The start to qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix has been delayed due to a heavy rain shower that has hit the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday afternoon.
Around 40 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to get underway at 4am ET, heavy rain began to fall at the circuit, and has not since eased. With the race being held in monsoon season, such weather in Malaysia is not uncommon.
In 2009, the race had to be red flagged due to the weather, with a result being declared early and half points being awarded as the drivers were unable to get racing again.
With the rain continuing to fall, more delays could be required to allow the weather to improve so that the drivers can safely get out on track.
0400 – Qualifying is currently scheduled to start at 0415, with the next update coming at 0405.
0405 – Qualifying has been delayed by a further 15 minutes. New scheduled start is 0430 ET. Next update at 0420.
0420 – Another 15 minute delay, meaning that the new start time is 0445 ET. Next update at 0435.
0435 – Another delay, but only 5 minutes this time. Planned start is 0450. The rain has stopped falling.
0445 – FIA confirms that qualifying will begin at 0450 ET.
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.