Hello, and welcome to the coverage of Round 4 of the International Junior Grand Prix Championship live from a very wet Sepang circuit. After three races, Frances Bouvert is the championship leader for Peurteor, while the rest of the field are very close behind indeed, with the top 5 drivers separated by 12, less than half of the value of a victory.
In the Friday Free Practice, it looked as if Scuderia Rossi had found a good rhythm in their setup for Pedro Costa and Lorenzo Moretti, while Morley, Volkswagen Lucas Wilson and Team 23 were also looking strong. However, as seen so far, the spread between the two drivers in a team can be very large, so little could be found out before the first qualifying session.
Qualifying saw a very hectic 20 minute session with perfect dry conditions, with all of the drivers scrambling for track position. Initially, Kraig van Snelheid took fastest lap, and held on until 5 minutes to go. However, at this point the track really began to rubber in, and Pedro Costa was last across the line to take the pole position for Scuderia Rossi, while Christian Fischoff was second for Morley. VW saw another good performance, this time from Callum Brandon, who gained third. Dekzwabber was fourth, and in the end van Snelheid had to settle for 5th. Early championship pace setters Yrjana Vahasoyrinki and Bayurn Zrigovic had to settle for 11th and 13th respectively, while the revelation of the last race, Luis Pesdebills was back down where some say he belongs, in 21st position.
Start: The drivers are ready for the start, the rain is lashing down, this will be probably the biggest test of these drivers so far, and it is the first running for these cars in a competitive situation in wet weather. The field is set, with Costa on pole on the left, and Fischoff on the right in second. The lights begin their illumination, one, two, three, four, five... and it's lights out and away we go! Good start from all of the top 4, Fischoff can't make up any ground on the pole sitter, and as they stream into the first corner, it is all very clean. From the 4th row of the grid, Heininen makes another good start, making up two positions immediately on van Snelheid and DePanon.
Lap 1: As the drivers head onto the long back straight, Luke Stokey of Westwood gets much better traction, pulling alongside Liverpool's Jamie Gerrard. On the right hand side of the circuit, he has the outside line of the final corner, but that doesn't stop him! Right around the outside, beautiful stuff!
Lap 9: Luke Stokey and Jamie Gerrard are still battling, while Henk Dekzwabber is under attack from Mikko Heininen, which is creating a gap between them and the top three. Team 23 seem to have set the top speed of the car high, as when they reach the end of the two straights, the Dutchman pulls away from Heininen slightly as the Morley driver hits the limiter.
Lap 14: Going into turn four now, Vahasoyrinki tries to push past Lorenzo Moretti, but on the exit gets onto the runoff on the outside, which is slippy due to the wet conditions, the car is squirming, allowing Moretti to get the extra traction he needs to get back ahead.
Lap 15: Entering turn nine, Vahasoyrinki slides the car to the left and outbrakes a tentative Lorenzo Moretti, as the weather gets increasingly bad. Vahasoyrinki proves Moretti right however, as he aquaplanes wide, but just gets sufficient traction to remain ahead.
Lap 17: Running in 14th place, Germund Svensson is coping better with the car, putting in a good solid race, not too far behind his team mate, although it is obvious Svensson is more erratic. He is placing his car right over the kerbs, which could catch him out... and it does! In the final corner, he takes too much kerb, and the wheels begin to slip, and he runs out very wide, snatching the car from spinning and nearly hitting the barrier. However, he manages to hold it on the track, but at the expense of losing four places.
At the halfway point, Costa leads Fischoff, with Brandon in third.
Lap 19: Jamie Gerrard hasn't given up on 8th place yet... on the run up to turn 5, he shows his nose to Stokey, and is very lucky not to lose his front wing.
Lap 21: We have our first retirement of the race. As Luis Pesdebills came around the turn 9 hairpin, he seemed to lose all drive, coasting to a halt shortly afterwards. This will be our first safety car of the IJGPC
Lap 24: And we are racing again. Great restart from Costa, although he has been followed closely by Fischoff. Brandon seemed asleep, and van Snelheid has made a blistering restart. As we go into the first corner, van Snelheid dives on the inside of Heininen... and makes it stick. He now moves across the track, getting a good run out of turn two. He is on the right of Dekzwabber, and brakes very late... Sensational! He has taken two places in 3 corners, fantastic racing!
Lap 25: It has been a hectic race since the restart, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Zrigovic in 13th is moving all over the place down the final straight, he turns inside Cesar, trying to take the position, but it doesn't work! Zrigovic hits the side of the Piuttosto Veloce driver! Zrigovic has lost his front right wheel, and Moretti has taken the places away from Cesar, who seems to be unaffected by the impact, although the team will be worried about the state of the cooling system, although the cool damp weather should mean it is less of a problem. However, the safety car will be called out for a second time.
Lap 29: The safety car returns to the pit lane, and Costa backs up the pack. He gets a brilliant start, but Fischoff is very close to him. Once again, Brandon has missed it, defending hard against van Snelheid. Fischoff gets alongside Costa, but is on the outside into turn one, and Costa remains ahead.
Lap 31: Jamie Gerrard has decided it is do or die now, and sends one up the inside of Stokey... how on earth did that not end in disaster? Gerrard takes the 8th spot, but in truth it was a rash move that both drivers should feel lucky that their races didn't end there and then.
Lap 34: Fischoff hasn't given up on the victory, and is hassling Costa. Into the turns 7 and 8 complex, he is alongside Costa after a magnificent exit in turn 6, and he is on the inside... AND GETS THROUGH!!! FISCHOFF TAKES THE LEAD OF THE MALAYSIAN JUNIOR GRAND PRIX!!! A wonderful move that is deserving of the race lead!
Lap 36: Fischoff wins the Malaysian Junior Grand Prix, and was quite simply stunning today. The weather conditions are miserable, but I am sure it won't matter to him, especially after such a special move on Costa to take the race lead.
Well, after a memorable Malaysian Junior Grand Prix, Frances Bouvert still leads the championship despite failing to score, highlighting just how close the championship is, along with the fact Zrigovic crashed and Vahasoyrinki finished well down the order. In the Team championship, Morley Engineering are in first, with both of their drivers performing well, while Peurteor, Arqiva Westwood Youth Racing and Volkswagen Lucas Wilson Racing very close behind.
Thank you for joining me for live coverage of the race, and I hope you all enjoyed the fantastic action, and look forward to covering the first leg of the European season in Italy.