The final day at the Buriram United International Circuit in Thailand saw the Formula 4 South East Asia contingent compete for victory in front of a thousands-strong crowd where Nazim Azman from Kuala Lumpur clinched the final race victory.

With the squad on track, it was a smooth start off the line as the lights went out for the second last race of this round. Kane Shepherd was on pole, with Daniel Cao right behind. Everyone had a great start as the pack flew into Turn 1. Kane pushed to defend his ground and almost went into the gravel as they passed turn 2 and headed down into the slow right-handed hairpin, but Cao snatched the lead away from his Thai rival.

By the second lap, it was clear that Cutter Sasakorn had seized the opportunity to jump ahead of the pack as he plotted his move on Kane, Ugo and Nazim who was now fending off Ben Grimes. However, in the heat of battle, Cutter lost his placing as the trio took back their positions.

The brothers Grimes were close behind and as they approached the bend, Sam – who was on the outside of the corner – made contact with his older sibling who was on the inside. Sam spun into the run-off before attempting to re-join. His car sustained damage that forced him out of the race. The stewards had the safety car brought out to minimize the risks, bunching up the grid.

The following lap the race resumed with Cao sandwiched between Ugo and Nazim. The Belgian took the lead by turn 3 and pulled ahead of Cao, with Nazim chasing from behind as they passed the chequered flag.

In the final race, as the competition intensified, Cao was on pole followed by Nazim and Ugo in second and third respectively. Cao did his best to defend his position from a fast-encroaching Nazim as a battle was brewing between Cutter and Ugo. The duo swapped positions a few times with Cutter defending brilliantly, but Ugo piped third place.

Behind, Ben Grimes was battling it out with Kane for 5th and eventually the Thai teen captured the position. Up front, Nazim snatched first position away from Cao, building up a 6-second lead. Midway through the final race, a collision involving Cutter and Ugo saw the pair knocked out of the race. Cutter had lost control of his machine and unintentionally took out the young Belgian after they navigated Turn 4. The safety car was deployed, giving the field a chance to regain their composure.

The race was restarted with Nazim on pole, while Kane had climbed up to second and was ready to defend it from Cao with Ben Grimes closing in. However, the Filipino lost pace and settled in for a rivalry with his sibling.

In the end, it was Nazim who wowed the crowd as the chequered flag was waved for him when he crossed the finish line. Cao came up behind as runner-up, having narrowly overtaken Shepherd on the final lap.

The final round of the series will be held at the Sepang International Circuit on February 9.

[Chips Yap]

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