FORMULA BMW PACIFIC CHAMPION JOINS SANDOWN F3 SUPERPRIX GRID
THE SANDOWN F3 SUPERPRIX is set to be a melting pot of international racing talent following the conformation today that 16-year-old Indonesian Formula BMW star Rio Haryanto will return to the Formula 3 Australian Drivers' Championship this November.
Haryanto, from Central Java in Indonesia, raced a National Class Dallara at Queensland Raceway in August this year but will step into outright contention at the Melbourne circuit, set to take to the wheel of an Astuti Motorsport F307 Dallara.
Already crowned the Formula BMW Pacific champion (with one round to spare), Haryanto will join drivers from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as outright contenders for Formula 3s toughest race of the year - an event that will double as a title showdown between Tim Macrow and Joey Foster.
Haryanto will drive the Astuti chassis driven to a race win last year at Oran Park by James Winslow.
The youngster has dominated proceedings in the competitive Formula BMW Asia championship this year and will finish that particular campaign one week before the Sandown event, at the Macau Grand Prix.
"It is fantastic that the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship can attract a champion driver from Asia like Rio," Astuti Motorsport team owner Sam Astuti said.
"It shows the progress the series is making and the reputation it now has internationally. The field at Sandown will be first-class and we can't wait for what should be a fantastic SuperPrix race."
Driving a PHR Scuderia F304 Dallara, Haryanto scored a National Class pole position at Queensland Raceway and finished just behind class champion Tom Tweedie in the first race.
"As a team we were impressed with Rio's performances at Queensland in the National Class car," Astuti said.
"By the end of the weekend he was just as fast as the class benchmark and not far off the outright cars too. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do in the outright car at Sandown and I would say, based on his pace and successes in Asia so far this year, he will be very competitive."
Haryanto will be a team-mate to Sydney driver Mat Sofi, his #2 AmPro Tools Dallara also prepared out of the Astuti Motorsport stable, giving the team two cars for the first time this season.
The Sandown F3 SuperPrix will be contested between November 27 - 29, alongside the final round of the 2009 Shannons Nationals.