Amazing F4  SEA Racing Action in Sepang

Amazing F4 SEA Racing Action in Sepang

15.07.2018: The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – fueled by Petron – has had an incredible weekend of racing courtesy of some of the best developing drivers in the region and beyond.


The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) Championship – fueled by Petron – has had an incredible weekend of racing courtesy of some of the best developing drivers in the region and beyond. The FIA-certified Championship was supporting the Malaysian Championship Series here at the beautiful Sepang International Circuit.

 

 

Participating in the championship for the first time was young Antoine Potty who hails from Hamoir, Belgium. Joining him on track were old hands such as Kane Shepherd, Alessandro Ghiretti, Muizz Musyaffa, Luke Thompson, Adam D’Agostino and Liam Lawrence.



 The second event of the 2018 championship was subjected to ever-changing tropical weather here in Sepang. That said, let’s take a look at the action from the weekend.
 




Free Practice



The green flashing light at the pit exit signalled the start of the official Free Practice. Malaysia’s unpredictable weather began playing its hand on the session. Some sectors of the track were experiencing cooler temperatures due to rapidly shifting clouds while the northern parts of the circuit were sunny.



Drivers were able to clock faster sector times where the sun warmed up the tarmac. As they approached the cooler parts of the circuit, grip was harder to find.



Predictably, the more experienced of the line-up were able to clock in faster times such as Muizz Musyaffa and Kane Shepherd who clocked 2:15.390 and 2:15.989 respectively, while the rookies of the grid struggled somewhat. Adam D’Agostino meanwhile was making excellent progress with sub 2 minute 20 second times.



However it was heavyweight Championship contender, Alessandro Ghiretti who managed the fastest time of the session; clocking in a best time of 2:15.069. Ghiretti set the pace for the weekend.
 





Qualifying



Without delay, Adam D’Agostino was one of the first few to take to the 5.543km long track. Usual suspects Muizz Musyaffa, Kane Shepherd, Alessandro Ghiretti and Luke Thompson were out on field clocking brilliant times.



Shepherd and co. quickly beat the fastest time set in free practice. But with receding sunlight, the drivers, including speedy newcomer Antoine Potty from Belgium, had to throw down the hammer and go for it.



As the timer ticked, they gave it their all, culminating in Kane Shepherd taking the top spot of the session, securing pole position for Race 1 with a time of 2:14.713. Malaysia’s Muizz Musyaffa was second.



At the eleventh hour - Alessandro Ghiretti managed to overthrow Luke Thompson from his hard-earned third spot, as he clocked a blistering time of 2:14.911. Speedy Potty, meanwhile, was just a tenth of second behind Thompson and ultimately settled for fifth on the starting grid.
 




Race 1

 


With the drivers lined up on the grid, it was lights out here in Sepang! Kane Shepherd had a great start off the line, Alessandro Ghiretti took Muizz for second at the end of turn 2. Luke Thompson was fighting to defend his fourth position from fast-encroaching competitors Aidan Wright and Antoine Potty.



After the second lap, in his eagerness to take second from Ghiretti, Muizz Musyaffa spun coming out of Turn 2. Young Timothy Yeo mis-negotiated Turn 11 and was caught in the kitty litter but recovered quickly to re-join the action.



Upfront, a fierce battle for third was brewing between Potty and Thompson who were practically nose-to-nose with each other going down the main straight into Turn 1. In the end, Potty pipped Thompson for third.



Race leader Kane Shepherd fought hard to keep speedy Ghiretti in second, and started to widen the bridge between them. By the ninth lap they were some 2.38 seconds apart. The duo in front were over 11.3 seconds ahead of Potty and 14 seconds away from Thompson. That said Potty, Thompson and Wright were three wide going through Turn 15. No change in positions was recorded.



The chequered flag waved Kane Shepherd as the victor of the first race of Event 2 here in Sepang with a best time of 2:14.943. Ghiretti and Potty both joined the Thai racer on the podium while Luke Thompson, Muizz Musyaffa and Aidan Wright settled for fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
 




Race 2

 


With the winning grid from Race 1 completely reversed, Canada’s Adam D’Agostino found himself in pole position followed by Timothy Yeo and Liam Lawrence. They took their starting positions below the four red lights.



And they were off! Adam led the pack down the field but Timothy behind him found the pace and took the Canadian at the first corner. As the field went past Turn 3, Aidan Wright and Muizz Musyaffa overtook Adam as well.



Thompson too was charging fast, however the Irishman spun off in the heat of battle. As the drivers negotiated Turn 15, D’Agostino lost his grip and spun off aswell but recovered immediately and rejoined the race in seventh place.



Up ahead it was Timothy Yeo who was in the lead by almost a full second ahead of compatriot Muizz Musyaffa. However speedy French-national Alessandro Ghiretti was chasing hard for second. Kane Shepherd and Aidan Wright too were inches away from each other, going neck and neck down into turn 1; Kane made it to the corner first.



By the fifth lap Timothy, Muizz and Alessandro were locked in a fierce battle for the lead. The trio swapped positions constantly but Ghiretti took the lead with Muizz who was inches away.



Timothy fell back a tenth, which meant he was embroiled in a new three-way fight with Kane and Aidan. The Thai lad ultimately took the lead in that battle, resigning Aidan to fight with Antoine Potty who had quickly risen up from the mid-field.



Muizz and Alessandro’s epic duel for the lead had become the focus of the race as they swapped positions back and forth, diving into corners and locking up their brakes in their efforts to keep pace.



However in the heat of the moment, Muizz lost his footing and spun off just before entering the back straight thus gifting the lead to the Frenchman.  A crushing blow for the Malaysian.



By the last lap, with Kane in second place and catching up to the leader, the fight was on. One last time these two gladiators battled for the flag. But Alessandro was just too quick and took the chequered flag with a best time of 2:15.552. Belgium’s Antoine Potty joined the speedy duo on the podium.



 The seventh-place starter fought hard and valiantly amid tough competition –a victory he is sure to savour.
 



Race 3

 

With the formational lap done and dusted, it was the battle of the pinks up front! Liam Lawrence and Luke Thompson get off to a flying start. Adam D’Agostino kept up the pressure too from third place. The field filed down the first half-dozen corners brilliantly constantly swapping positions.



As the starting grid was completely reversed from Race 2, Kane Shepherd and Alessandro Ghiretti started from the back of the grid, but did not stay there for long. With a series of expert manoeuvres around the mid-field, Ghiretti was able to carve his way to second, bypassing Thompson, Lawrence and Timothy Yeo.



By the third lap, Ghiretti had snapped up the lead with Thompson and a very fast approaching Musyaffa in tow. Shepherd meanwhile was clawing his way up and had his eye on the third spot, while Antoine Potty was showing remarkable progress had inched his way to fifth.



Two laps later, the heat was definitely turned up. Ghiretti was in the lead with Muizz and Kane chasing hard, followed by yet another battle for fourth as Yeo, Aidan Wright and Potty threw down the hammer and went for it.



At Turn 10, Ghiretti was forced to retire, thus gifting Musyaffa the lead with Shepherd and Potty behind him. Out on track, Kane was pressing Musyaffa; Potty meanwhile was busy defending his position from Malaysia’s Timothy Yeo. Liam Lawrence spun coming out of Turn 14 but quickly recovered and re-joined in ninth.



With just two laps left, Muizz was starting to widen the gap between himself and Shepherd; the duo were more than eight seconds ahead of Potty. With the sun coming out from under its covers, the drivers had more confidence to push their machines harder.



Muizz hung on to his precious lead even with Kane pushing hard, and was rewarded with his first win of the weekend with a best time of 2:16.165. Kane and Potty joined the winners. Wright, Yeo and Thompson settled  for fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
 


The amazing action of the Formula 4 South East Asia will return as the Championship visits the amazing sub-continent of India for its next double-header at the Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai.



For more information on the Championship and all race results from the weekend, please visit http://formula4.asia . Alternatively please visit our official facebook page to re-live the heart-racing moments from the season and for future updates.



- Aaron Thompson - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/f4-sea-racing-action-sepang---178752.html

15.07.2018 / MaP

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