Mark Raine, Mercedes-Benz Cars vice-president of sales and marketing (Malaysia), has been active in the car scene lately, leading record sales for Mercedes last year with almost 12,000 units sold in 2016. There are many interesting factors that contributed to the growth of Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia and also in South East Asia.
What has made the premium brand a success as of late? What are their recipes to success and sustainability? I have the privilege to interview Mark Raine during my short visit to Kota Kinabalu last week. Mark is a very easy going lad and very approachable. Thank you for hosting the media and customers last week and arranging a great three day event in showcasing how Mercedes-Benz is not just a product but a lifestyle.
Interviewing Mark Raine at Shangrila’s Rasa Ria
Rano Iskandar: Can you share the growth of Mercedes-Benz and its growing presence in South East Asia?
Mark Raine: I believe we have a holistic approach in our brand, Mercedes-Benz and this has been a huge factor in our growth and being a brand leader in the premium category. We don’t only have the best car but also focusing on customer centric in a way of doing our business, to give a more positive customer experience before and after sales. Even the process of buying a Mercedes is taken into account such as having a competent website, digital approach and also the consultation process. All these are essential in the buying process so in the end, the customers are happy with their choices. This is already half the victory in catering to what the customers want.
The real deal starts after the sales and we at Mercedes emphasizes deeply in this area as this will determine our loyalty of our customers. It has proven a success and it is no doubt that the growth of Mercedes in the premium sector has increased despite the downturn in the economy in SEA.
The extension of the models from Mercedes-Benz has helped to elevate the growth of the brand in the premium sector. These are such as the SUV models – the GLEs, GLCs and GLAs being introduced in the market.
Rano Iskandar: Speaking of the trend, is this segment a huge trend in the region for Mercedes and how it came about?
Mark Raine: Yes, this is more of a global trend that SUVs have impacting the trend. However, there was little choices in the premium segment. We have a gut feeling and took a gamble in this segment and we believed that SUV is the thing of the future. This was also the key element of positioning of the Mercedes brand (in the SUV segment), focusing on lifestyle and affluent customers. This has helped to rejuvenate the brand while improving on innovation and technology.
Rano Iskandar: Why Kota Kinabalu as the prime destination for the #hungryforadventure ?
Mark Raine: The destination speaks for itself and we want to associate the mindset of our customers that our brand offers endurance, great positioning for different walks of life such as taking your children to school or on the weekend, bring your bike for a spin or going for a round of golf and lastly Kota Kinabalu gives a sense of adrenalin which resonates with our brand. We were fortunate that we have different weather conditions during our hill drive this morning at Sabah National Park and it showed what our SUVs are capable of.
We at Mercedes tend to organize events like this twice a year. We will invite our stakeholders along such as the media, the customers to showcase what SUVs are about and also being a premium brand, we want to be approachable to our customers by having a touch and feel on what Mercedes have to offer.
Rano Iskandar: Which model in Malaysia has been a top seller?
Mark Raine: It will be the C class and it targets all walks of life. However, it’s not the only model that has been popular but the compact cars and other models such as the E Class that was launched last year in Malaysia. Pretty soon we will be launching the new E 350E the latest hybrid brand. In terms of growth, it will be the SUVs and the GLC is the best selling in Malaysia and we sold over 3,000 units since its launch.
Mark Raine, Mercedes-Benz Cars vice-president of sales and marketing (Malaysia), posing with the latest Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 at Hap Seng Star showroom at Kota Kinabalu recently
Rano Iskandar: Why introducing the GLC 200 if you already have the GLC 250?
Mark Raine: We have the GLC 250 which is a brilliant product. It’s an SUV 4WD and offers great speed and comfort, positioning it as a very sporty, luxury model.
However to a certain extent, we are only capturing a lot of market but there are customers who want different qualities and traits and their mindsets are different from other customers. Hence the GLC 200 repositions itself in more exclusive luxury segment. It comes standard in on-road package or off-road package. The interior package also makes the value perception of this vehicle very, very high. The GLC 200 is just a notch below the GLC 250, hence makes it more affordable for most customers in the market. The unique selling point of the GLC 200 will be the exclusive luxurious appeal with high value perception and many features at a very competitive price.
Rano Iskandar: The GLC 200 is locally assembled in Malaysia. Is there any difference from the ones being imported?
Mark Raine: No difference at all. Same car, same quality, same quality checks. In essence, the same car. In South East Asia, we have a local production because we have tax exemptions and it makes the pricing more attractive.
Rano Iskandar: The GLE 43 Coupe OrangeArt Limited Edition. Share me more about it.
Mark Raine: It’s already available through order. It’s very limited and exclusive order. It’s very eccentric and flashy feel. It has a 21 inch AMG wheels with the OrangeArt Edition exterior package. We even have the Night Package. The eccentric and unique edition features extravagant design highlights including striking expressive decals in the orange on the front apron and the AMG wheels painted in high-gloss black and rim flange painted in orange.
The GLE 43 Coupe Orange Art Edition making it a high end personalised edition giving that special, individualized character and it’s definitely a striking appeal.
I had the privilege to test drive the GLC 200 and it will available in Brunei market hopefully by November 2017
Loving the feel and the drive. Of course, I love the AMG GLC 250 but this model is still good enough to keep me satisfied
A nice touch when I opened the door of the GLC 200
Day 2 – Group shot with the representatives from Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Loas, the Philippines and Brunei. This was taken at entrance at the Ocean Wing, Shangrila’s Rasa Ria resort at Tuaran, Sabah.
This was our car for the day – the Mercedes-Benz GLC AMG 250. So much to love about this model and it’s one of the most popular model in South East Asia.
Some of the media representatives
The jungle trekking at Sabah National Park which lasted roughly 2 kilometre
The dry bag sponsored by Mercedes-Benz do come in handy
One of the media had the opportunity to hug a tree. I should have done that. This was the 2nd round of trekking which was tougher than the first one. I survived but my sneakers were all dirty from the soft ground.
We finally worked out the navigation for easier reference while driving. Hence we realised less on waze unless we want traffic update.
Taken at the Kinabalu Pine Resort where we had our lunch pitstop before heading back to the hotel
Group photo with representatives from Brunei Darussalam. We all had a good time.
A shot with the mountain view. I love the background scenery.
A situation where there is overcrowding of Mercedes-Benz SUVs at one spot
This is a pretty sight with all the convoys of the SUVs
On our way back from the mountain and the fog started to set in pretty early
A true test when it rained and of course, the Mercedes-Benz SUVs had little trouble during the rain with some puddles along the way
After trying out the GLC AMG 43 and the GLC AMG 250, I test drove the tamer version which will be launched in Brunei in November – The GLC 200. Again, a luxurious model of its own.
I tested with the Sport+ and Eco mode and you can tell the difference. I even did the launch control on the long stretch at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria. Love that adrenalin feeling.
Apart from the test drive, I love the fact that our host accommodate the invitees to stay over at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resot and I truly loved the experience. I made use of the humungous bath tub outside my room.
The finale BBQ dinner to cap off the #ReadyForAdventure trip. Thanks once again!
Representatives of Jati Transport and their customers from Brunei also joined the fun 🙂
I wanted to pamper myself and indulged for a massage session at the hotel. I shall give this 4 stars for the overall experience. I even fell asleep at one stage. So good.
Only 2 nights here and I made myself so comfortable at my room at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria. This is one of the best hotels I have stayed in 2017. Maybe the best 😀
Kenny Ng, General Manager of Emerging Markets, Daimler South East Asia and Ho Ley Hoon, Sales Manager of Jati Transport Sdn Bhd with selected owners of Mercedes-Benz SUVs before heading off on a road trip to Kota Kinabalu.
Jati Transport Sdn Bhd invited selected SUV owners of Mercedes-Benz and two members of the media for Mercedes-Benz SUV Endurance Road Trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
This was considered my fifth overseas assignment for automative in the past few years and this time it’s a road trip from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu. Yes, I’ve been on the road once but only from KK to Brunei and not back and forth. It’s an honour to have Jati Transport organizing the Mercedes-Benz SUV Endurance trip and also inviting me to be part of the media team. Thank you, thank you.
The flag off took place at 7am yesterday at the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus at Beribi. There were a convey of 8 Mercedes-Benz and they were flagged off by Kenny Ng, General Manager of Emerging Markets, Daimler South East Asia and Ho Ley Hoon, Sales Manager of Jati Transport Sdn Bhd before the entourage departed to Kota Kinabalu.
The trip took roughly six and a half hours before arriving at Hap Seng Star showroom (Mercedes-Benz KK). The entourage is expected to drive back from Kota Kinabalu tomorrow lunch time.
Kenny Ng doing the honours to flag off at Mercedes-Benz Autohaus
Lo Hey Loon flagging off the endurance drive
Catching the ferry at the half way point to Kota Kinabalu
The ferry must have been worth a lot since it carried 8 Mercedes-Benz vehicle and one Kijang on the one minute ride
Some parts were affected by the flood.
What was being showcase? The media from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Cambodia and selected Mercedes-Benz owners from Brunei Darussalam were invited for the exclusive launch of the Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 at Hap Seng Star showroom at Kota Kinabalu.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC 200 was unveiled by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia sales and marketing, passenger cars vice president, Mark Raine, who flew in from Kuala Lumpur for the 3 day event.
Another edition has been added to the Mecedes-Benz SUV family – the GLC 200. This is to cater to the unique lifestyle and demands of its customers with the launch of the new GLC variant: the GLC 200. It is equipped with numerous high-end features including the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, an Off-road exterior package, 19 inch 5-spoke allow wheels and LED High Performance headlamps. The interior has a luxurious appeal with a high value perception. The interior colors ranging from black, espresso brown to silk beige in combination with the exclusive brown open-pore ash wood trim and the ARTICO man-made leather dashboard underline the exclusive appearance of the premium SUV.
Malaysians had the privileged of the locally-assembled GLC 250 4MATIC and now they have brought it a new variant to underline its claim as the leader in the premium SUV segment in Malaysia and this also provide a wider avenue for their customers to choose from.
According to Mark Raine, “The introduction of Mercedes-Benz’s premium SUB range has establish this segment to the luxury market. As the No.1 premium brand, we combine ultimate driving comfort, dynamic handling and great ability, as our SUVs define new benchmarks, break conventions and provide our customers with their ultimate choice of vehicle for their unique and active lifestyle. As the locally produced GLC a crowd favourite, we are excited to bring the GLC 200 as an additional choice for those who desire and exclusive SUV.”
The GLC 200 is powered by a 2.0 liter 4 in-line engine, which produces an output of 135kW (184hp) and 300 Nm of torque. The nee-stage 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission also comes as standard on the GLC 200. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control, the automatic transmission with a torque converter boasts great agility and responsiveness.
Its interior features Exclusive line, including upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/fabric, ARTICO-covered dashboard with contrasting topstitching in three colors, seats featuring an exclusively upholstery layout, wood trim in high-gloss brown line structure lime and the 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel.
Hap Seng Star showroom at Kota Kinabalu. Nice, nice!!
Mark Raine posing with the newly launched GLC 200
Members of the media from other countries came in to witness the launch
Now this OrangeArt Edition caught my eye. Very limited too.
The Mercedes-Benz that was given for me to drive – the GLC AMG 43… Wooohooo
The interior of the AMG 43
Our hotel room at Shangrila’s Rasa Ria which was quite far from the city. Love the hotel and thank you, Mercedes-Benz, for hosting us
Let’s have fun during our endurance trip
The new A5 range will boost 252hp with quattro all-wheel-drive
Some cars are in your face – I’m looking at you, Ford Mustang – while others prefer elegance to ostentation.
The Audi A5 certainly falls into this latter category. It isn’t covered in scoops and bulges. It doesn’t turn heads everywhere it goes. But it is smooth, elegant and beautifully proportioned.
It is, essentially, a sleeker looking albeit less practical version of the A4 saloon. Prices start around the £31,500 mark, pitching it slightly higher than its saloon sibling but that’s the price you pay for style.
There’s the usual choice of 2.0 litre petrol and diesel engines with varying power outputs and a creamy-smooth 3.0 litre diesel. If you have deeper pockets there is also the very fast S5 and even faster RS5.
As usual with Audi, you can have front or quattro four-wheel drive. Given the deluges we’ve been subjected to this summer I was pleased Audi sent me a four-wheel drive version.
Mine had a 252bhp petrol engine, was in high spec S Line trim and had the S tronic semi-automatic seven-speed transmission. That all adds up to an asking price over £40,000 – and Audi whacked £8,000 of optional extras on its press demonstrator, including head up display (£900), Light and Vision pack (£975) and Driver Assistance Pack (£1,250).
The A5 is aimed at those who might like a TT but need some practicality. Whereas the TT’s rear seats are all but useless for people, the A5 can fit adults in the back, albeit small ones. At 45 litres, the boot is capacious – although Audi could easily make the A5 a practical hatchback without changing its svelte shape.
If you think the exterior looks good you should see the inside. Audi quite simply does the most beautiful and most user friendly interiors in the mainstream car market. Every switch and dial feels top quality and the Virtual Cockpit – a screen behind the steering wheel where dials would be – is tremendous.
The A5 has a nice balance between handling and comfort. Ride quality is firm enough to enjoy sharp cornering but not harsh enough to be uncomfortable on long journeys. In fact, it’s a beautiful long distance cruiser.
With 252bhp on tap, my petrol model absolutely flew. Diesels are a bit slower but offer better economy.
The A5 is not a car that likes to shout about its abilities. Calm, refined and understated, it’s happy to look good without drawing undue attention.
Matrix LED Headlights will be standard
Born of pure imagination. Built with innovative reality. The all-new Audi A5.
A 4-door Sportback version will also be available with the same engine output and transmission
The new A5 range for Brunei will be packed with tech goodies such as the digital 12.3 inch Virtual Cockpit, navigation and B&O sound system
Mr Andrew Chiam, Jati Transport Executive Director, YM Pg Anak Hj Ja’afar Ibni Almarhum Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Hj Mohd ‘Alam, Jati Transport Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman, Dr Claus Weidner, Head of Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars South East Asia 2 and President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Mr Wolfgang Huppenbauer, President & CEO of Daimler South East Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore officiating the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus at Beribi last Friday. Image courtesy of Nurul.
The new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus. It’s bigger and spacious indeed!
Jati Transport Sdn Bhd celebrated the 30th anniversary of their appointment as the Mercedes-Benz General Distributor in Brunei with the official opening of the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus in Beribi last Friday.
With an investment of $5 million, the new Mercedes-Benz Autohaus incorporates the latest Mercedes-Benz concept by Daimler AG, Germany, occupying a build-up area of 28,000 square feet that features a 13 vehicles display area. The bright open tiled showroom with floor-to-ceiling glass walls includes a luxurious customer lounge with complimentary refreshments, LED television, wifi, a new car delivery area and a Mercedes-Benz Merchandise shop. The state-of-the-art workshop features 15 service bays as well as a warehouse for spare parts, and is equipped with world-leading diagnostic and repair equipment.
The new facility also boasts a professional sales and after-sales team, providing the best-in-class global standards of service for every Mercedes-Benz customer.
On hand to officiate at the launch of the new facility were Jati Transport Sdn Bhd Executive Chairman, YM Pg Anak Hj Ja’afar Ibni Almarhum Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Hj Mohd ‘Alam, Jati Transport Executive Director, Mr Andrew Chiam, Head of Marketing & Sales Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars South East Asia 2 and President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Dr Claus Weidner, and President & CEO of Daimler South East Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore, Mr Wolfgang Huppenbauer.
In celebration of their 30th anniversary, Jati Transport Sdn Bhd presented donations of $5,000 each to six charities, namely:
1) Dana Pengiran Muda Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah Fund for Orphans
2) Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam
3) Tabung Orang-orang Cacat
4) Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Cacat (KACA)
5) Tabung Anak-Anak Yatim Daerah Brunei dan Muara
6) SMARTER Brunei
The lovely cake for Jati Transport’s milestone
It has been unveiled
Quite a crowd witnessing the new Autohaus
Ok, this one caught my eye 😀
Hello Tiger :p
A LINEUP OF SUPERSTARS. A FAMILY OF THOROUGHBREDS.
From the creators of the 45, 63 and 65 model lines comes MercedesAMG 43, eight high performance vehicles with AMG pedigree were introduced at Mercedes-Benz Autohaus, Beribi, yesterday. Fitted with numerous AMG enhancements, every vehicle screams “Drive me,” because in the AMG family, performance is king. From coupes and sedans to SUVs and roadsters, the power and handling of the 43 lineup beckon to the world’s most passionate drivers. All that’s left to do is grip the wheel and press the accelerator.
The 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine provides impressive performance with its 270 kW (367 hp) maximum power and peak torque of 520 newton metres: sprinting from rest to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, its speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h. The newly developed front axle, the taut elastokinematics and the highly precise steering make a substantial contribution to the agile driving experience.
• 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine with modified engine control unit, increased boost pressure and far higher dynamics and high-revving
• 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with double-declutching function when shifting down and exhilaratingly short response times in “Sport Plus” mode
• AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive with rear-biased torque distribution of 31 to 69 percent (front axle to rear axle)
• AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with adaptive variable damping in three stages, mode can be selected via button, adopted from MercedesAMG 63 series
• AMG DYNAMIC SELECT switch for dynamic, individually selectable driving experience with five drive modes and AMG-specific parameterisation
• Three-stage Electronic Stability Program ESP®
• Front axle with newly developed steering knuckles and load-bearing joints on the spring link. Elastokinematic adjustments to the links have been adopted from the Mercedes-AMG 63 series
• Rear axle with elastokinematics tailored to higher driving dynamics
Large braking system with internally ventilated compound brake discs, perforated at the front with a diameter of 360 mm, and with a diameter of 320 mm at the rear
AMG-specific: the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine
The new 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo engine is part of the BlueDIRECT engine family from Mercedes-Benz. Technical advances including a modified boost pressure allowed the AMG engineers to increase the engine’s power output and torque as well as its dynamism and flexibility to typical AMG levels. With 270 kW (367 hp) and 520 Nm, the V6 engine sets new standards in its segment. The NANOSLIDE® coating of the cylinder liners is also used in the Formula One engines of MERCEDES-AMG PETRONAS. Especially tough and, therefore, wear-resistant, this coating also reduces friction, thereby contributing to higher efficiency. The AMG powerplant can be identified by the red aluminium insert in the engine cover.
Short shift times, high efficiency: 9G-TRONIC
The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission is especially matched to the demands of the Mercedes-AMG 43. Thanks to the model-specific software application, the AMG developers managed to reduce substantially the shift times of the 9-speed transmission. The multiple downshift allows even faster short bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” transmission modes makes for an even more emotive driving experience. Defined ignition adjustments also provide faster gearshifts in the “Eco” and “Comfort” modes.
“Manual” mode can be enabled by pressing a button on the centre console. The gear changes are based on the selected transmission mode, and the driver can now change gear using the paddles on the steering wheel. Moreover, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches the limit.
Rear-biased and agile: AMG Performance 4MATIC
The standard-fit AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive combines optimum traction, hallmark AMG vehicle dynamics and maximum driving pleasure. The system features a rear-biased torque distribution of 31 percent to the front axle and 69 percent to the rear axle. This arrangement ensures greater vehicle dynamics and higher lateral acceleration on the road as well as improved traction as it uses the dynamic shift in the axle load toward the rear axle that occurs during acceleration to deliver more drive torque to the rear. A multi-disc clutch with a locking effect of 50 Nm guarantees that the frictional connection potential of all four wheels is exploited to the full. On road surfaces with different levels of grip, the all-wheel drive responds with targeted brake application on one wheel in order to also guarantee optimum traction in such instances.
The new Mercedes-Benz Autohas at Beribi
Audi has recently extended its Q family with a compact SUV. The Audi Q2 is an urban-type vehicle for everyday driving and recreation, bundling a progressive design and great driving pleasure with a high level of functionality. Connectivity, infotainment and assistance systems are on the level of the full-size category
Looking for something exciting to do this weekend? Meet the car that won gold in Germany’s Biggest Ladies’ Choice and was awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best Award for its superior design quality and trendsetting design. Happening this weekend, Audi Brunei will be hosting a test drive event that is open to the public for everyone to experience the all new #untaggable Audi Q2!
The Audi Q2 is a small crossover compact SUV that comes with loads of exciting features such as the LED lighting inlays which are changeable up to 10 color choices creating a more personal feel. Also another highlight feature of the Audi Q2 is the progressive steering which makes the Audi Q2 to have a greater direct steering response. This provides a greater precision with less effort for easier maneuvers into parking spots and around corners. You may also want to experience the Audi drive select which is available in the Audi Q2. The Audi drive select allows you to alter the character and handling of the Audi Q2. Available modes is the Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Efficiency – each adjusting the steering weight and throttle response to suit your driving style and road conditions.
The weekend showroom test-drive event will be held on the 5th and 6th of August 2017 from 9am until 4pm at the Audi showroom in Kiarong. Members of the public are welcome to test-drive not only the Audi Q2 but other available Audi models as well. Personally I’ve driven the Audi Q2 and so much to love about it.
Standard in the Q2 is a 5.8-inch MMI screen that is positioned high up on the instrument panel. The infotainment system can be operated by a rotary/push-button control and two buttons on the center tunnel
The Audi Q2 is a powerful SUV that exhibits a very distinct character. At the front, a strong image is created by the Singleframe grill in octagonal design that is positioned up high as well as by the large air inlets
Especially eye-catching is the low roof that descends and merges into the C-pillars with color offset blades. This contrast accentuates the sportiness of the Audi Q2
Audi driver Lucas di Grassi is the new champion of the worldwide Formula E electric racing series. After taking the lead of the standings with a lights-to-flag victory in the first of the two final races in Montreal (Canada), the Brazilian from Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport wrapped up the title on taking seventh place on Sunday.
Di Grassi had arrived in Canada for the final weekend with a ten-point deficit to Renault driver Sébastian Buemi. While the Swiss was ostensibly tense and, following an accident in free practice, had a horrible day on Saturday, di Grassi made no mistakes and converted his deficit with his pole position and lights-to-flag victory in an 18-point advantage.
On Sunday, di Grassi and his teammate Daniel Abt started from the third row while Buemi only took position 14 in qualifying. Following a turbulent starting phase, di Grassi and Abt dropped to positions nine and ten some of the time but, also thanks to clever energy management, were able to fight back to positions six and seven. As a result, Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport secured the vice-championship in the teams’ classification as well.
“Today is the best day in my career,” the new Formula E Champion enthused after the race. “I’ve believed in Formula E from day one because the world, including motorsport, is changing. Three years ago, we won the first Formula E race in Beijing and now finally the title as well. ABT Sportsline, Schaeffler and Audi Sport have done a perfect job – not least after the races in New York where we weren’t so strong. Here in Montreal, on the best race track Formula E has ever seen, we were fast from the beginning.”
Following third place in Formula E’s inaugural year and the vice-championship last year, Lucas di Grassi is the third champion in the world’s first all-electric racing series and, with a total of six victories and 20 podium results in 33 races, one of the most successful Formula E campaigners. In the 2016/2017 season, the Audi driver won two races, clinched three pole positions and seven podium places in twelve races. Only in Paris, di Grassi scored no points. In the end, this consistency was decisive in the title race, although his comebacks at the season opener in Hong Kong and on clinching victory in Mexico will remain equally unforgotten.
“For me, Lucas di Grassi is currently the most complete driver in Formula E,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “What he showed in Montreal on Saturday was simply fantastic. After New York, there probably weren’t a lot of people expecting him to be able to turn the tables in the title race anymore. But Lucas never gave up for even a second and continually motivated the whole squad to deliver top performances. The entire team around Hans-Jürgen Abt and Thomas Biermaier did an outstanding job and Daniel Abt, who was beaten a little below his potential this year, drove strong races in Montreal too. This has been a tremendous finale and a good week on the whole for Formula E. That, after BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are going to follow us into this forward-thinking racing series underlines the growing importance of fully electric motorsport. I’m already looking forward to the opener of the new Formula E season in Hong Kong in December when our factory-backed commitment opens up a new chapter in Audi’s motorsport history. With ABT and Schaeffler as our partners we’re in a very good position in the increasingly tougher competition.”
Lucas di Grassi was born in São Paulo on August 11, 1984 and lives in Monaco together with his wife, Bianca. The Brazilian won the prestigious Formula 3 Grand Prix in Monaco in 2005 and was active in Formula 1 as a test and race driver before joining Audi in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2012 and mounting the podium in the Le Mans 24 Hours three times. As a test driver from day one, he helped make Formula E reality. Now, he is its new champion.
Group photo with the Kia management and representatives from Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd and LUB Enterprise
Customer loyalty is an important factor in building a brand. Kia understands the importance of customer’s needs and the value of creating good rapport with them. In order to show appreciation for Kia’s loyal customers, Grand Motors Sdn Bhd, the exclusive distributor of Kia vehicles in Brunei Darussalam launched the 2017 Kia Customer Loyalty Program last 19 June 2017.
BSB and KB customers who serviced their car at least 3 times from the authorised workshop and spent at least B$100 for service maintenance or repairs are entitled to participate in the draw. The promotion period was from 19 June to 25 July 2017. 20 out of the 300 customers were shortlisted last 26 July 2017 at the Kia Service Centre in Lambak Kanan. The names were drawn by Haji Zainie bin Suhaili, Commercial Executive of Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd and Mr. Hendry Ang, General Manager of LUB Enterprise. The shortlisted customers will be published in Thursday’s issue of Borneo Bulletin.
Grand draw will be on the 28th of July 2017, 10:00 AM at the Kia Service Centre in Lambak. Shortlisted customers will be informed through the contact numbers given. They must present their Brunei I/C on the day of the draw. Two lucky winners will stand a chance to win a 5-day tour in Korea which includes airfare, hotel accommodations and a cultural experience tour in the Korean Folk Village, Royal Palace & Insadong. Tour at the Hwaseong Plant and Hyundai Steel Plant are also arranged for them to get a complete feel and experience of Kia’s hospitality in its home country, Korea.
Mr. Hendry Ang, General Manager of LUB Enterprise drawing 10 names for the shortlisted customer
Around 300 customers entered the lucky draw competition
One of the authorized workshop for Kia at Lambak at Bandar
Izam Said and I had fun during the Media Driving Academy (MDA) hosted by Porsche earlier this month. Thank you QAF Eurokars for inviting us
Journalists from Asia Pacific had a good experience on the track
Porsche Asia Pacific announced recently the start of the highly anticipated Media Driving Academy (MDA) in Sepang, Malaysia, now in its third iteration. This year’s event, took place from 4th to 6th July 2017, gave Asia Pacific journalists the very first opportunity to drive the new Panamera Turbo and Panamera 4S on the racetrack, among a fleet of other Porsche cars. The Cayman GT4 Clubsport, a 283 kW (385 hp) mid-engined racer for motorsport newcomers, were also available for hot laps for the first time at the MDA. Well, hot laps meaning you get be driven by the driving instructors/professionals on full speed on the Sepang Circuit. The lucky ones also had the opportunity to be driven by Earl Bamber, a Le Mans champion driver for Porsche in 2017. Awesome!!!
First launched in 2015 at Bira Circuit, Pattaya, Thailand, the MDA allows media to experience the maximum performance of Porsche cars through consecutive courses designed to sharpen driving skills in a safe environment with world-class Porsche instructors. Journalists from 10 countries across the Asia Pacific region will participate in one of three courses – Individual, Professional or Elite. In addition to activities on the track, participants will experience theory workshops, including a motorsports conditioning session, driving physics workshop and a Q&A with Porsche certified instructors. My Brunei entourage were Yursin Junaidi (Media Permata), Izam Said (Motoring BN) and I who attended the Individual category (entry level) while Aziz Idris of Borneo Bulletin had the privilege to be in the “Professional” category.
Following his win driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s longest-running endurance race, Earl Bamber will work with Elite and Individual course participants, and provide a taste of a day in the life of a Porsche LMP1 driver. Plus he is an awesome lad and down to earth.
Earl Bamber added: “Coming fresh off the 24 Hours of Le Mans and into the Media Driving Academy at Sepang, I am thrilled that I can share with journalists what an incredible experience it was. It is my second win at the legendary race and what can I say, I am still letting it sink in! I also had immense fun giving hot laps in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the road cars – Porsche truly has motorsports in its blood, and it shows in every one of its cars, including the new Panamera!”
So what’s my favourite Porsche after this experience? The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S if I’m not mistaken.
Members of the public interested in experiencing Porsche cars on the track can sign up to the Porsche Driving Experience at Sepang. For further information visit: http://www.porsche.com/driving-experience-asia-pacific
It feels like an award but it isn’t. Just love the plaque *lol*
The briefing before the driving experience at Sepang International Circuit
Yusrin was my driving partner for the day
I love this ride too
Earl Bamber checking on us before driving
The modified Porsche GTS meant for racing
Our evening dinner before the event
Great hospitality 😀 Thank you
Claire Jedrek the host interviewing Earl Bamber during dinner