Leona Chin back to racing in MINI Challenge Asia Series

By JAY WONG | 22 March 2018

ZHUHAI(China): After a one year hiatus, Malaysia Motorsports Athlete Leona Chin has returned to racing in the newly-launched one-make MINI Challenge Asia Series race.

The new race series sees itself making it’s way to Asia, with the hopes that it will eventually grow in scale to match that of the UK-based series that was established since 2002.

For this round, Leona is racing under Team GreatDrive – a well-established Hong Kong based automobile importer.

“I would like to thank GreatDrive for giving me the opportunity to compete
in this round of MINI Challenge Asia Series. The car performed well during both races, really easy to drive and light on its feet,” said Leona Chin.

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Over the weekend, Leona tangle with some of the best drivers from around the region including Japan Super GT driver Nobuhiro Murata and Thailand's own female driver Nattanid ‘Kat’ Leewatanavalagul.

The first leg of the series was held at Zhuhai International Circuit – a track that Leona is familiar with herself, given her past racing experience in China.

During free practice Leona managed to clock a time just 1.0 second off the top spot with the rest if the field separated by 16 seconds and the top five drivers within seven seconds of each other.

Murata did not manage to finish qualifying due to going off the track during his session.

During Race 1, Leona’s competitor pulls slightly ahead and she finishes the race in fourth, just half a second behind Takaya Tsubobayashi.

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From left: Nobuhiro Murata (2nd), Henry Lee Jr. (1st) and Leona Chin (3rd).

Race 2 saw a shuffle of positions but Leona managed to overtake Tsubobayashi for a thrid place finish, 1.0 second behind Nobuhiro Murata before setting the fastest lap time of 1 minute 54.188 seconds - roughly 0.5 seconds quicker than Henry Lee Jr who took victory over the weekend.

“It’s a nice step up from the Clio cup car I raced two years ago. I’m looking forward to the next round on the 16th and 17th June, which will also be at Zhuhai International Circuit.”

Much like the UK-bsaed race series, the car uses the latest road-going MINI John Cooper Works (F56) and converts it into a race car with 255hp for the front wheels and a sequential gearbox.

Leona has been involved in cars and motorsports since her teenage years and has experience in various levels of motorsports, competing both locally and internationally, in Gymkhana, Autocross, Rallying and Drifting.

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