Home Formula 4F4 South East Asia Daniel Cao wins opening F4 SEA round supporting F1 Malaysian GP

Daniel Cao wins opening F4 SEA round supporting F1 Malaysian GP

by Ida Wood

Daniel Cao

Daniel Cao leads the Formula 4 South East Asia standings after winning the opening round in support of the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, where one of the five races ended with no cars running.

Danial Frost, fifth in last season’s standings, started the weekend by taking his second career pole, ahead of Nayan Chatterjee, Kane Shepherd and Cao.

Ex-British F4 racer Cao made the best start in the first race, moving up to second immediately and hounding Frost until he made a mistake.

At halfway distance Cao took the lead, and he pulled away to take his first car racing victory by over three seconds. Fastest lap meant he would also start the second race from pole.

Eshan Pieris finished third, ahead of Shepherd and Nazim Azman.

Cao won once again in the second race, this time putting a margin of five seconds between Frost and himself. Chatterjee finished third, with Azman and Shepherd once again completing the top five.

Due to a schedule change caused by Romain Grosjean striking a drain cover in free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, the second and third F4 SEA races were run back-to-back.

With the grid for the third race being set by the second fastest qualifying times, Frost started from the front again.

Frost led for the majority, but in the closing laps he and his rivals started to slow to a halt, having run out of fuel. Only Shepherd made it to the final lap, and even then he could only make it as far as Turn 2.

The organisers provisionally declared the result one lap from the finish, with Shepherd as the winner, before deciding to declare the final results as how the race was at the end of lap five.

This meant Frost took his eighth F4 SEA victory, with Cao in second and Chatterjee in third. Shepherd, who covered more distance than anyone else, was fourth.

Peter Thompson, the chairman of the series organisers, made an official apology after the race.

“I apologise unreservedly for the results of race three,” he said.

“With races two and three back-to-back and without the possibility to top up, we filled the cars for both races before the start of race two.

“However we miscalculated the requirements. As we are a one-team championship all the drivers were unfortunately affected.”

Chatterjee started from the front for the fourth race thanks to taking fastest lap in the third encounter, but was denied a maiden victory by Cao. Azman took his first podium of the weekend in third, with Shepherd fourth and Minang fifth.

The final race went to Azman, celebrating his first F4 win before he?d even crossed the line at his home venue.

Early leader Shepherd finished second, ahead of Chatterjee and Cao.

Cao took the event win ahead of Chatterjee and takes an early lead in the series standings.

Malaysian Isyraf Danish, one of the favourites for the 2017-18 F4 SEA title and a previous race winner in the series at Sepang, withdrew from the round prior to the event.

The scheduling change that led to the second and third races being run back-to-back also led to the cancellation of the sixth race, which will be run at a later round.

The next round of the championship takes place at Clark International Speedway in the Philippines on 20-22 October.

Race 1 (8 laps)
1 Daniel Cao 15m20.038s
2 Danial Frost +3.654s
3 Eshan Pieris +8.900s
4 Kane Shepherd +9.238s
5 Nazim Azman +10.717s
6 Nayan Chatterjee +16.493s
7 Perdana Minang +20.481s
8 Luke Thompson +25.448s
9 Shivin Sirinarinthon +31.975s
Pole: Frost, 2m15.006s
Fastest Lap: Cao, 2m12.818s

Race 2 (8 laps)
1 Cao 18m03.143s
2 Frost +5.045s
3 Chatterjee +5.439s
4 Azman +11.443s
5 Shepherd +15.717s
6 Pieris +16.528s
7 Thompson +21.924s
8 Sirinarinthon +29.157s
9 Minang +29.299s
FL: Cao, 2m13.745s

Race 3 (result declared after 5 laps)
1 Frost 11m19.495s
2 Cao +2.982s
3 Chatterjee +5.046s
4 Shepherd +5.473s
5 Pieris +6.548s
6 Azman +15.382s
7 Sirinarinthon +18.352s
8 Thompson +20.171s
9 Minang +1 lap
P: Frost, 2m16.025s
FL: Chatterjee, 2m14.171s

Race 4 (8 laps)
1 Cao 18m02.016s
2 Chatterjee +1.050s
3 Azman +6.226s
4 Shepherd +8.188s
5 Minang +13.675s
6 Pieris +19.555s
7 Sirinarinthon +23.786s
8 Thompson +35.962s
9 Frost +46.139s
FL: Chatterjee, 2m13.696s

Race 5 (8 laps)
1 Azman 18m09.016s
2 Shepherd +1.809s
3 Chatterjee +2.665s
4 Cao +3.130s
5 Pieris +5.129s
6 Minang +13.198s
7 Sirinarinthon +18.884s
8 Thompson +31.056s
9 Frost +1m44.031s
FL: Cao, 2m14.297s

Championship Standings
1 Cao 108 2 Chatterjee 73 3 Azman 70 4 Frost 68 5 Shepherd 64 6 Pieris 51 7 Minang 28 8 Sirinarinthon 24 9 Thompson 22