Double delight for Shihab at F4 SEA Championship

Competitors race during the third round of the Formula 4 SEA Championship at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, on Sunday

It has been a rather successful week for the sultanate’s motor sports as the talented Omani drivers, competing across various venues in Europe and Asia, came up with encouraging results and podium finishes.

If Ahmad al Harthy was runner-up in Pro-Am class in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup in UK, and 21 year old Al Faisal al Zubair achieved his career-best seventh place in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in Spain, then the young Shihab al Habsi was not to be left behind.

 The 15 year old Omani kid set the tracks ablaze during the third round of the FIA Formula 4 SEA Championship at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, winning two of the four races.

The impressive youngster started off in a superb fashion as he claimed the opener on Friday and then captured his second win during the third race on the next day with Irish Lucca Allen winning the other two races.

The third round also served as a support race for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia F3 Asian Championship.

Shihab, who missed the first round due to his race commitments in Europe, is now placed overall fourth in standings with 100 points. Allen tops with 219.

In the previous round at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur last month, Shihab had a third-place in one race and came fifth in another. He retired in the other two races.

At Buriram, besides the two wins, Shihab was third in the fourth and final race on Sunday, ensuring a podium on all the three days of action. He missed a podium, ending fifth in the second race, on Saturday.

In the last race, Shihab started fourth but found himself pushed back to fifth after two laps. However, he quickly recovered to edge past Malaysian Alister Yoong on the third lap and charged past Australian Josh Smith on the fifth lap to claim third spot as he completed the 12-lap race in a time of 20m:50.278s.


Shihab al Habsi celebrates his race win during third round in Thailand

Earlier on Saturday evening, Shihab won despite starting third behind Sneha Sharma and Folky Wongsechareon. The Omani  fought hard and snatched an early lead which he fully exploited to finish in 21:00.731s.

On Friday, Shihab was crowned the winner after three drivers ahead of him were handed down 30-second penalties. Malaysia’s Muizz Musyaffa was second with Dane Malthe Jakobsen in third position.

Shihab maintained his composure despite intense pressure from his rivals to finally claim his first race win of the season.

This year’s FIA F4 SEA Championship is a world record-breaking season featuring 40 races over ten rounds. It  started in Sepang in April and will conclude in Clark, Philippines in November. The next round is at the same venue from June 7-9.

Results: Race one: 1 Shihab (21m:37.371s), 2 Muizz Musyaffa (21:38.375), 3 Malthe Jakobsen (21:44.861); race two: 1 Allen (21:01.903), 2 Smith (21:05.581), 3 Elias Seppanen (21:08.845), 5 Shihab (21:33.107); race three: 1 Shihab (21:00.731), 2 Seppanen (21:03.203), 3 Allen (21:03.861); race four: 1 Allen (20:44.854), 2 Seppanen (20:45.301), 3 Shihab (20:50.278).

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