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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Doriane Pin steps on the podium at F4 debut in Sepang

Making her single-seater debut in the F4 South East Asia series, Doriane Pin scored a podium in the second race, having led most of the reverse grid race and collecting more solid finishes in the other two races. After showing her potential in LMP2, the 19-year-old Frenchwoman is venturing in open-wheel territory with her debut in Asia.

Doriane Pin, Prema Racing, F4 SEA, Sepang International Circuit
Photo by F4 SEA

Iron Dame Doriane Pin made her racing debut in Formula 4 machinery last weekend at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, as the 19 year old Frenchwoman joined Prema Racing for the second round of the F4 South East Asian championship, scoring a podium in race 2 alongside a P10 and P6, in what was an overall very solid debut in single-seaters.

Pin had in fact moved from karting to touring cars, then was straight up to GT3 machinery once she joined the Iron Dames program - and despite a few tests, she had never made her competitive debut in formulas.

The first out of two triple-headers at Sepang International Circuit was a first outing for the young female driver - who was recently named Revelation of the Year in FIA World Endurance Championship following her extraordinary debut at the top of endurance racing - in the world of single-seaters with Prema.

Already in the qualifying session, Frenchman Hadrien David (R-ACE GP) showed his speed for the weekend and that he would be the driver to beat: David was fastest in practice sessions and both qualifyings. Doriane Pin was fifth fastest in both free practices, which were initially delayed due to logistical reasons and then went underway in dry and wet conditions.

With a 2:09.480 lap, Pin was seventh in Q1, one second off the highly experienced David and just a few tenths behind her Prema teammate - karting superstar Kean Nakamura-Berta.

In race 1, David controlled the field comfortably from start to finish, without being challenged by his rivals - especially as Raphaël Narac (R-ACE GP) had trouble defending his second place at the start against Jack Beeton (AGI Sport). The latter tried to pass the French driver on the inside line of turn 1, but Narac managed to stay in front for the next couple of corners and held position throughout the race to finish second behind David and ahead of Beeton.

Doriane Pin started 7th and managed to retain the place for most of the race - but she was increasingly under pressure from Kai Daryanani and Liu Kaishun (both PINNACLE Motorsport) in the closing stages. They eventually made it through with three laps to go, dropping Doriane to 9th. It would be Arjun Chheda (BlackArts Racing) to snatch P9 from the Frenchwoman right at the finish line, as Pin finished P10 in her ever first Formula 4 race.

Doriane Pin, Prema Racing, F4 SEA, Sepang International Circuit
Photo by F4 SEA

But it was not all lost, as tenth place meant that Doriane Pin would start race 2 from the pole position in the reverse grid race.

On Sunday morning, the Frenchwoman led the field ahead of Daryanani, with David moving up to third over the first lap after starting 10th. While David passed Daryanani for second - with Enzo Yeh (Asia Racing Team) on his tail - Pin set the fastest lap of the race and extended her lead, six seconds clear of the following car.

To Doriane Pin's disadvantage, though, a Safety Car was deployed when Fu Yuhao (PINNACLE Motorsport) stopped on track after making contact with Peter Bouzinelos (AGI Sport). The green flag was waved with six laps to go, putting Doriane Pin under enormous pressure from David; after two laps the R-ACE GP driver made a move stick at turn 4 to pass Doriane for the lead, with Yeh following soon after, dropping Pin to third. The leading group remained compact until the chequered flag, and Doriane Pin scored her first ever podium in single-seater racing at only her second race.

Heavy rain delayed the start of race 3, just before cars lined up on the grid. The field eventually started behind the Safety Car, effectively kicking off the last race of the weekend. Hadrien David led the field as the race went green after three laps behind the pace car.

While David kept the lead, Narac was dropping down the order, losing his second place to Nakamura-Berta and another place to Tomass Štolcermanis (both Prema Racing). Doriane Pin, who started fourth, fell to fifth but then managed to hold position until the next Safety Car was required, when Chheda´s stranded car needed to be retrieved.

This time, David was under pressure at the restart for the first time from a fast charging Nakamura-Berta, but the experienced race leader managed to fend him off to win the third race of the weekend ahead of strong rookies Nakamura-Berta and Štolcermanis.

Doriane Pin was close to another top five finish but eventually lost a position to Jack Beeton after the restart and finished sixth - to complete her first weekend in F4 racing with solid pace and results, ahead of the upcoming weekend which will see the second triple-header at the Sepang International Circuit that will wrap up the revived F4 SEA series.



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