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Vivian Siu collects personal best results in F4 in Zhuzhou

At only her third race weekend in Formula 4, Hong Kong's Vivian Siu claimed two sixth place finishes and two rookie podiums in the revived Formula 4 South East Asia, which hosted its opening round at Zhuzhou International Circuit - as she collected crucial experience ahead of the Macau event.

Marta Garcia, Prema Racing, F1 Academy
Photo credits: F4 SEA

Hong Kong driver Vivian Siu claimed her best results in Formula 4 at the first round of the revived F4 South East Asia Championship, which got underway at Zhuzhou International Circuit, China, after last hosting a championship round in 2019. Siu, who has started her motor racing adventure less than a year ago, is quickly making her way up the ranks of F4 racing in Asia, having competed in the opening two rounds of the Chinese F4 series earlier this year, becoming the first woman to score points in the championship with a tenth place at Ningbo International Circuit. Having been announced for the biggest race of the year - the Macau Grand Prix, in the Formula 4 support race - Siu entered the first round of F4 SEA, now promoted by Top Speed promoter, with the aim of collecting vital experience at the wheel of the new Tatuus T421 car that will be employed in Macau - and which differs from the Mygale car used in the Chinese series until the end of the 2023 season. Siu had tested the new gen F4 car before, then joined the South East Asia Championship round in a competitive field that sees a mix of local and international drivers, competing over 11 races across four weekends. The season opener at the 3.774km Zhuzhou International Circuit brought F4 SEA back on the motorsport map after the series was discontinued during the global pandemic. The non-championship invitational round at Macau will follow, where three drivers have been confirmed: Siu will be joined by F1 Academy star Bianca Bustamante and Formula Regional Japan champion Miki Koyama. Two more triple-header events will see teams and drivers head to Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, in November and December. Racing under the guidance of Black Arts Racing and former F1 driver Alex Yoong, Vivian Siu is making big progress at every race weekend and, by collecting more experience, she is quickly topping her best results in F4 machinery. With consistency, Siu completed all three races last weekend and collected 17 points, at only her third race weekend in single seaters. Australian Jack Beeton was one of the protagonists of the first round, although a race two incident means that he's now chasing Macanese driver Tiago Rodrigues by one point in the standings. Challenging weather conditions led to a tricky start of the first race of the weekend: a massive 2.4 second gap separated Beeton from his closest rival Jiang Fukang in qualifying and the Australian soon pulled away at the start of race 1 Having qualified eighth on the grid of race 1, Vivian Siu managed to hold on to her starting position in the tricky first stages of the race; she kept the car clean and ran steadily, only giving up one place to the charging Rodrigues who had stalled on the grid from third. She followed Zhang Yu, ahead of Wang Zhongwei. The track was drying up and the battle for second place between Jiang and Ho heated up; with a great recovery drive, Rodrigues caught back the front runners who traded positions in second, over 20 seconds down the road from the leading Beeton. On lap 11, Zhang Shimo was forced to park his car due to a technical issue and triggered the safety car that wiped away Beeton's advantage. Only one lap remained at the restart and the Australian was unchallenged, claiming his first win in the championship - ahead of Jiang and Rodrigues - after the latter had made contact with Ho. With Ho dropping down the order after another contact with Xiao Kunpeng, Siu tried a last lap attack on Zhang Yu, but crossed the finish line seventh, only two tenths behind the Asia Racing Team. A five-second post-race penalty for Xiao promoted Vivian Siu to sixth overall and second among the rookies - thus claiming her personal best finish in F4 after a solid first race in tricky conditions. The second race featured a reverse grid, with Ethan Ho starting from pole ahead of Xiao Kunpeng and Vivian Siu. Xiao had the better start and took over the lead at turn 1, while Siu also had a strong getaway, but then got stuck on the inside line of turn 1 and two, falling in the middle of the pack. From eighth, Jack Beeton was on a mission and was already up to third when a contact eliminated the race 1 winner. Ho also picked up damage and had to pit, although he could rejoin at the back of the pack. The safety car was deployed and Vivian Siu settled in seventh place after the hectic first stages of the race - now led by Xiao Kunpeng. Also with front wing damage, Zhang Shimo incredibly managed to attack and pass for the lead at the restart - as the top two swapped positions several times before Zhang was called back in with an orange and black flag for his displaced front wing. He was later disqualified for ignoring the flag. This allowed Tiago Rodrigues to close back in after a start from the back; the Macanese driver battled with his teammate Xiao for what effectively was the lead of the race and clinched the lead with 5 minutes to go. Having cleared his teammate, Rodrigues pulled away and won with a 4 second gap to Xiao. A post race penalty for Rodrigues - deemed at fault for Beeton's accident on lap 1 - relegated him to second and promoted Xiao Kunpeng to the winner's circle. Vivian Siu retained seventh throughout the race, then moved to sixth once Zhang finally took the way of the pitlane on lap 9. With two sixth places in just as many races, Siu collected 16 points in a positive start of the championship. She was also third among the rookies. Siu lined up in ninth place for the third and final race of the weekend, having clocked a 1:56.231 in the second qualifying session. Jack Beeton was once again dominant in Q2 and shared the front row with Ethan Ho. Beeton never looked back and, after a blistering start, he opened a gap in the lead, leaving Rodrigues and Ho fighting for second. Just behind them, Zhang Shimo completed a great pass at turn 3 to move from seventh to fourth. On lap 6, Zhang grabbed third from Ho, but a track limits penalty meant that Ho gained back his position at the finish line, once Zhang lost the five seconds that also promoted Xiao Kunpeng to fourth. Vivian Siu was involved in a three car battle in the opening stages of the race, when she fought elbows out with Kwok Wai Hang and Zhang Yu; unfortunately, both Vivian and Yu spun due to oil stains on the track. While both rejoined, Siu had lost touch with the group of cars ahead and settled in tenth position. With another top-ten under her belt, Vivian Siu left Zhuzhou International Circuit with a healthy amount of points and, importantly, with more understanding of the Tatuus F4 car that will get to drive at the legendary Guia street circuit in two weeks time.



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