ENCOURAGING START TO STOREY'S FORMULA BMW ASIA CAMPAIGN Rookie New Zealand driver Dominic Storey has had an encouraging start to his motor racing career with two seventh place finishes at the first round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia ...
ENCOURAGING START TO STOREY'S FORMULA BMW ASIA CAMPAIGN
Rookie New Zealand driver Dominic Storey has had an encouraging start to his motor racing career with two seventh place finishes at the first round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia Championship at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix meeting at Sepang over the weekend.
Former kart star Storey, one of four promising young drivers from the Asia-Pacific region to earn $US50,000 scholarships from BMW to help compete in this year's pan-Asia Formula BMW Asia Championship, qualified seventh and finished seventh in the first race, and qualified eighth then finished seventh in the second to end the weekend sixth in the overall points standings.
In the first 10 lap race round the 5.6 km Sepang F1 GP circuit - Storey's first in a single-seater racing car - the 17-year-old Aucklander crossed the finishing line 14. 783 seconds behind winner (and recent New Zealand visitor and Grand Prix winner Hamad Al Fardan) but just 0.636 of a second behind sixth placed Korean You Kyoung Ouk.
In the second he was 16.772 behind double-winner Al Fardan and 8.420 seconds behind sixth placed fellow Scholarship winner (and pole sitter) James Grunwell.
Though Grunwell and Australian young gun Michael Sam Abay proved to be the quickest in the two qualifying sessions, taking a pole apiece (Abay in the first session, Grunwell in the second), 2006 Al Fardan, from Bahrain, who has competed in the Formula BMW Asia series for the past two years, won both races.
Second behind Al Fardan in the first race was Grunwall, a British-born driver representing Thailand, with Abay third, Storey's compatriot - and former Rotax Max Junior Kart Challenge sparring partner - Earl Bamber, fourth, and highly-rated Western Australian Daniel Ricciardo fifth.
Abay got the jump on the rest of the field at the start of the second race however Al Fardan, who started from the fifth position on the grid, quickly made his way to the front.
Abay remained safe in second place until late in the 10 lap race when Bamber finally got close enough to attempt a pass.
Unfortunately he could not make it stick and the order at the line was Al Fardan, Abay, Bamber, You Kyoung Ouk, Ricciardo, Grunwell and Storey.