AP: Earl Bamer Sepang summary

15 YEAR OLD KIWI STANDS ON F1 EVENT PODIUM 15 - year - old Earl Bamber made a successful start to his international motor racing career in Malaysia last weekend when he stood on the podium of one of the support races to the Formula 1 ...

15 YEAR OLD KIWI STANDS ON F1 EVENT PODIUM

15 - year - old Earl Bamber made a successful start to his international motor racing career in Malaysia last weekend when he stood on the podium of one of the support races to the Formula 1 World Championship, Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Wanganui 5th former was contesting the opening two races of the Formula BMW Asia Championship thanks to the support of Powerbuilt Tools.

Bamber, who is competing in the championship with Team Meritus, qualified 4th for both races on the 5.6 kilometre Sepang circuit. In the opening race of the weekend he did not make the best of starts and dropped into 5th place initially. However he soon regained 4th place and held it to the finish. Talking about his first experience of the series after the race Bamber said, "it is so very close between the top 6 and it is hard to gain positions. You really need to take advantage when someone makes a mistake". Recent New Zealand Grand Prix winner Hamad Al Fardan, a driver with two year's experience in the class, won the race from Thailand based British driver James Grunwell and Michael Sam Abay of Australia.

In the feature race Bamber gained a place from the start and hunted down Abay. He made a decisive pass on the Australian two laps from the end but ran wide in doing so and Abay regained the position. However he took a fine 3rd place which placed him on the podium in front of the Formula 1 fraternity. 1997 World Champion and current BMW Formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve was on hand to present the young kiwi with his trophy. Al Fardan won the race.

Bamber returned home immediately after the race saying, "the whole weekend was just an amazing experience - racing at the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix! The team was good, they put their all into it. The series is going to be so close". He also paid tribute to Powerbuilt Tools who are supporting him in this campaign.

After his impressive debut Bamber is second overall on points of the championship contenders just 3 points behind Abay, a seasoned competitor who has raced Formula 3 in Europe. He also leads the Rookie Cup standings by 3 points from Grunwell.

The 140 horsepower FB02 Formula BMW car that Bamber and the other drivers in the series are driving is recording lap times as quick as the new Porsche 997.

The next round of the series is also at Sepang over the weekend of 13/14 May. Before that Bamber will be back in action at the wheel of his Powerbuilt Stealth at the final round of the N.Z. Formula Ford Championship at Pukekohe over the weekend of 22/23 April.

-prt

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Hamad Al Fardan , James Grunwell , Sam Abay , Earl Bamber