Formula 4 South East Asia racer Muhammad Ibrahim dominated the final United States F4 Esports round at Watkins Glen.
The Indian beat Quinlan Lall to pole by over four tenths of a second, and followed up his pole lap with a heavy crash at the end of the qualifying session.
In the half-hour race he made a brilliant start and was from then on untouchable, setting fastest lap after fastest lap while his rivals got involved in drama.
Drivers were going three-wide in places throughout, and Jay Howard Driver Development’s Viktor Andersson was the first victim of this on the opening lap when he got bumped off entering the Boot section of the lap.
On lap two it was the turn of Lall and Michai Stephens as they battled over second place, passing each other through Outer Loop and then making contact several times before before crashing after the Chute just as Andersson did.
This promoted Swindell Speedlab’s Alexander Koreiba into a second place he wouldn’t lose, but he was already some five seconds down on Ibrahim. Battles for position further back meant more drivers crashed on laps three and four, and it was only on lap five did a dramatic battle not end in the wall as Lyubov Ozeretskovskaya and Christopher Tarhan diced over fifth.
Tarhan made his way past, but on the next lap he tangled with Frank Mosman in the Boot and this enabled Ozeretskovskaya to regain fourth before she started battling with Tarhan again.
Ibrahim had a lead of over 10 seconds by the halfway point of the race, as a five-way battle for third continued. Ozeretskovskaya took the position after more side-by-side action with Tarhan, but that battling brought the pair back into fourth and fifth as Enzo Deligny slipped into third.
He didn’t escape, as the lapped Luke Welcome got in his way and the final podium spot turned into a five-car battle again. Somehow Deligny didn’t lose a spot during this period of three-wide action, but Ozeretskovskaya did get unlucky as she crashed when trying to clear Welcome.
Tarhan then spent the next few laps trading track position with Deligny in some clean but spicy action that ended up going in favour of the latter.
The battle for fifth picked up where they left off, with Andrew Hughson and Chase Outcalt both kissing the walls on the final lap as they fought for the spot. Hughson ended up holding on for a top five finish.
Drivers who’d come off worse in the early action still managed to battle on in the lower points positions, just as closely as the drivers higher up were, with Andersson recovering to ninth. He finished 52s down on victor Ibrahim, whose winning margin was a massive 18.5s.