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F4SEA Friday Sepang races in detail

F4SEA Friday Sepang races in detail

09.12.2016: Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship Event 4 - Day 2 Sepang International Circuit Friday, December 9 th 2016

Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship
Event 4 - Day 2 Sepang International Circuit
Friday, December 9 th 2016


 

Race 2 (Dry - 8.00a.m, 8 Laps)



Despite the early morning downpour, the 8-lap second race of the six scheduled for the weekend was declared dry enough for slicks. Starting from pole courtesy of his fastest lap time from Race 1 was the Aussie ace ahead of India’s Akash Gowda, Kiwi Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) and Frost.



A slow getaway from the line at the start saw Gowda lose out to a charging Frost who managed a much better start to get a jump on the drivers ahead of him. By the first corner, the young Singaporean had already begun challenging Love for the lead. Behind Frost, there was drama for Martono who made a mistake and spun off on the opening lap. Though he did rejoin, the youngster had it all to do from ninth.



Meanwhile, the battles were brewing up and down the field, particularly between Love and Frost who were both embroiled in a battle for the race lead. Behind the leading duo, Kahia was also coming under intense pressure from a fast recovering Gowda.



With the race pace settling by the second lap, it was Love who began putting down the hammer with a succession of quick sector times to start opening up a gap to Frost. Similarly, Kahia was also able to pull out a gap to Gowda after a series of solid sectors. Behind the leading group, it was a case of strong recovery drive for Martono who was able to capitalise on his race pace to make his way up the field.



Though there were reports of light drizzle at the mid-way point of the race, this did not affect the drivers significantly, evidenced by Love who was still stringing out a series of consistently quick laps to maintain the gap to Frost.



That gap was however reduced when Frost began outpacing Love in a number of sectors towards the closing stages of the race, though the Aussie ace was able to respond to keep the lead through to the finish.



Behind them, drama would unfortunately unfold for Kahia on the final lap. Despite a stellar effort on his part, the Kiwi suffered another technical issue, forcing him to pull off to the side of the track on Turn 5, gifting third place to Gowda.



A strong drive by Martono through the field saw the Indonesian recover to finish in fourth and earn the rookie win for the race. Finishing in P5 was Malaysia’s Adam Khalid (MAS, Car #5) who lost out on the fight for track position to Martono on the penultimate lap.



Oman’s Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) finished P6 ahead of another Malaysian, Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) and Mohamed Nalwalla (IND, Car #46).






Race 3 (Dry - 10.20a.m, 8 Laps)
 



Following a short break, the drivers were back in their cars for Race 3, the second scheduled for the day. With the grids determined by the drivers’ finishing positions from the previous race, the race also featured a reverse grid for the top half.



 That meant that Malaysia’s Adam Khalid would have the honour of starting from pole, ahead of Martono, Gowda, Frost and Race 2 winner, Love.



A clean start off the line by the drivers saw Martono gain the advantage, jumping into an early lead on the opening lap. The Indonesian did have the difficult job of holding on to the lead with five other drivers who remained close to him.



Unfortunately, he was not able to hold on to the lead as the other drivers caught up to him. It was Gowda who would emerge as the benefactor, taking advantage of the situation to go into the race lead. Lapping quicker than the battling group, the young Indian was able to open up a healthy lead to pull away at the front.



Behind him the battle was intensifying between Frost, Love, Al-Wahaibi, Martono, Mohamed Nalwalla (IND, Car #46), with Kahia closing in rapidly to the group.




With the drivers swapping positions, two standout moments saw Love move up into P2 and the recovering Martono regaining several positions to move up to P3 by lap 3, ahead of Al-Wahaibi and Frost. Kahia was also able to make up considerable ground moving himself up into contention for a top-5 finish.



In the latter half of the race, it was Love who would make his move, lapping quicker than Gowda to close in on the race lead with three laps remaining in the 8-lap race.



The Australian did eventually close to within striking distance on the penultimate lap, eventually overtaking Gowda after an intense duel. Behind the top two, Martono was also able to pull away from the rest to ensure another strong third place finish, while Kahia had also made up significant ground to move himself up into P4 ahead of Frost at the chequered flag.



Finishing in P6 was the young Omani driver, with Adam Khalid in P7 as the best placed Malaysian.





Race 4 (Dry – 2.10p.m, 10 Laps)



 
With the drivers’ second fastest laps from qualifying determining the starting grid for Race 4, it was Love who would start from pole with Frost alongside in P2. Occupying the second row on the grid was Malaysia’s Adam Khalid and Mohamed Nalwalla in third and fourth spot, ahead of Al-Wahaibi and Keanon Santoso (INA, Car #88) in fifth and sixth.



The fourth row was an all-Malaysian affair with Eric Louis (MAS, Car #23) and Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) in seventh and eighth, respectively.



A superb start from the Aussie ace saw the youngster quickly pull away from the rest of the field. That left the fight for position between Frost and Martono, the latter losing out on the start and having the monumental task of battling Frost for second position.



Meanwhile, a struggling Adam Khalid had to battle mechanical gremlins that left him at the mercy of quicker rivals who managed to overtake him. With other on-track scraps up and down the order, the two main duels involved Nalwalla and Kahia battling for fourth; Al-Wahaibi, Isyraf, Gowda and Santoso for track position.



With all eyes on Frost and Martono, it did not take long before the Indonesian got close enough to challenge Frost, at times with the pair side-by-side into several corners. Though Frost did manage defend his position for several laps, the Indonesian ace did eventually prevail taking second place at the mid-way point of the race.



Behind them, a stellar drive by Kahia had seen the Kiwi close in on Nalwalla, eventually taking P4 from the Indian. With Kahia away, the next battle that ensued was an all-Indian affair as Gowda began closing in on his compatriot in the latter stages of the 10-lap race, eventually taking fifth position on the penultimate lap.



In the end, it was Love who would gallop home with his third consecutive win of the day, his fourth thus far, finishing well ahead of Martono and Frost in second and third, respectively.



Kahia finished in P4 ahead of Gowda in P5 and Nalwalla in P6. Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish was the best of the Malaysian drivers, finishing in P7.







Race 5 (Dry – 5.00p.m, 8 Laps)
 



With grid positions determined by the drivers’ fastest lap times from Race 4, the fifth race of the weekend on Friday evening saw Love on pole position, ahead of Frost, Martono, Kahia, Gowda and Isyraf Danish in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth on the grid, respectively.



After a strong start by the top five drivers, this time it would not be so easy for Love to pull away, with Danial keeping the Aussie well within his sights. Also capitalising on his start was Kiwi Kahia who managed to keep pace with the leading group.



Pacing faster than Martono, it did not take the Kiwi long before he made his move on the Indonesian for third at the end of the first lap.



By the second lap, the top three were already pulling away from the field with the battle for the fourth position with Martono having to defend against Gowda. That fight quickly became a three-way fight when Adam Khalid also caught up to join the fray.



That then became a fight for the final podium spot when Frost - who had been following Love in P2, made a costly mistake that saw him spin and drop down the order, leaving Kahia to inherit the position.




What had been a three-way fight for third then became a duel between Martono and Gowda when Adam Khalid was forced to serve a penalty following a start procedure infringement.




That duel would last through to the end as the pair slugged it out over the course of the latter half of the 8-lap race. Up front, the race win was virtually in Love’s hand as the youngster cruised to claim his fourth straight win.



Finishing in second was a delighted Kahia who had been struggling with mechanical issues in the previous races. Martono claimed third after successfully defending against Gowda, with the Indian settling for fourth.



 After being forced into a recovery drive mode, it was Frost who took fifth ahead of Isyraf Danish.






- Peter Thompson -  photos F4 SEA

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/f4-sea-friday-sepang-races-detail---158819.html

09.12.2016 / MaP

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