Malaysian F4 SEA Duo Victorious At Sepang

Malaysian F4 SEA Duo Victorious At Sepang

15.04.2018: The Finale of the 2017-18 Formula 4 South East Asia Championship - fueled by Petron, was always going to be a show stopper

The Finale of the 2017-18 Formula 4 South East Asia Championship - fueled by Petron, was always going to be a show stopper as the drivers of the one-make FIA-certified Championship gave it their all in this stirring fifth event of the season.




Race 4



The starting grid for Race 4 of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship was determined by the second fastest time clocked in qualifying. Malaysia’s Muizz Musyaffa was on pole followed by Daniel Cao and Hibiki Taira.



After the formation lap had been run, the drivers took their places on the starting grid, eagerly waiting for the lights to go out.



It was good start for the Malaysian as he barrelled down the straight toward Turn 1. Daniel Cao and Hibiki Taira meanwhile were neck and neck going through the first few corners. However Daniel seemed to lose his pace and fell to fifth position.



Presley Martono crept up from the mid-field to inch past Taira and Cao to occupy third. Frenchman Alessandro Ghiretti was on a similar pace and even made his way past Martono in a series of overtaking manoeuvres.



Armand Johany on the other hand, spun out onto the gravel and was not able to restart his machine. As safety is an utmost priority, the safety car was deployed to keep the pace. Shortly thereafter, the safety car pulled into the pits after Armand was cleared from the gravel and the race was resumed.



Muizz continued to lead the field with the Frenchman and Indonesian in tow. That being said, the duo were piling the pressure on the Malaysian.



In the mid-field, Kane Shepherd who was trailing Cao, faced much pressure from Malaysian’s Nazim Azman, Isyraf Danish and Timothy Yeo.



Upfront, Ghiretti managed to pass speedy Muizz for the top spot. But the Malaysian kept up the unrelenting pace, forcing Ghiretti to lock up going into Turn 1.



The final lap was a heart-stopper as Muizz fought to get past. The Chequered flag waved Ghiretti, Muizz and Presley first, second and third respectively.



"It was a great race! The safety car definitely gave me an edge to close the gap with Muizz who was very fast but I managed to get passed to take first place" exclaimed Alessandro Gheiretti



With the fourth race in the bag, the following is set to be a show-stopper.
 



Race 5





The penultimate race of the final event of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship here at the sunny Sepang International Circuit was poised to be spectacular.



After a flawless formation lap around the 5.543km Super Circuit, the drivers lined up before the four red lights, ready to launch.



After a great start off the line, Hibiki Taira led the formation down to the first corner with fierce competition trailing him inches away. The Okinawan held his ground until Presley Martono snatched the lead away in Turn 15.



Hibiki Taira on the other hand, lost his pace and fell to seventh position by the second lap. The following lap saw talented athletes swap positions as they found new overtaking opportunities, while Nazim Azman inched his way to second place behind Martono.



Martono meanwhile was pulling away from the five-way battle brewing behind him. Azman, Ghiretti, Cao, Isyraf and Muizz were locked in for battle. The heat was on.



In his eagerness to keep the pace, Isyraf Danish nearly lost control of his machine but kept it in control. Frenchman Ghiretti mounted a charge on Azman and stole the second spot from him.



The heart-stopping action was unceasing as the youngsters continued to push their talents to the limits in this penultimate race of the final event. Isyraf kept attacking at Cao’s heel to take fourth position away from the Shanghai-native.



Armand Johany on the other hand, spun off into the gravel coming into Turn 6.



By the final lap, every single driver was pushing hard to claim invaluable forward positions. However as the chequered flag waved, it was none other than 2016 F4 SEA Champion, Presley Martono who took the flag home for Indonesia.



Alessandro, Nazim, Isyraf, Muizz and Cao settled for second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in this edge-of-your-seat scrimmage for the flag.



“F4 SEA has been great. It’s been a wonderful weekend of racing here at Sepang and I’m looking to the last race of the season” said the 2016 Overall Champion



F4 SEA is the embodiment of wheel-to-wheel action affording the opportunity to witness amazing feats of racing to drivers and spectators.





Race 6



The race we’ve all been waiting for, the last race of the finale event of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship has provided more exciting action along with lots of unanticipated spills and thrills.



In this final instalment Daniel Cao, Muizz Musyaffa and Isyraf Danish started the race with the best view in the house. Nazim Azman, Alessandro Ghiretti and Presley Martono started from fourth, fifth and sixth. The weather on the other hand was overcast with the possibility of rain.
 


After an incident-free formation lap, the drivers were ready to race. Following a smooth start off the line, Daniel led the party down to the chicane. However by the fourth turn, Muizz had inched his way past Daniel Cao. Everyone was pushing their machines to the ragged edge.  By this time, Cao had lost his top spot and was relegated down to fourth.



Presley and Cao locked up their brakes going into Turn 1 of the following lap. Ghiretti and Danish meanwhile was busy climbing up the ranks.



With the rest of the field embroiled in an intense battle in this final race, Muizz kept his comfortable lead secure with a gap of 3.5 seconds. At the same time, Presley and Isyraf managed to sweep up second and third. Ghiretti lost his pace and fought from 8th place.



On lap three, Ghiretti and Cao made contact and both sustained front wing damage which resulted in reduced grip and limited aero, making their cars much harder to control and the fight for the event championship all the more intense.   Both drivers pushed on relentlessly despite the damage.



Towards the end, Isyraf clawed his way past Martono to claim second. Shepherd meanwhile climbed up to fourth, overtaking Hibiki.  Isyraf faced immense pressure throughout from Presley, Kane and Hibiki as they charged hard.



By the last lap, Presley was drafting Isyraf with millimetre precision down the main straight but the Malaysian held his own and defended his position valiantly.



The chequered flag waved a well-deserving Muizz the victor of the final race of the 2017-18 Championship with a best time of 2:15.691. What a proud moment it was to have a Malaysian win on home soil in this last race of the season.



“I’m so very excited to be the winner here in Sepang. It’s been a great experience for me to be on podium amidst such formidable opponents” exclaimed a grinning Muizz Musyaffa.



Equally amazing was the second place finish Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish.  2016 championship winner Presley Martono followed in third. Kane Shepherd, Hibiki Taira and Nazim Azman settled for fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
 


All in all it was an amazing finish to an action-packed 2017 season.



There aren’t enough synonyms in the thickest dictionaries to describe the sheer heart-pounding action that the championship just witnessed. Fearless wheel-to-wheel battling might possibly be the understatement of the season.



However the year isn’t over yet. The Formula 4 South East Asia Championship looks forward to the MERITUS Awards Gala (MAGs) slated for June 2018. The MAG’s will be honouring and decorating the seasons Overall Event Champion and announcing the 2018 F4 SEA Championship.


 

- Aaron Thompson - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/f4sea-malaysian-duo-victory-sepang---175011.html

15.04.2018 / MaP

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