The first event of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship – fueled by Petron – saw 10 cars take to the grid of the Sepang Circuit on this overcast Sunday morning, supporting the ever-popular Malaysian Speed Festival.
In the qualifying round, Kane Shepherd shot to the top of the leader board as he clocked the fastest time around the 5.543km long ‘super circuit’. Meanwhile Malaysia’s Muizz Musyaffa was close by and managed a sterling pace.
Filling up the third and fourth spots on the grid were Timothy Yeo and Luke Thompson. The field headed out for their formation lap and prepared themselves for the scrimmage ahead.
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, relating 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. By the fifth lap, 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 in 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.
What an exciting kick-off to the Championship as these junior racers gave it their all! The second race of the weekend will be shown Live at 14:50 hours and will broadcast via:
http://fiaf4.asia/2018_event-1_race-2_fb_live . For live timings please visit https://livetiming.getraceresults.com/sepang?nomobile=true#screen-results .