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Wet and Wild Formula 4 SEA kick off in Sepang

Wet and Wild Formula 4 SEA kick off in Sepang

08.07.2018: The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – fueled by Petron - has landed in Sepang for its premier event of the 2018 season. The FIA-certified championship was supporting the amazing grass-roots Malaysian Speed Festival (MSF). The Formul

The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – fueled by Petron - has landed in Sepang for its premier event of the 2018 season. The FIA-certified championship was supporting the amazing grass-roots Malaysian Speed Festival (MSF).



The Formula 4 South East Asia Championship debuted their season with a grid of 10 drivers hailing from all over the world including three tenacious Malaysians Alister Yoong, Timothy Yeo and Muizz Musyaffa. Here’s what went down.
 


Free Practice





At exactly 9am, the pit light flashed green and cars filed out of the pit lane in an orderly fashion. Two laps later and it was 2016 champion Presley Martono clocking the speediest times around the 5.543km-long circuit, with a best time of 2.14.944 in the cool morning air.



By the fifth lap, it was reported that the southern tip of the track was starting to get wet as the incoming rain clouds began to dampen the tarmac.



The field had set out at the beginning of the session on slick rubbers, so the newly-anticipated wet conditions would not be ideal for them to continue. 



By the seventh lap of the practice session, the rain had started to pour. The field retreated to the pits where MERITUS.GP mechanics broke out the wet weather Hankook tyres to deal with the downpour.



Car #23 of Muizz Musyaffa was the first back on to the rain-soaked tarmac, followed by Alessandro Ghiretti, Kubo Masataka and Allister Yoong.



However the talented drivers faced a tough time controlling their machines amidst the wet conditions. Alister Yoong was one of the first victims of the rain, as he slid off track in Turn 4.



Lap times plummeted in the rain, as the young drivers were forced to rein themselves in.  Learning to control their speed and handle their race cars in all weathers is essential to their racecraft training.



As safety takes priority in these conditions, the marshals waved the chequered flag thus concluding the first Free Practice session of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship.
 



Qualifying
 



As the intrepid field of talented young racers headed out onto the dampened track at precisely 10.50am, they broke in their session with much caution as the surface remained very slippery even with wet weather tyres fitted.



By the second lap, Muizz Musyaffa found himself in a tank slapper and spun-off in Turn 10 following the uphill climb. As a result, race marshals waved the red flag over the session due to safety concerns, and the race timer was halted until the danger passed and Muizz was brought to safety.



At 11.15am, race officials gave the green light for the session to resume. However Indonesia’s Presley Martono spun out and stalled coming out of Turn 1. He too was promptly recovered and the session continued.



Timothy Yeo meanwhile was busy clocking the fastest time of the session with a 2.37.026. However that didn’t last long as an increasingly-confident Muizz Musyaffa started finding his pace and clocked in a 2.35.927 shortly thereafter. The Malaysian driver’s time narrowly beat the more experienced Kane Shepherd by just a sixth of a second.



With just 60 seconds left on the countdown, Muizz not only topped the timing board but also managed to shave off 0.2 of second. However his reign was not to last, as – at the eleventh hour - Kane Shepherd blasted through the chequered flag with a time of 2.35.298.



As it stands, Kane Shepherd is in pole position for the first race due to start at 12:50 today, followed by Malaysians Muizz Musyaffa and Timothy Yeo in second and third respectively.

 


Race 1




As the five red lights went out, Kane Shepherd had a great start off the line alongside Muizz, Timothy and Luke. As the field cleanly negotiated Turn 1, it was Thailand’s Kane Shepherd in the lead. As the track began to dry up, the drivers began to find more confidence to push themselves and their machines.



As the second lap came around, Kane held his lead while Presley Martono managed to climb up to second, relegating Muizz – who lost his pace - to fifth. French-national Alessandro Ghiretti climbed up past Timothy Yeo to claim third.



By the fourth lap Martono started closing the gap. He eventually overtook Kane and started pulling away. On lap five the Indonesian was 2.491 seconds ahead of 2017 Rookie Champion, Kane Shepherd. Ghiretti, meanwhile, had Kane in his sights but struggled to find the grip to catch him.



Midfield, Alister Yoong, Kubo Masataka and Ryo Komikado were busy fighting it out. Yoong was the first to find his confidence and started to pull away from the Japanese duo.



Up ahead, Ghiretti managed to take on the race leader from third place and successfully snatched up the lead on the seventh lap. The eighth lap saw Muizz return to second with Kane in third. Presley meanwhile had lost his footing and fell to fourth.



Not to be outdone, Presley clawed his way past Kane to take third on the final lap. The duo fought hard for third, Kane even locking up his brakes going into multiple corners just to fend off Presley’s advances.



As the chequered flag waved, it was Frenchman Ghiretti who took the win in the premier race of the 2018 F4 SEA Championship. Malaysia’s Muizz Musyaffa and Thailand’s Kane Shepherd took home second and third respectively.
 


Race 2



As soon as the red lights went out it was D’Agostino who led the field down the straight into the first corner. The competition behind was relentless but Adam put up a good fight to keep his position, with the Japanese duo keeping up the pace behind the Canadian. Throughout, the mid-fielders danced and swapped positions in fine style.



As the cars passed the start/finish line for the first time, Presley Martono took the lead in the second race of the premier event, followed by Luke Thompson and Kane Shepherd in second and third. Adam d’Agostino sadly dropped down to fifth.



By the second lap, Presley was over a second faster than his second place rival, Luke. In the mid-field however, Ryo Komikado took Turn 6 too vigorously and spun off, but kept his cool and immediately re-joined the action.



The gap continued to widen as the top four racers pulled away from each other. Presley was 3.599 seconds ahead of Thompson while Ghiretti was over a second behind. But in racing, anything can happen. With drier track conditions and improving confidence levels, the young dare devils were beginning to shrink the gap.



As the sixth lap rolled by, Presley Martono was over six seconds ahead of the field. Kane Shepherd and Luke Thompson were wheel-to-wheel, until Ghiretti caught up and managed to snatch second place from Thompson.



Muizz Musyaffa meanwhile was totally preoccupied with his battle for fifth against compatriot Timothy Yeo, with a difference of just a third of a second. By the ninth lap, with the front-runners bunched up together as they headed towards Turn 1, Ghiretti mounted an attack and successfully took the lead away from Presley.



Incredibly, by the last lap, Ghiretti, Martono, Shepherd and Thompson were practically inches away from each other. As they passed the chequered flag, It was Ghiretti who once again took the win here in Sepang followed by Shepherd and Thompson. Martono settled for fourth in this intense scrimmage for the flag.



However a steward’s inquiry found Ghiretti to have jumped the start and he was subsequently given a 10 second penalty, making Kane Shepherd the winner with Luke Thompson and Presley Martono in second and third. Alessandro’s penalty dropped him down to sixth place.
 



Race 3



With the winning grid reversed, Ryo Komikado was the man in pole position for the final race of the weekend. Lining up behind him were Adam D’Agostino and Kubo Masataka, both of whom have fought hard this weekend for glory.



As the red lights blinked out for the last time this weekend, it was Canada’s Adam D’Agostino who charged off the line and led the pack down the straight, however he lost his position by going wide in the first corner. Timothy Yeo meanwhile spun as he negotiated the same corner, but promptly re-joined the race.



It seems lightning does strike twice. Alessandro Ghiretti pushed hard and was rewarded with the lead, ahead of Presley Martono. The duo managed to pip the Canadian who defended his third place position valiantly. However Kane Shepherd, Luke Thompson and Muizz Musyaffa all managed to get past new-comer Adam.



The fourth lap saw Presley come out ahead of Alessandro. Luke, some 8.1 seconds behind the duo, found himself having to defend his position against Muizz and Kane. Adam on the other hand steadily improved his lap times while defending his position from Kubo and compatriot Ryo.



In sixth place was Alister Yoong who began to find his pace and started encroaching on Kane for the fifth spot. As the eighth lap rolled around, the field was rather spaced out, with the exception of Kane and Muizz who had been battling each other since the red lights went out.



The duo’s battle only intensified as the lap count plummeted. After swapping positions in turns 11, 12, and 13, it was Kane Shepherd who managed to steal fourth position. Presley meanwhile was leading the field by 6.934 seconds.



The chequered flag eventually waved Indonesia’s Presley Martono the winner of the third and final race of the premier event of 2018 Championship. Alessandro Ghiretti and Luke Thompson settled for second and third.



What an exciting kick-off to the Championship as these junior racers gave it their best. The Formula 4 South East Asia Championship returns the following week supporting the prestigious Malaysian Championship Series (MCS) from the 13th to 15th of July 2018.



For more information on the first event and the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship, please visit https://formula4.asia/ .





Race 1

Alessandro Ghiretti (R)    24:51.817    2:14.231
Muizz Musyaffa (R)    24:54.427    2:13.977
Kane Shepherd    25:00.961    2:15.093
Timothy Yeo    25:01.025    2:14.903
Presley Martono    25:01.080    2:13.869
Luke Thompson    25:02.077    2:14.792
Alister Yoong (R)    25:18.601    2:16.474
Kubo Masataka (R)    25:33.234    2:17.570
Ryo Komikado (R)    25:35.117    2:17.510
Adam D'Agostino    26:05.570    2:20.248
 




Race 2


Kane Shepherd    25:13.174    2:15.514
Luke Thompson    25:13.468    2:16.258
Presley Martono    25:13.730    2:15.145
Timothy Yeo    25:16.627    2:15.854
Muizz Musyaffa (R)    25:17.054    2:15.744
Alessandro Ghiretti (R)    25:22.041    2:15.517
Alister Yoong (R)    25:28.072    2:16.889
Kubo Masataka (R)    25:50.712    2:19.553
Adam D'Agostino    26:02.460    2:20.338
Ryo Komikado (R)    26:28.479    2:18.732
 



Race 3



Presley Martono    25:06.936    2:15.232
Alessandro Ghiretti (R)    25:13.967    2:16.259
Luke Thompson    25:18.027    2:16.023
Kane Shepherd    25:22.997    2:16.068
Muizz Musyaffa (R)    25:24.569    2:16.185
Alister Yoong (R)    25:33.147    2:17.014
Kubo Masataka (R)    25:46.715    2:18.163
Adam D'Agostino    25:48.130    2:18.164
Ryo Komikado (R)    25:57.884    2:19.454
Timothy Yeo    25:59.775    2:16.419


 

- Aaron Thompson - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/wild-formula-4-sea-kick-off-sepang---178462.html

08.07.2018 / MaP

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