South African driver Aston Hare managed to clinch the 2012 JK Racing Asia Series title in a dramatic season finale at the Buddh International Circuit today.
Despite winning both races yesterday, the championship rookie still had his task cut out as nothing less than a double win could have sustained his chances in addition to the condition that his title rival Nabil Jeffri had to finish lower than second in both races.
Race one saw the 16-year old start on pole position with Jeffri started a lowly 10th, but the experienced Malaysian managed to make up places and ultimately third behind Akhil Khushlani (who being a guest driver didn't qualify for points) to keep his title hopes alive going into the final race of the season.
Hare was once again on pole for race two while Jeffri started in a marginally better seventh place. However it was clear that the Malaysian had qualified out of place as he was far quicker than cars ahead and was up into third quickly, behind Afiq Ikhwan.
But this is where it all turned interesting. Ikhwan, who had conceded that he was out of championship contention and just wanted to win a race this year – made it extremely difficult for his compatriot to pass him cleanly and in turn, give him the title.
However, Jeffri finally managed to bully his way past a few laps from the finish and was potentially looking set to finally win the title in his third year of the series but it wasn’t to be as Ikhwan came back at him at the penultimate corner on the penultimate lap and punted him off track.
Meanwhile Hare had picked up some damage as well and knowing that he had done enough to seal the title, backed off and let second-placed Aditya Patel into the lead – letting the Indian finally climb atop the top spot of the podium that so far had eluded him throughout the two Indian rounds of the championship.
Aston Hare 18:08.935
Akhil Khushlani 18:15.763
Nabil Jeffri 18:16.375
Aditya Patel 20:13.116
Aston Hare 20:18.697
Aidan Wright 20:19.569