EZY Racing unravels action on gravel at Foxhill

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


EZY Racer Sachith Pathirana placed second for the SLA 1050CC event


Sajaad Zuhair making an impressive maiden appearance in gravel in the SLGT class when he finished third in race 1 of the SLGT Event

3Shenal Gunawardana making his maiden appearance in gravel for the SLH 1600 event slotted into second place


Gravel racing and the outside loose gravel inside a corner are two things that do not go hand in hand. When race drivers prefer to stick to the inside racing line, the ‘Triple S’ EZY Racing line up – Sajaad, Sachith and Shenal – dared to be different by spectacularly driving their cars in the outside loose gravel at the most dangerous turn at Foxhill Supercross, the pine tree corner, only to set the most coveted motor racing team in Sri Lanka on a winning start for the season. 

Foxhill SuperCross is known for drawing large crowds that were provided great excitement by the ‘Triple S’ combination unravelling exciting action on gravel. With the heat kicking in at Foxhill, the EZY Racing team headed out to turn it one notch higher by shaking things up in their respective classes with teenage Prodigy Shenal Gunawardana and Veteran Sajaad Zuhair displaying their courage and skill by pulling off some breath-taking overtaking manoeuvres on the outside loose gravel on the dangerous pine tree corner.

The international race team who gave a fresh new look to their local driver line up by infusing fresh young talent earlier this year, were given the ideal start when all drivers qualified in the first two rows on the grid across all six race categories during Saturday’s Qualifying, with Sachith Pathirana qualifying in pole position on the grid for the SLA Modified 1050cc event while racing maestro, Sajaad Zuhair was an impressive 4th on the grid, in his maiden appearance on gravel in the SLGT category.

The podium celebrations kicked off on Sunday when the multi-talented racer and national cricketer, Pathirana, gave Irshad Faham a close fight before settling into second place in the SLE 1000cc – Nissan March event. Pathirana started off in pole position in his next race, SLA 1050CC, but a slow start contributed to him losing the lead to Herath. The EZY Racer spun his way with a good chase to finish in at second, garnering the first two podiums of the day for EZY Racing. 

Sharing his excitement Pathirana said “If there is a principle I would like to bring in from cricket, it’s about learning to perform well under pressure, and this is a game in which a second could make the difference. Composure helps me keep the pressure at bay. I’m looking to only improve myself with every race and keep the EZY Racing flag flying high.”

Despite his short qualifying run where he qualified fifth before toppling the car at pine tree corner, Gunawardana, the youngest in the team, made a phenomenal comeback for SLH 1600 race event when he overtook three cars on the outside of the pine tree corner during the very first lap in the race. Gunawardana, who was making his maiden appearance in gravel overtook three cars, to slot into second place behind race leader Upulwan Serasinghe, in a fine display of gravel driving. With five laps more to go, the youngster defended his position from the experienced Irfan Fuard and finished second to give EZY Racing the 3rd podium of the weekend. 

The young racer who also represents the team in the SLN 1500 event, secured another podium by finishing fourth after recovery from an accident during the race. “I’m excited to be part of a team that has nurtured and been the home ground to several national champions. EZY Racing has been helpful and encouraging whilst giving opportunity to young drivers like me, to advance as a racer. I hope to continue to do justice in the SLH 1600 class, in which Sajaad left with a victorious streak,” said an elated Gunawardana.

National Champion, Zuhair, the front runner in the SLH 1600 and SLS 1500 classes for more than a decade, made an impressive maiden appearance in gravel in the SLGT class when he finished 3rd in race 1 of the SLGT Event . Zuhair who was driving a year old set up in the EZY Mitsubishi ER5 was heavily underpowered against the much faster cars and fought his way through to a podium finish, to register his very first podium in the SLGT category. 

Zuhair, who graduated to the SLGT event from his pet SLH 1600 event this year in a driver reshuffle done by the team, was seen pulling off a spectacular move in the SLGT race 2 where he took a cue from the teenage Gunawardana and overtook two competitors in the outside loose gravel in the Pine Tree Corner before being knocked from behind, finishing 6th in the final race. 

In the SLS 1500 event Zuhair demonstrated his ‘champions never give up’ attitude by fighting back after falling to third place in the second lap, to win the race by completing a spectacular overtake on the race leader yet again on the outside loose gravel. The race was only another exhibition of brilliantly controlled aggression by Zuhair. 

Zuhair, who is eagerly looking to move onto the newer EZY Mitsubishi ER9 from the current ER5, made maximum of the given opportunity to get the much required exposure to make his transition to the faster car as smooth as possible. 

Commenting on the race, the Founder of EZY Racing, Shafraz Hamzadeen said: “It has been a very encouraging race weekend for us. We are a transition team this year building our future driver line up. Shenal (Gunawardana) in SLH (1600) and Sajaad (Zuhair) in SLGT (3500CC) were making their debuts in gravel in two of the most key events. Given this, us having six podiums during the weekend was very encouraging. Shenal’s drive on the SLH was the most encouraging of the lot while Sajaad’s SLGT exposure gave us a lot of confidence. We now look forward to expediting the launch of the ER9, a brand new custom made car for Sajaad. We are working on giving our drivers the required exposure so that towards the latter half of the season we would be a serious contender.” 

Hamzadeen further explained that his team has housed some of the best champions in Sri Lankan motor racing. “We have housed six National Champions in EZY Racing. In retrospect, we realised that we had a great responsibility towards nurturing young talent. It didn’t make sense for to us to keep contracting only top drivers any more. We started by off by daring to be different in giving new opportunities to drivers. ER5, ER9 and ER6 are great projects where we provide the drivers with all necessary resources for them to focus on proving their talent.”

The team now shifts their focus to the upcoming Rally in New Zealand where their International Motor Racing team named Cusco EZY Racing will be challenging for a podium in the season opener in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.