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The packed schedule for the final event of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship kicked off in the early hours with the final free practice session of the season on Saturday.

The session belonged to Indonesia’s Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) who was able to make the most of the cooler track conditions to post the quickest time of the session.

After a short breather, the young drivers were back strapped into their cars for the qualifying. Martono once again dominated the session topping the timesheet with a 2.11.563s to claim the prime spot on the grid in pole for Race 1. Coming in second was Singaporean ace, Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) who clocked in with a 2:11.751s for a front row start in P2. Bolstered by being on home soil, Malaysian youngster Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) was third quickest with his 2:12.096s effort.

The first of four scheduled races at noon promised an exciting affair with the main protagonists in the running with Martono starting ahead of Frost and Isyraf Danish. That race would however see an unfortunate collision between Martono and Frost at the start that would end both drivers’ races early on. Having inherited the lead as a result, it was the Malaysian Isyraf Danish who would romp home to an emphatic win, with compatriot Eric Louis coming home in second position to make it a double celebration for the host nation. Coming home in third was Kahia ahead of Khalid Al- Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) and Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33).

With the dust barely settling after the first race, the drivers were back in their cars for the second race of the day in the early afternoon. In what proved to be a superb recovery drive following his non-finish in the first race, the accolades went to Martono who edged out Kahia after a action-filled 8-lap race. Finishing the race in third place after a hard-fought battle was Race 1 winner, Isyraf Danish following a captivating sprint to the finish line against Frost. Rounding off the top-five was Eric Louis.

The packed schedule again saw a quick turnaround for the drivers as they returned to their cars for Race 3 not long after concluding Race 2. With grid positions determined by the drivers’ finishing positions from the previous race, Race 3 also had the added twist of a reversed grid for the top half. After a superb start, it was the Singaporean Danial Frost who snatched victory reversing his misfortunes from a non-finish in Race 1. Finishing in second following a tough defensive drive was Martono who just edged out Isyraf Danish in what was a photo-finish to the chequered flag. Oman’s Al-Wahaibi took fourth place ahead of Akash Gowda of India.

The fourth race of the day would also provide plenty of action throughout the 10-lap affair. Coming home with his second win of the day was Martono who had to work hard to defend the position right up to the end from Isyraf Danish, who had to settle for second after an epic sprint to the chequered flag. In third place was Kahia ahead of Frost in P4 with Al-Wahaibi rounding off the top five drivers.

The final day of F4/SEA FIA got underway on Sunday with the two remaining races from the six that were scheduled for the event.

The fifth race would have the same theme as the previous day’s races with action right from the get go. With grid positions determined by the drivers’ fastest lap times from the previous race, the pole position start would belong to Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19), while Saturday’s double winner Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) alongside in P2.

The 8-lap race would prove another exciting affair throughout with battles that included a fight for the lead between Martono and Isyraf Danish and a battle for the final podium spot between Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) and India’s Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33). After another photo-finish, it was Martono who would prevail over Isyraf with the victory keeping Isyraf Danish at bay in P2. Finishing in third was Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66), who edged Gowda to the line.

The sixth and final race of the weekend was also the final race of the season. With the grid determined by the drivers’ finishing positions from the previous race, there was again an added twist with the top half of the grid reversed. That meant a pole position start for Oman’s Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) ahead of Gowda and Frost. Proving to be the most intense race of the lot, the drama-filled race was won by Gowda who managed to turn around what had been a difficult weekend for the young Indian ace. After taking the lead from Al-Wahaibi on the opening lap, Gowda never looked back as he claimed the win. Al-Wahaibi finished in stellar second position after seeing off the challenge from other drivers in the early stages of the race. Claiming another third place finish was Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish who made it a great weekend with six podium finishes from the six races contested.

In addition to the race win he collected in Race 1, the young Malaysian was also crowned the Petron Star Driver of the sixth and final event of the F4/SEA championship.

Securing inaugural championship honours was Presley Martono, with Faine Kahia and Akash Gowda securing second and third respectively. Martono also scooped the Rookie laurels ahead of Isyraf Danish and Khalid Al Wahaibi.

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Event 5 of the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship – certified by FIA, came to a conclusion this weekend with two more days of action in Thailand.

The drivers were back in action in another bumper-packed schedule of racing on Saturday.

Kicking off the proceedings with the third race of the weekend, the honours belonged to Indonesia’s Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) who shone in the early morning race with a resounding victory over Singapore’s Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) and local hero Worawong Komarakul (THA, Car #7) who finished third. The race also proved a happy hunting ground for Malaysia’s Eric Louis (MAS, Car #23) who finished a strong fourth.

The second race of the day and fourth of the weekend, belonged to Kiwi Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) claiming his second win of the weekend ahead of Frost and Oman’s Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8). Local favourite Komarakul finished fourth with F4/SEA debutant Daniel Hibbitt (CHN, Car #25) with a strong fifth place finish.

Meanwhile, the accolades for Race 5 belonged to Martono with a second win of the day reversing his misfortunes in Race 4. Finishing behind him was the Kiwi Kahia who despite struggling with mechanical issues managed to bring his car home in second ahead of India’s Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33). The young Indian’s result also came on the back of difficulties in the earlier races. The Malaysian contingent also had a strong outing with Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) also reversing his misfortunes from the previous race to finish in fourth ahead of compatriot Eric Louis.

Sunday featured an early start for the young guns as they prepared for the final two races of the weekend.

Accolades for sixth race early on Sunday morning belonged to Indonesian Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) who notched up a hard-earned win ahead of New Zealand’s Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) and India’s Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33), the latter earning his second trip to the podium for the weekend. Singapore’s Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) finished fourth, edging out Thai driver, Worawong Komarakul (THA, Car #7).

The seventh and final race of the weekend, which was held as the replacement for the one postponed following the typhoon at the second event (Clark International Speedway) last October proved to be the most intense. Having already collected the winner’s trophy in Race 6, Martono would make a return trip to the top of the podium with another hard-fought win.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) finally reaped the rewards of his impressive pace over the course of the weekend with an inspiring second place finish behind the Indonesian. Rounding off the podium was Frost who managed to overcome a difficult start to the race to finish in the bronze medal position. Fourth place went to Gowda who also faced difficulties in the high-attrition race, edging out Kahia who rounded off the top five.

With two race wins and three second place finishes, New Zealand’s Kahia was also crowned the Fuji Xerox Star Driver Award as the Event 5 overall champion. Frost came in overall second following his one race win and four podium finishes. Martono’s three wins was enough to secure him third overall for the event.

With the conclusion of Event 5 at the Buriram United International Circuit in Thailand, the F4/SEA will head south of the border two weeks from now for the final event of the season from 20 -22 January 2017 at Sepang.

Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) Winner Race 6, Winner Race, 3rd Overall Fuji Xerox Star Driver Award for Event 5: “The last race of the weekend was very very hard because at the start I had a tough fight on my hands against Akash (Gowda). That battle lost me a lot of time. By the time I managed to overtake Akash, I had a big task to catch Khalid (Al-Wahaibi), who was very hard to overtake. I did manage to get him, but I had to defend for almost two laps. Towards the end, Isyraf (Danish) also started to close in and I really had to push as hard as possible to make sure I had enough of a gap to him.

“Overall, this has been a good weekend. To finish overall third for the Fuji Xerox Star Driver of the event is really great, this despite the problems I was facing earlier in the week.”

Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) P2 Race 6, Overall Winner Fuji Xerox Star Driver Award for Event 5: “Again, I was suffering with a small issue with the car, which made it a bit difficult to drive. Overall, I am really happy with my start, as I was able to push myself up a few spots and catch Eric to challenge for the race lead. But then Presley (Martono) caught up to me and after that we had a really good battle. We both kept it clean and raced responsibly. I am happy to make it to the podium again.

I’m really happy to have come away from the weekend as the overall winner and take home the Star Driver Award. It’s definitely great for the championship, plus it is my first time for me! I am very very happy! Looking forward to Sepang, let’s hope we can repeat the success!”

Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) – P3 Race 7, 2nd Overall Fuji Xerox Star Driver Award for Event 5: “I really struggled with pace in Race 7 and am a little disappointed with that. But I was a bit lucky that the safety car came out and I was right behind Akash (Gowda) at the restart and I was able to overtake him for the position.

“To be honest, I was not expecting to finish anywhere near contending for the Star Driver Award for the event, but I am happy with where I finished. Now we will push for the last event of the season at Sepang in two weeks’ time.”

Peter Thompson, Chairman, Triple A: “It has definitely been a challenging weekend for a lot of these young drivers, in addition to having to learn and familiarise themselves with a new circuit. There has been a lot of learning for the young drivers with a lot of close racing on track. That sets us up for what could potentially be an exciting finale to the inaugural season of the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship. We are really looking forward to bring the first ever season to a close at the Sepang International Circuit, the venue where we kicked the season off, six months ago.

Firhat Mokhzani, Managing Director, Triple A: “Undoubtedly a difficult and challenging outing for some of the drivers this weekend but by the same token an excellent one of learning for these young drivers. The drivers - including those new to the championship, made huge and significant improvements as evidenced by how close everyone was and the pace they were able to demonstrate as well as their race craft. It has definitely provided us with a lot of close and interesting racing. The drivers’ growth and improvement really sets us up for what is going to be an interesting sprint to the finish in Sepang in two weeks’ time.”

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After completing five events in its inaugural season, the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship – certified by FIA now approaches the final stretch with the sixth and final event of the season. The season finale at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is scheduled to take place from 21-22 January 2017.

Featuring another bumper-packed schedule over two days, the season finale will see the young drivers compete in six more races. The final event will also see the drivers vie for maximum points for the honour of being crowned the Fuji Xerox Star Driver of the final event and, more importantly, the first ever F4/SEA Overall Champion.

Also up for grabs are the F4/SEA Overall Rookie Champion crown and the coveted FIA Super License points that will be awarded to the top seven drivers in the championship, essential for progression up the single-seater pyramid to the pinnacle of motor racing.

Returning to a circuit the young drivers are familiar with, the 5.543km long highly technical Sepang International Circuit will once again test their skills and endurance, particularly in the hot and humid conditions. Hoping to capitalise on home ground advantage are two young home favourites, Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) and Eric Louis (MAS, Car #23) who will be flying the Malaysian flag or Jalur Gemilang.

Coming full circle back in Malaysia after an epic season that kicked off at Sepang last August, the F4/SEA has travelled over 10,000km from its Malaysian starting and finishing points to include events in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.

Peter Thompson, Chairman, Triple A: “It is incredible that we have come to this final point in the inaugural season of the F4/SEA. It feels like we just launched it but already we have travelled to Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, on top of the three events including this final event right here at Sepang. It has been an incredible first season, with these young drivers showing us incredible promise and a glimpse into what the motor sports’ future generation looks like especially through our continuous and ongoing efforts to develop a truly Asian motor sport eco-system!”

Firhat Mokhzani, Managing Director, Triple A: “Since the very first event way back in August, these young drivers have continued to grow, develop and really mature as drivers, as evidenced in their race-craft, the pace and overall competitiveness. It is quite fitting to come back to Sepang, where it all began for these young drivers and measure their incredible progress, something they should be extremely proud of. I know I am!”

The final event of the season will be preceded by a pre-event collective test ahead of the race weekend’s programme. The event’s proceedings will commence on Saturday, 21 January with practice, qualifying and four races. The event will draw to a conclusion on Sunday 22 January with the final two races of the season.

Unlike previous events, the F4/SEA Overall Champion and F4/SEA Overall Rookie champion titles will be awarded later on Sunday evening at the Meritus AAA Awards Gala night also at the Sepang International Circuit.

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Held at the 4.554km Buriram United International Circuit in Thailand, the fifth event of the inaugural Formula 4 South East Asia Championship began today (6 January) with free practice and qualifying in the morning with two races in the afternoon. The morning session witnessed New Zealand’s Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) who edged the field during the practice, but it was Malaysia’s Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19) who stole the limelight in qualifying. The Malaysian youngster was on an impressive form being the only driver to clock a time under the 1:42 minute mark with the quickest time in the session en route to a pole position.

The first race would however belong to Singapore’s Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) who took the honours in the morning’s Race 1, while it was Kahia who made an emphatic Comeback after being denied the win in Race 1 to emerge victorious in the late afternoon’s Race 2.

Saturday will see three more races contested with the final two scheduled for the weekend billed for Sunday morning.

Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55), Winner Race 2, P2 Race 1: “I managed a really great start in Race 1. The mission was to make the most of my reaction time especially at the start and it went exactly as I had planned it and managed to stay in the lead. Isyraf tried to overtake me and we did come together, and after that I had a bit of vibration. Fortunately I managed to keep the pace consistent all the way to the end. Unfortunately, after the race I was called to the stewards and I was given a penalty for an infringement in the race. But that fired me up for the second race.

Starting from pole position in the second race, again I had a really good start and managed to lead from the lights. I was a bit worried about getting another penalty, as they are quite strict here, so forhalf of the race that was what was on my mind. But I had a really good pace and was consistent.”

Danial Frost (SIN, Car #66) P2 Race 2, Winner Race 1: “I am really quite happy with the pace I had in the race as Faine (Kahia) and I were able to pull out quite a comfortable lead to third. My focus was to maintain the consistency and only pushed as much as I needed to. I tried to catch Faine but I did make a few mistakes, which allowed him to pull away. But then after the post-race inquiry, I was given the win in the race. I was much happier as my pace was much better in Race 2 as we were on new tyres. I was able to maintain a similar pace to Faine, even though Khalid (Al-Wahaibi) managed to catch me and close in. But Faine was really consistent and quick, but I am happy.”

Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) P3 and Rookie Winner Race 1: “I had a really good start and managed to go up to P4 on lap 1. I also managed to catch the leaders as my pace was getting better and did move up into P3. I also had a really good fight with Akash (Gowda) and he did get ahead of me a few times, but in the end I was able to defend the position.”

Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) P3 and Rookie Winner Race 2: “It feels great to be on the podium and it feels really good to be back especially since my last podium was at Clark (Philippines), I did not have a good event in Sentul (Indonesia) and did not have the pace with some of the more experienced drivers at Sepang since it was my first time there in December. It feels good and coming here and getting used to the track. I had a good pace in Race 1 finishing in P4 and improved to P3 in Race 2.”