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Win in Formula Renault V6 Asia at Sepang

Halliday Overcomes Dramas to Win in Formula Renault V6 Asia at Sepang

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Matt Halliday - photo courtesy Motorsport Asia

Halliday Overcomes Dramas to Win in Formula Renault V6 Asia at Sepang.

New Zealand racing driver Matt Halliday has completed his first weekend of racing in the inaugural Formula Renault V6 Asia series with a win in the feature race at Malaysia's Sepang circuit. His debut weekend in the high speed single-seater series was initially fraught with dramas but a masterly display from the Kiwi A1GP driver saw him win Sunday's 50 minute long feature race comfortably.

With the arrangements for his appearance in the series being concluded at late notice, two mechanics flew to Malaysia last Sunday to take delivery of the car then completely strip down and rebuild it in only three days. Matt's long term sponsors, 42 BELOW VODKA, have agreed to sponsor his short campaign to compete in selected rounds of the series under the banner of Bahrain based Team Meritus.

Despite little opportunity to set up the car, he was quickly down to business to be fastest in both free practice sessions by well over half a second. The first drama struck during qualifying when heavy rain began falling and with little time to make adjustments, a decision was made to revert to dry weather settings and slick tyres on a drying track. Unfortunately, rain continued to fall, leaving Matt in sixth position on the starting grid for the Saturday's first sprint race.

The first twelve lap race started well and Halliday quickly moved up to second place and closing on the leader. However, with two laps remaining a rear tyre deflated leaving him a non-finisher and the prospect of starting Sunday's 50 minute "Grand Race" from the rear of the grid. After another blinding start, Matt worked his way up to third when the race was stopped for an on-track incident. At the re-start he seized his opportunity and hit the front to open a lead he would not relinquish:

"I thought I was looking down the barrel of a disastrous weekend but everything went to plan today so I can now look forward to the next round confident that we are competitive. I appreciate the series promoters inviting me to race in the series and to 42 BELOW for their professional support both on the car and around the circuit" said Matt after the podium ceremony.

2006 sees the Formula Renault V6 class debuting in Asia as part of the annual Asian Festival Of Speed and Matt sees it as an opportunity to maintain his single-seater skills over the southern hemisphere winter. The Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS) is recognised as Asia's premier motorsport event comprising the FIA-sanctioned Asian Touring Car Championship, Formula V6 Asia by Renault, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Formula BMW Asia.

AFOS is organised by Motorsport Asia Ltd and runs annually from March to November visiting 8 different venues throughout Asia bringing the event live to more than 300,000 spectators. AFOS also captures wide media coverage reaching audiences in over 65 countries and is regularly featured in over 200 publications around the world.


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