bath

I bumped into a group celebrating their hen’s night out at Bath, London a couple of days back. It was a short visit to Bath but I learned a lot about the Roman Baths and the architecture behind Bath.

I had a piece of news flashed to me while I was there. Mind you, I’ve seen Proton cars in London and it never ceases to amaze me what they’ve done.

china raft

However, this is not about that. The Proton team went to the Asia Pacific Rally Championship in China and it brought me back to my vacation on the trip before last to Guilin, China.

harrods shopping

The Proton Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) win made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It’s the feeling much like buying gifts for friends – you don’t get anything out of it but knowing that you’re thinking of your friends while on vacation and making them happy makes you happy. You know what I mean?

china rafts

Of course this is not the rally but it still has a lot of hallmarks of it. I went on one of the old skool rafts and we were navigating out of time (and space) to get back in time before the bus departs.

I can relate to how the Proton team at the China Rally feels like. The Satria Neo S2000 is one of the 24 out of 44 starters that finished the race.

Not only did they complete the course in Longyou city against much more established motorsports teams but they placed second in the race! w00t!

proton-s2000b

Alister McRae and Chris Atkinson were the drivers behind the China Rally manoeuvring the Satria Neo S2000. Proton has always been the underdog and I’m glad they have the same mentality as I do – to rise above all odds and challenge The Establishment (TM).

I’ve driven the consumer version of the Satria Neo and I’m not surprised that they managed to finish second. Proton also had 4 Gen2s that finished the gruelling 229.19 km rally.

china

I have to be honest. This is one of the things that makes me proud to say I’m a Malaysian when I’m on vacation. :)

sepang

F1 is synonymous with fast cars, grid girls and pit babes. I hear most girls won’t kick the drivers out of bed for eating cookies under the sheets too but I can’t comment on that since I’m heterosexual. ;) The final race was on the 5th of April at 5 pm in Sepang International Circuit.

race

I went to watch Formula 1 last Sunday with Debra and Desmond (one of the Top 10 bloggers in Malaysia, it was an honor to meet him). It was the final race day (and my birthday) and we met up at 1 Utama before catching the SkyBus down to Sepang.

bus

We decided to take public transport instead of driving there. I’m glad we didn’t drive there – the traffic was appalling. The bus cost RM 15 from 1 Utama to Sepang International Circuit.

tickets

Our tickets were in the C2 area – covered hillside tickets, right around a tight corner which allows for great photo ops. It’s RM 200 each. Formula 1 tickets isn’t exactly cheap, cheers to Nuffnang for furnishing the tickets. Anyway, we caught the 3 pm bus, thinking we had ample time for the 5 pm race…

us bus

…except we did not account for the massive turnout. The inbound lanes were gridlocked so badly that some people resorted to parking their cars by the roadside and walking to the circuit. One of the outbound lanes had to be opened for inbound traffic to accommodate for the astounding amount of vehicles on the road.

traffic

Our bus was in that lane. What was supposed to be a 1 hour journey took more than two hours (!). The race had already started by the time we got there. There were street vendors everywhere – enterprising souls selling everything from umbrellas (it was drizzling) to beer (at a whopping RM 15 per can).

ferrari

I managed to find this corner where the F1 cars slow down to make the curve. It’s the perfect spot for taking photos of the cars since they brake before approaching the sharp bend. Ferrari, baby!

crowd

The crowd turnout was amazing – we have some hardcore fans braving the rain (it had started to pour by then) in the uncovered areas.

lead

There were even some people trying to get a Mexican Wave going. I have no idea why, it’s not a soccer match, but to each his own. :)

No one can be told what F1 is. You just gotta hear the scream of the F1 engines to experience it for yourself. ;)

track

It was fun though…the crowd was great, and so was the company.

overtake

The sky turned a forbidding shade of ebony and the loud rumblings of thunder could be seen (and heard, respectively) about an hour into the race.

rain

The inevitable downpour was nothing short of prodigious – the drains behind the covered hillstand overflowed and caused the already muddy grounds to be even muddier.

drain

I think all of us had a tough time walking without slipping due to the poor grip afforded by the wet mud.

umbrella

It got to the point where I had to stand under Deb’s umbrella ella ella eh eh eh since we decided to go up to the uncovered concrete instead of slipping around in the mud.

pacer

The pacer car came on the race track after that and we all thought the race would be postponed until the rain stops. It was seriously POURING on Sunday.

The race never resumed. It was canceled.

group

People started leaving and we headed for the bus back to 1 Utama as well. We managed to catch the 7:30 pm bus back. Desmond had to meet up with his friends so I had dinner with Deb at Sushi Zanmai before sending her back home.

sushi

It was fun to watch the race – the powerful roar of the high octane engines, the energy of the crowd, the company of good friends. I’m glad I went even though the race got canceled due to the heavy downpour.

It’s a great way to spend a Sunday. :)

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