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Dilantha claims more international fame

Sri Lanka´s champion international racing driver Dilantha Malagamuwa continued to win global fame for his motherland, when he triumphed in both rounds of the Malaysia GT championship which was the support event for Malaysia F1 on the April 8, 9 and 10.

Malagamuwa who is now based in Malaysia, roared to victory on his stunning Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 over a formidable field field of 35 cars driven by racing drivers from all over the world.

Malagamuwa who was based in Japan for many years before moving to Malaysia displayed the words "WE LOVE AND SUPPORT JAPAN WE ARE ALWAYS WITH YOU" in his car as a mark of respect and as a message to the tsunami ravaged country from every Sri Lankan.

"Japan has been the biggest funder for our country to develop. Their support to Sri Lanka has been unparalleled. So I carried the Japanese Flag and also the statement both in English and Japanese. I, myself fulfilled my dreams in life by moving to Japan and living there for 23 years" said Malagamuwa explaining his gesture.

Malagamuwa was the fastest in testing, took the Pole position in Qualifying and won both races, in a clean sweep dominance rarely seen in the championships before.

In the second race Malagamuwa had a poor start to allow closest rival Mok Weng Sun to take lead as they blasted off from the front row. But, the superior power of Malagamuwa´s Lamborghini was simply no match to Mok´s Porsche 911 GT3 as the Sri Lankan driver took over the lead as they tried to manoeuvere the sharp Turn 9 on the same lap. pMalagamuwa – the two-time MSS Supercar Champion but still looking for his first Malaysian GT crown – did not turn back as he cruised to the chequered flag; taking 21 minutes 40.797 seconds to complete the 10-lap battle around the 5.543-km F1 track.

Racing for Team Porsche Club Singapore, Mok took second place; coming in 7.019 seconds later for a total time of 21 minutes 47.816 seconds. Compatriot Ian Mao completed podium; finishing third overall and for the Malaysian GT Class.

Malagamuwa was immediately overtaken at the start by Mok also in the first race that was marred by a major accident.

Gilbert Yap´s  Aston Martin N24 rammed into Frank Yu´s Ginetta G5OZ  GT3 which had stalled at the starting grid. Malaysian Faizal Hassim, who was behind Gilbert, tried to evade the Aston Martin, but ended up ramming into the Ginetta. All three drivers were unhurt.

The safety car stayed out for five laps with Mok at the front; but Malagamuwa then used the sharp Turn 9 to manoeuvere an easy pass over his rival and immediately took charge of the race to win the season´s first GT Class race.

Finishing third overall, Samson Chan topped the GT Open Class in his Ginetta machine while Mark Williamson of Arrows Racing won the Sports Production Class in his Aston Martin GT4.

When Malagamuwa won the first race on April 9, the circuit didn´t have a Sri Lankan Flag so they had used the Malaysian Flag and played the Malaysian National Anthem.

"I was disappointed. But as I had a Sri Lankan Flag at home and I took it the next day to the Sepang Circuit. When I won the second race, the Sri Lankan Flag was flying high with Namo Namo Matha playing for almost 3 minutes" said a jubilant Malagamuwa.

"It was very emotional for me. I was really proud of what I was able to achieve for my country. I have now achieved this honour for Sri Lanka three times at Formula 1 races. Everyone was thrilled and all the Formula 1 teams congratulated me for winning and also giving a goodwill message to Japan." Malagamuwa described. However despite his achievements, Malagamuwa remains a disillusioned man as little has he got in return for all his great work for the country.

"Asian countries such as India, Malaysia and Japan invest millions of Dollars in motor racing.

But they have not achieved what Sri Lanka has achieved without spending a cent. All my sponsors are from Malaysia and Hong Kong. RAY AX and SATA is from Malaysia and my new sponsor Chronoforce is from Hong Kong." Malagamuwa told Daily Mirror after his win.

"I am sad that I cannot get any support from Sri Lanka. But I think the things will change as we have a new dynamic Sports Minister. I am sure he will support me and I think he is the best for this position" said Malagamuwa expressing hope. Malagamuwa´s next race will be at the end of May when he will compete in the Malaysian GT and also the GT Asia championships in which he is the defending champion.

Malagamuwa is also hoping to garner support from Sri Lankan companies in his quest to continue his reign in the Asian region.


Malaysian Super Series – Sepang Circuit (5.543-km) – 10 laps

Race 1

1. Dilantha Malagamuwa (Lamborghini Gallardo) 26:07:454

2. W S Mok (Porsche 911 GT3R) 26:09.066s

3. Samson Chan (Ginetta G50Z GT3) 26:17:893s

4. Ian Mao (Porsche 996 GT3) 26:23:359s

5. Wayne Shen (Ferrari F430) 26:23:576s

6. Brent Odgers (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) 26:30:300s 

7. Jeffrey Lee (Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) 26:30.558s

8. Byron Tong (Ferrari F430) 26:31.084s

9. John Shen (Ferrari F430) 26:36.683s

10. Mark Williamson (Aston Martin GT4) 26:42.499s      

Race 2

1. Dilantha Malagamuwa – Lamborghini: 21:40.797

2. Mok Weng Sun – Porsche 911 GT3R: 21:47.816

3. Ian Mao – Porsche 996 GT3: 22:31.800

4. Wayne Shen – Ferrari F430: 22:39.675

5. Brent Odgers – Porsche 997 GT3 Cup: 23:07.432

6. John Shen – Ferrari F430: 23:19.909

7. Byron Tong – Ferrari F430: 23:29.175

8. Stewart Seatter – Mazda RX7: 21:41.059

9. Eric Lo – Ferrari F430: 21:45.892

10. Simon Waters – Aston Martin GT4: 21:50.563

By Channaka de Silva


Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2011 @ 09:23:46 LKT


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