Malaysian driver Nazim Azman capitalised on an explosive start to convincingly claim the chequered flag in Race 6 of the FIA Formula 4 Southeast Asia Championship (F4 SEA) fuelled by Petron at the Buriram Circuit, Thailand yesterday.
The victory was Nazim’s second in the championship this season following his blistering opening round win during the Malaysian Formula One race at the Sepang Circuit in October last year. Fuelled by Petron, the third round of the championship concluded at the Buriram United International Circuit yesterday.
Race 6 had Daniel Cao of China on pole but Nazim, who was second on the grid, took off like a bullet and shot into the lead. “Cao did not have the best of starts. I took off and dived in Turn 1. I had a pretty big lead of around seven seconds before the safety car came out,” said the 16-year-old Nazim, who was referring to a crash mid-way through the race involving Cutter Sasakorn from Thailand and Ugo De Wilde from Belgium. The crash put both drivers out and the race restarted with the remaining drivers all together.
“I was worried with the safety car but at the restart, I floored it and managed to pull a gap. It sure feels good to win again,” said a delighted Nazim. Daniel settled for second spot in a thrilling race staged in front of a massive crowd who had turned up at the circuit to celebrate Children’s Day.
Daniel, the two-time event winner, said the close racing was just part and parcel of the non-stop action in the F4 SEA. “I just can’t believe it. I’m speechless,” said Cao in disbelief. Nazim won the 10-lap race in a time of 19 minutes 52.402 with Daniel coming in next in 19:54.410 while Kane Shepherd was third in 19:54.750.
If the six races contested in Buriram, De Wilde claimed four victories with Nazim and Daniel bagging a race each. For his tremendous efforts, De Wilde won the Petron Star Driver Award.
“I’m extremely satisfied with the outcome of the race this weekend. It was great to be able to compete here in Southeast Asia. Even though I didn’t get to finish Race 6 due to the incident, I’m really very happy to go home with the F4SEA Petron Star Event Champions trophy.”
The F4 SEA is supporting the Asian Le Mans race. Petron Malaysia, the official fuel and engine oil partner of the F4 SEA is set to support Buriram race with its fully synthetic Petron Blaze Racing Engine Oil, supporting 11 cars in the race.
F4 SEA is a championship developed for young drivers around the world. This year’s F4 SEA will be contested over five rounds. It began in Sepang in October and was followed by the second round at the Clark International Speedway in the Philippines.
The championship now moves to Sepang (Feb 2-4) and a soon-to-be announced venue for the fifth and final round.