Tiago Rodrigues won the Chinese Formula 4 title in a rearranged season finale at Ningbo.
The season was originally supposed to finish a week ago in Macau, but the event organiser chose to drop Chinese F4 from its schedule for non-championship F4 South East Asia race.
It took until late October, after the penultimate round, for Chinese F4 to secure Ningbo as its finale venue.
Kaishun Liu pipped points leader Tiago Rodrigues by 0.14 seconds in Q1 to take race one pole, with Ren Juncheng 0.317s behind in third. Q2 was faster and Liu was again on top, beating Rodrigues to race three pole by 0.283s. Series debutant Juncheng qualified third again, with Chengru Hu 1.7s back in fourth.
Liu made a rocket start in race one, but Rodrigues was already challenging him by turn two. Hu and Jucheng fought over third, and Jing Zefeng crashed. That led to the safety car leading the field through lap three, and Juncheng went off at the penultimate corner before racing resumed. The safety car therefore returned almost as soon as it had gone into the pits, and the next restart was on lap seven.
Changyuan Pang got into fourth ahead of Weibo Huang and Sixiang Lu, and the top two sprinted away. They never fought each other despite remaining close, and Liu won. Hu was 21.993s behind in third, but then got disqualified post-race.
Marco Lau had reversed-grid pole for race two, and Peng Yang took the lead from him at turn two. But Yang braked way too early a few corners later and dropped to third, with Huang moving to the front ahead of Lau, Rodrigues and Liu. Rodrigues went for second place at turn one on lap two, but a few corners later stopped at the side of the track and the safety car came out.
Liu made it to the front before the race was neutralised, and when it restarted on lap five there was a big battle for seventh. Juncheng got himself clear of it into fifth, then took fourth on lap six, as Liu pulled 7.7s clear. Juncheng took third on lap seven, as Liu’s lead grew to 12.3s, then passed Zefeng for second. He had no answer for Liu though, who even with a 10s penalty won by 7.698s.
Despite starting from pole, Liu did not win race three. Rodrigues had the inside line for turn one and passed him, and although Liu tried multiple times to get back past on lap one he could not do it.
They were nose-to-tail on lap four when the safety car appeared due to Lau crashing, and on the restart Rodrigues kept Liu at bay again. They finished 0.416s apart, with Rodrigues’s seventh win delivering him the title, and Juncheng was 7.767s behind after initially keeping up.
Liu got some redemption in the finale with his seventh win from ninth on the grid. He and Rodrigues made up one place each on lap one as Huang stormed into a 3.489s lead, but on lap two they climbed to third and sixth respectively before a big crash neutralised proceedings.
Green flag action resumed on lap five and Huang dropped to third while Juncheng built a 2.281s lead over Liu. The safety car returned on lap six due to Patrick Tsang smashing into the pitwall. The next restart was on lap 11. Liu overtook Juncheng, and Rodrigues took third from Huang to decide the podium positions.
Race 1 (15 laps)
1 Kaishun Liu Smart Life Racing 30m45.663s
2 Tiago Rodrigues Champ Motorsport +1.097s
3 Changyuan Pang Blackjack Racing +36.326s
4 Sixiang Lu LEO Geeke +36.556s
5 Weibo Huang Pointer Racing +37.300s
6 Yiuming Wong Henmax Motorsport +56.902s
7 Patrick Tsang Champ Motorsport +59.718s
8 Chenjie Wu Pointer Racing +1m00.739s
9 Peng Yang Ningbo Team +1m06.826s
10 Marco Lau Smart Life Racing +1m13.400s
Pole: Liu, 1m47.726s
Fastest lap: Rodrigues, 1m47.831s
Race 2 (16 laps)
1 Liu 31m49.909s
2 Ren Juncheng Smart Life Racing +7.698s
3 Chengru Hu Champ Motorsport +9.564s
4 Jing Zefeng Ningbo Team +13.489s
5 Huang +21.961s
6 Pang +23.209s
7 Wu +1m07.375s
8 Wong +1m10.893s
9 Albert Cheung Champ Motorsport +1m20.870s
10 Yang +1m52.212s
FL: Liu, 1m49.359s
Race 3 (16 laps)
1 Rodrigues 31m29.328s
2 Liu +0.416s
3 Juncheng +7.767s
4 Zefeng +20.167s
5 Hu +25.102s
6 Pang +32.797s
7 Wu +52.989s
8 Huang +56.059s
9 Yang +57.663s
10 Wong +1m14.093s
P: Liu, 1m47.267s
FL: Rodrigues, 1m48.075s
Race 4 (13 laps)
1 Liu 30m15.950s
2 Juncheng +0.216s
3 Rodrigues +2.909s
4 Zefeng +12.001s
5 Huang +13.050s
6 Lu +15.976s
7 Pang +18.480s
8 Wong +19.754s
9 Cheung +20.046s
10 Yang +22.133s
FL: Juncheng, 1m48.816s
1 Rodrigues 343 2 Liu 324 3 Zefeng 227 4 Ruiqi Liu 151 5 Hongyu Zhang 98 6 Yang Shengwei 96 7 Hu 87 8 Lu 72 9 Fukang Jiang 64 10 Yingjie Xu 58