AP: Meritus Racing China race summary

Young Malaysian Iruwan takes Maiden Podium Malaysian youngster Nik Iruwan took his maiden podium at the second Formula BMW Asia race in support of the Chinese Grand Prix, and saves his team Meritus' perfect podium record. This is Iruwan's first...

Young Malaysian Iruwan takes Maiden Podium

Malaysian youngster Nik Iruwan took his maiden podium at the second Formula BMW Asia race in support of the Chinese Grand Prix, and saves his team Meritus' perfect podium record. This is Iruwan's first year in car racing, after ten successful years in karts, and his incredible progress since the start of the season has culminated in this second place finish at the brand new Shanghai International Circuit. Moreno Soeprapto (Minardi Team Asia) won the race, and Kyoung-Ouk You (BMW Korea E-Rain) was third.

"I am so happy to be on the podium finally. The team and I have worked so hard all season, and now we have been rewarded. All the bad memories have disappeared, as we have surpassed our target for 2004," said a beaming Iruwan.

Iruwan's team mate Marchy LEE Yin-Kin, who won the race yesterday, was taken out of the race at the first corner, and was understandably upset at not finishing what he considers one of his home races.

"I'm disappointed because the accident was unnecessary. I was holding my line and Hanss [Lin] cut across and hit me, then I was hit from behind and damaged my rear right wheel. But I am still very happy with my win yesterday, and 10 wins from 12 races is great too. Nik [Iruwan] did a great job, and he really deserves his second place," said Lee.

Lee won the championship at the last round in Japan. Iruwan's second place maintains Team Meritus' perfect podium finish, and he was delighted to step in to save the day.

"I had an incredible start, going from fifth to second. I defended well from Moreno [Soeprapto], but a slight mistake let him through. I was able to keep up with him, but couldn't get past. I knew You was coming up behind, but I also knew I had the speed to keep him there, and I didn't want to make another mistake to throw it all away, so I calmed myself and drove consistently. I braked a little earlier on the final lap, just to be sure, and when I saw the chequered flag and the team leaning over and waving, I couldn't believe it. I am very proud to be the top Meritus driver in this race," said Iruwan.

Tyson Sy (Minardi Team Asia) had actually crossed the line first, but a jump start meant he was penalized. Meritus' other drivers also had a successful race with Moroccan Mehdi Bennani finishing fourth, which seals the Rookie championship for the youngster.

Mark Patterson (USA) had another steady race, finishing ninth. He thoroughly enjoyed his race, despite spending most of it on his own.

"I got a clean start and there was less mayhem at the first corner. The car was handling great again, so I was able to push and did not make any errors. I just felt great throughout the race, and I love this circuit. It should make for a really exciting F1 race," said Patterson.

Tobia Kipper (HKG) gained a lot from this his second ever car race, finishing twelfth, which will serve him well as he enters a full season next year.

"My race was fantastic, my braking improved a lot and I was able to overtake 1 car, but a slight mistake on the exit of the corner meant I gave the spot back. I'm still learning a lot every time I get into the car, and the team has been very helpful," said Kipper.

Lee has received a lot of attention this weekend, and has been meeting various parties in the F1 paddock. He was invited by Dr. Mario Theissen, head of BMW Motorsports, to watch the F1 race from the BMW.Williams pit garage. With the right support, Lee is hoping to find a very good drive in 2005 as he proceeds up the ladder to the top.

-mr-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Mark Patterson , Mehdi Bennani , Mario Theissen , Moreno Soeprapto , Tyson Sy
Teams Williams