC) on 23 October 2016.
The 1.7km long, and 10m wide racetrack filled with S-bends and hairpins puts a lot more emphasis on driver finesse than car power, unlike the bigger circuits such as Sepang International Circuit and Johore Circuit.
With all slots being snapped up the day the registration opened, this is a testament about this event’s immense popularity. With the organizers also assisting participants to book hotel rooms prior to the event, the whole holiday vibe continued into the pit lanes. As the sun peeked over the horizon, the participants were rolling in to make their final adjustments, removal of loose items in their cars as well as placing stickers from the event sponsors, Whiteline, DBA Singapore, ACMA Engineering Works & Trading as well as F Tuned Racing.
Kicking off exactly at 7.30am with the registration, drivers were classified into five classes that are based on their car’s engine capacity and type. Class A was up to 1,600cc, B: 1,601-2,000cc, C: 2,001-2,500cc, Open: 2,501cc and above, and a dedicated SUV category.
The day was split into two parts, with the morning segment dedicated for a clockwise run of the circuit. The afternoon saw the same track being run in reverse. With such an arrangement, extra time was given for participants to have a “warm up lap” – where everyone could get ample seat time to master the different directions of the MIMC. This time, there was a slalom segment added to spice things up!
Drivers were released onto the track in batches of four, grouped according to their skill level as well as cars. Marshallers then green-flagged each participant onto the track with a safety time buffer between them to prevent congestion. Drivers were also encouraged to swap places among themselves if they feel that they were holding other fellow group mates up.
The cars at this installment was of great variety. From the classics Honda Integra and Toyota Starlet hatchbacks, ranging all the way to the latest Subaru Forester SUVs, plus a few familiar faces that were present at the very first Tarmac Rally-X 2 years ago.
While some were busy chasing seconds, there were drivers who got into a race against themselves, or their friends instead. While there was an official timing system in place, some drivers were purely focused on maximising their own driving skills and car’s potential. After all, this circuit has a technical layout – putting more emphasis on driver skills, then raw power.
Flaming Wheels food truck made its way from Kuala Lumpur in the morning and got down straight away to cook up a storm to feed the hungry drivers and their families! During the noon lunch break where everyone was busy wolfing down the delicious variety of meals.
Representatives from the event sponsors graciously presented the prizes to the fastest drivers in the respective classes. In recognition of their strong support for this exciting event, the sponsors were also presented a token of appreciation by the organisers.
This event marks the end of the DriveRite Tarmac Rally-X series. However, DriveRite is already teasing everyone with a new event: Tarmac Auto-X which will be held in Singapore. Visit www.driverite.sg for more information!