Event 2 Day 2: Cabrera, Martono and Kahia shine despite typhoon rains at Clark
Kuala Lumpur / Pampanga, 16 October 2016 – The second day of proceedings at the second event of the Formula 4 South East Asia (F4/SEA) Championship – certified by FIA at the Clark International Speedway commenced on Sunday with the remaining four races from the six scheduled. The final day was however dictated by the torrential downpour with the circuit at the mercy of a passing typhoon affecting the area. This resulted in the drivers having to negotiate the difficult wet conditions for the remainder of the six races.
Despite the challenging conditions, it was the local hero Gabriel Cabrera (PHI, Car #51) who prevailed to claim his first race victory on his debut in the F4/SEA championship in the early morning race.
With the rain continuing unabated, the fourth race belonged to Indonesian Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) who made good on his pace to clinch his first race win of the season. Two-time winner from Saturday, Akash Gowda was in second ahead of Kiwi Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55).
The accolades for the day’s fifth race belonged to Kahia who outwitted the competition with a superb start and successfully fended off the challenge from Martono who settled for second and home favourite Cabrera in third. The sixth and final race was postponed due to the worsening conditions, and will be rescheduled.
With two race wins and a podium finish to his name, the Petron Star Driver Award for Event 2 of the F4/SEA Championship was awarded to India’s Akash Gowda.
Race 3 (10 Laps)
With grid positions determined from their race positions from the previous race and the top half reversed, Sunday morning’s Race 3 saw New Zealand’s Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55) start from pole position ahead of Malaysia’s Chia Wing Hoong (MAS, Car #68), Cabrera and Martono in second, third and fourth places, respectively. The downpour did little to dampen spirits as home favourite Cabrera got off to a storming start in the wet conditions to jump into the lead into the first sequence of corners.
The continued deluge did however catch several drivers out, forcing officials to deploy the safety car for the remainder of the shortened race. As a result, the drivers remained in their positions through to the end with Cabrera claiming his first race win ahead of Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) – who had also benefited from a good start, and Angie King (PHI, Car #12) of the Philippines.
Race 4 (11 laps)
With grid positions for Race 4 determined by the drivers’ second fastest qualifying time, it was Indonesian Presley Martono (INA, Car #32) who locked out the front spot on the starting grid. Lining alongside him was India’s Mohammed Nalwalla (IND, Car #46). On the second row were Kahia and Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33) with Cabrera and Al-Wahaibi occupying the third row.
With yet another wet race on the cards, the mid-morning race conditions proved difficult for the pole sitter who had a poor start and dropped down the order to P4 in the run to the first corner. He was able to recover and regain a position not long after to run in podium contention running in second position behind race-leader Al-Wahaibi. Another enthralling battle was also beginning to brew between Cabrera and Race 2 winner Gowda, with the Indian prevailing.
By the end of the first lap, the safety car was deployed when Malaysian Chia Wing Hoong lost control of his car into the main straight and stopped by the side of the track. With the resumption of the race on the third lap, it did not take long for the leading group of five drivers to pull ahead of the rest of the field with Al-Wahaibi ahead of Martono, Gowda, Kahia and Cabrera up to the mid-way point of the race. An unfortunate error for Al-Wahaibi saw him go off-track and retire while in the lead, gifting the lead of the 13-lap race to Martono.
Before long, the new race leader Martono and Gowda were able to pull out a gap to Kahia and Cabrera, with the latter embroiled in a fascinating duel for the final spot on the podium for several laps. In the closing stages of the race it with Gowda who began threatening Martono’s lead though the Indonesian was able to respond, eventually crossing the line for his first race win of the season. Gowda settled for second ahead of Kahia. Cabrera finished fourth ahead of Malaysian Isyraf Danish (MAS, Car #19).
Race 5 (10 laps)
With the drivers’ fastest lap from Race 4 determining the starting line-up for another wet Race 5, it was Cabrera in pole position with Kahia, Gowda, Martono, Isyraf and Al-Wahaibi in second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth positions on the grid, respectively.
A superb start from Kahia and Martono saw the pair jump the pole-sitter Cabrera, pushing him into the clutches of a tight three-way battle-royale for third with Al-Wahaibi and Gowda. The torrid conditions did little to dampen the on-track battles, which remained tight throughout the first half of the race. The fight for third saw Gowda make several attempts to gain a position over Al-Wahaibi before eventually taking P4 from the Omani at the mid-way point. The move allowed the faster Gowda to make up ground on Cabrera in third. The positions remained unchanged right through to the closing stages of the race when conditions began to worsen.
With the rain getting heavier, race officials decided to red-flag the race with three laps remaining, giving Kahia his first race win of the season, ahead of Martono and Cabrera. Despite his best efforts, Gowda had to settle for fourth ahead of Al-Wahaibi and Isyraf.
Race 6 (10 laps)
The grid for the sixth and final race of the weekend was determined by the results from the previous race with the top half the grid reversed. Though the drivers did go to the grid for the race, the conditions had worsened considerably that the race officials decided to abandon and reschedule the race to the forthcoming third event.
Angie King (PHI, Car #12), P3 Race 3
“It’s great to be up here on the podium, which was quite unexpected especially in these difficult conditions. So, I kept my cool and decided to take it easy, and keep it together to the end. I am really happy!!”
Khalid Al-Wahaibi (OMN, Car #8) P2, Race 3
“Although we had a wet Race 2 yesterday, it was definitely harder today. So the focus was to stay calm, and yesterday’s result really boosted my confidence. I also had to focus on getting a good start and I was able to move up from P7 up to P4. There were also a lot of incidents involving other drivers but I managed to maintain my pace. All I thought about was to finish and not to push too hard and am happy to come home with second position.”
Gabriel Cabrera (PHI, Car #51), P1, Race 3, P3 Race 5
“To be honest, I was a bit scared running in this track in this condition. My only other experience was in Race 2 yesterday. So the focus was on the start and trying my best. I do like driving in the rain, I prefer it actually! So I managed to keep calm especially when I saw the others spinning off.”
“I started in pole position for Race 5 but I did not have such a great start as I had a lot of wheel spin and dropped down to P5. I tried to recover and managed to get back up to P3 and from that point I kept my head down to try and finish with another podium.”
Faine Kahia (NZL, Car #55), Winner Race 5, P3 Race 4
“Finally! I am super stoked with getting this win! I have been waiting for a long time for this! I had a great start from P2 into the lead and tried to maintain a consistent pace and push as hard as I could while maintaining the gap to Presley (Martono). There were a couple of moments when Presley managed to close up on me, one of them was when I went a bit too deep into one of the corners and went wide and that let him close in on me. But I managed to hold it together, after that I kept my head down and keep the lead through to the end.
“In Race 3, I started in P3 and managed to overtake several guys at the start. The plan was to bring it home and that was my main focus, even though a few people overtook me. I am happy I managed to stay with the leaders, but in my view with conditions this difficult, it would be best to play it safe.”
Presley Martono (INA, Car #32), Winner Race 4, P2 Race 5
“I am really happy to finally get my first win in the Formula 4 South East Asia Championship. There were a lot of difficult challenges, especially in these really tricky weather conditions. At the same time, it was a lot of learning opportunities for me to find my limit in these challenging conditions. I did not have a good start and did fall behind but was able to find the rhythm and managed to make my way back up. There were a lot of intense moments when Akash (Gowda) tried to overtake me and when I tried to overtake Khalid. Unfortunately, he made a mistake and that allowed me to take the lead. After that, I had to defend from Akash, and am glad to finish on top!”
“For once this weekend, I had a good start in Race 5, but Faine (Kahia) had a much better start. I thought about making a move but I also did not want to risk it. I did catch Faine but he closed the door on me. After that the conditions started to get quite bad. I am happy with P2 considering that I did not want to take big risks when the rain started to get heavy.”
Akash Gowda (IND, Car #33), P2 Race 4, Petron Star Driver Award for Event 2 Winner
“What an amazing weekend this has been for me! Admitted the conditions were really difficult with the heavy rains! I do enjoy racing in the rain but it was very difficult this weekend and very unpredictable. Overall I am really happy with the result, two wins and a podium in Race 4. In Race 4, I tried several times to close in on Presley (Martono) but he proved a difficult man to overtake! It was a really good race though. I would like to thank my coaches, the team and dedicate this to my dad who was here with me this weekend.”
Peter Thompson, Chairman Triple A
“A fantastic end to a great Event 2 here at the Clark International Speedway here in the Philippines. It was a huge success as the drivers really gave 110%. Although we were affected by the typhoon, racing in the rain also gives a chance for the drivers to gain valuable experience in these tricky conditions preparing for their futures. It was overall a great weekend with great support from the media and everyone involved.”
Firhat Mokhzani, Managing Director Triple A
“Overall it has been a successful weekend. Although the weather really threw the spanner into the works, on the positive side, the drivers did get a chance to develop their race craft in these especially tricky conditions. The racing has been close and exciting to watch with everyone making significant improvements. It really sets us up for what will be another thrilling third event.”
Formula 4 South East Asia Championship
16 October 2016
Race Results (Selected)
Race 6 – Postponed
Race 5 (10 Laps) – 13:45hrs, Sunday, 16 October (Wet)
|8||68||Chia Wing Hoong||MAS||12:59.936|
Race 4 (11 Laps) – 10:55hrs, Saturday, 15 October (Wet)
Race 3 (10 Laps) – 10:55hrs, Saturday, 15 October (Wet)
|7||68||Chia Wing Hoong||MAS||9:52.676|