Young Jordan-based Iraqi driver Ali Akabi revelled in his first steps into the Formula 4 South East Asia (SEA) Championship at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit recently and is heading back to the circuit for this weekend’s second race meeting of the season (April 19-21).
The 15-year-old settled into the action well and experienced both dry and wet track conditions during the opening four races of the series.
Akabi said: “I’m really pumped for this weekend’s races. I am keen on taking the win this time around. I learned a lot from the last races and I have a lot to implement in these races.
“The first round of the championship was really superb, although I didn’t get the results that I hoped for. It was a huge learning curve being my first single-seater race. The experience was truly exceptional. I’m more focused on my season now than ever and I am confident of what I can achieve this year.”
Ali Akabi started his campaign with sixth place in the official qualifying session. Heavy rain had fallen in the area just before the stint, but Akabi managed to card a best time of 2min 32.030sec during seven laps on the circuit.
Pole position fell to Sweden’s Emil Skaras with a lap of 2min 30.279sec and Frenchman Hadrian David and Dane Malthe Jakobsen rounded off the top three.
Hadrian managed to claim victory in the first of two races on day one with Irishman Lucca Allen and Jakobsen finishing on the podium. Akabi finished his first competitive F4 SEA race that ran over nine laps in seventh position. It was a big step up for the youngster from karting.
The second of the day’s races was affected by heavy rain and the race was stopped by a red flag on the seventh lap on safety grounds with drivers running on slick tyres. Victory fell to Skaras, who had started third on the grid behind Kazakh Lyubov Ozeretkovsaya and Akabi. Akabi passed the chequered flag in ninth place again after being amongst the top three runners in the early laps.
Akabi finished 12th in the third of the weekend’s races where the second win of the weekend fell to Hadrian from Jakobsen and Allen. He had been competing for second place, but an incident involving another driver gave Akabi a flat tyre that dropped him to the rear of the field.
Akabi lined up sixth on the grid for the fourth race that was won by Hadrian, his third of the weekend. The evening race was red-flagged following a crash involving Jakobsen on the second lap. Cars were repositioned on the grid and Hadrian held on to take the win. Allen finished second and Finland’s Emil Seppanen was third. Akabi lost brake pressure during the race and reached the chequered flag in seventh.
Support for the Jordanian’s programme comes from the Al-Hokair Group, ALMCO, and Amwaj. The second round of the Formula 4 SEA series will see drivers tackling the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth rounds of the 40-race series at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend.