AP: Dominic Storey Zhuhai summary

TWO MORE PODIUMS FOR STOREY IN CHINA Young New Zealand racing driver Dominic Storey completed his rookie season with two podium finishes at the final round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia single-seater motor racing at the Zhuhai International ...

TWO MORE PODIUMS FOR STOREY IN CHINA

Young New Zealand racing driver Dominic Storey completed his rookie season with two podium finishes at the final round of the 2006 Formula BMW Asia single-seater motor racing at the Zhuhai International Circuit in China over the weekend.

Kart star Storey, 16, the series' only true single-seater novice at the beginning of the year, set the third fastest lap time in qualifying then after finishing a hard-won fifth after a tense and sometimes bruising battle with Thai-based Brit James Grunwell and championship points leader Sam Abay in the first race on Saturday, finished third in both Sunday races.

Western Australian Daniel Ricciardo pulled off a stunning single lap to top the qualifying sheets on Saturday morning but all three races, and therefore the 2006 Formula BMW Asia series title belonged to Storey's compatriot and former KartSport sparring partner Earl Bamber.

Bamber had to wait until the last corner on the last lap to get past Ricciardo in Saturday's race but he got the jump and led from start to finish in both Sunday ones, earning both the overall championship and Rookie of The Year awards.

Melbourne driver Sam Abay, who went into the meeting with a narrow points lead over Bamber, ended up second overall after a disappointing weekend in which he was outqualified by Ricciardo, Bamber and Storey and forced to complete Sunday's morning race with a damaged rear wing.

Storey meanwhile ended up sixth in the overall points standings, just two points behind fifth-placed Aaron Lim, and fourth in the Rookie of The Year category.

It was a positive end to the young Aucklander's first motor racing season and one that bodes well for his next challenge - a test with one of the UK's top Formula 3 teams later this week.

The offer of the test came about after Storey was approached following the penultimate round of the Formula BMW Asia series in Shanghai by a representative from Raikkonen Robertson Racing, a top UK-based Formula 3 team part-owned by Finnish Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen.

The team's #1 driver Mike Conway is currently leading the British Formula 3 Championship points standings, and its #2 driver, Bruno Senna (nephew of the late Ayrton Senna) is currently third overall.

It is in the business of nurturing talented young drivers and Storey is one that it has targeted. The test will take place at the Pembrey circuit in Wales, after which the young Kiwi driver will return home and start putting in place plans for the 2007 season.

Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. Up-and-coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.

The car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. BMW's 140 bhp K1200 engine is capable of propelling it to 230km/h and the car itself exceeds the FIA safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has also developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. As well as this all Formula BMW Asia drivers must use the HANS safety system.

Formula BMW series are held in Asia, Europe, the UK and the United States and in late November this year the annual Formula BMW World Final will be held at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tomo.

* Dominic Storey is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com

-credit: fcc

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Ayrton Senna , Mike Conway , Bruno Senna , Daniel Ricciardo , Aaron Lim , James Grunwell , Sam Abay , Earl Bamber , Dominic Storey