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An enthralling and incident packed final race of the 2016 Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup season saw Thai rider Somkiat Chantra clinch the title, with Turkish siblings Can Oncu and Deniz Oncu joining the new champion on the podium at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The race took place on a wet track after a day of rain at Sepang, but the showers held off as the riders undertook their final 13-lap race of 2016 around the 5.5km track on wet tyres.
There was a crash on the first lap for Yuki Kunii, with championship contenders Andi Izdihar and Ai Ogura then joined by Kazuki Masaki as they formed an early lead group. However, there was drama on the fourth lap as Masaki crashed, with Ogura going down a few corners later.
This left Izdihar in control of the race and with the Cup title in his sights, whilst on lap 6 Gerry Salim became another victim of the tricky conditions.
However, Chantra and Can Oncu were on the move and took over from Izdihar at the front. Chantra was pulling clear, with Can Oncu looking strong in second and with the fight for the final podium spot being contested by Izdihar, Deniz Oncu, Ryusei Yamanaka and Shogo Kawasaki. At this stage Izdihar needed a fifth place finish or better to win the 2016 Cup.
Then drama struck again with two laps to go as a crash for Izdihar saw his title hopes slip away, leaving Chantra in the driving seat as he pushed on for glory.
On the last lap a crash for Kawasaki took him out of contention, with Chantra going on to take the win in front of Can Oncu and Deniz Oncu, as the Turkish brothers both achieved their first podium results of the year.
Chantra therefore took the title despite going in to the final race in fourth in the standings and he also became the first Thai winner of the Cup.
The final top three in the Cup standings are the champion Chantra on 178 points, with Ogura the runner-up on 173 points and Izdihar on 167 points.
Commenting on Chantra’s triumph, Alberto Puig, Director of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup, said, “It was an incredible end to the season. In these tricky conditions you never know what will happen and Chantra understood the situation very well to take an incredible victory. Overall, he was the fastest rider of the season so he deserves the title. We congratulate him and his assistant on winning this Championship!”
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