Giancarlo Vilarinho Wins Seventh Race, Michael Lewis Earns Rookie Championship Giancarlo Vilarinho turned a Formula BMW Americas pole position into a race win for the seventh time this season as the Brazilian stormed to victory Saturday in the...
Giancarlo Vilarinho Wins Seventh Race, Michael Lewis Earns Rookie Championship
Giancarlo Vilarinho turned a Formula BMW Americas pole position into a race win for the seventh time this season as the Brazilian stormed to victory Saturday in the final Formula BMW Americas event of the 2009 season, while American Michael Lewis wrapped up the series' rookie championship in winning a title duel with James Kovacic.
Vilarinho earned his seventh win with a wire-to-wire romp around the 2.4-mile Mosport International Raceway layout, besting Eurointernational teammate Gabby Chaves by a full second to claim the win. Vilarinho took the lead heading into the first corner and fended off a couple of early advances by the Colombian-American driver before powering away to the checkered flag.
"We had a good year and won seven races, which is pretty good at any level of competition," Vilarinho said. "We missed some opportunities that cost us the championship, but I think we had a good year."
Chaves sealed the deal on a remarkable season that saw him score the 2009 Formula BMW Americas championship, but also had the 16-year-old Colombian-American finish on the podium in every one of the series' 14 starts this season. He was joined on the podium by yesterday's race winner, Gianmarco Raimondo of Canada.
"I had a really great time this year running in the Formula BMW Americas championship and much of what I learned here will help me throughout my career," Chaves said. "Today was a good race for me, I really wanted to finish on the podium, and we were able to run hard and get a good finish."
The second-place result from Chaves helped him maintain his season-long streak of finishing on the podium in every race, while Raimondo's finish capped off a third-place finish in the standings for last year's Formula BMW Americas rookie champion.
Lewis completed a come-from-behind march to winning this year's rookie championship as he beat Team Apex's Kovacic to the line by 0.05 seconds to claim fourth. The Australian Kovacic needed to finish eight points ahead of Lewis to wrest the honor away from the Californian, but Lewis clinched in style, leading a trio of rookies that included Brazilian Joao Horto, that were separated by less than two-tenths of a second at the finish line.
Formula BMW Junior Kovacic finished second in the rookie championship and was the only rookie to have won a race this year. Fellow Formula BMW Junior Canadian Alex Ellis was third in the rookie championship, finishing just ahead of Team Apex's Horto.
The 1-2 finish sealed another Formula BMW Americas team championship for Eurointernational, who also won the Drivers Championship in Formula BMW Europe today with Felipe Nasr who got his start in Americas last year at the F1 Brazil event. The team also won the rookie title for the first time in its Formula BMW Americas series history.