AP: Meritus Racing season finale qualifying notes

Marchy Lee on Pole for final rounds of Formula BMW Asia Chinese racing champion Marchy LEE Yin-Kin (HKG) has scored another 2 pole positions for the final rounds of the 2004 Formula BMW Asia championship, taking place at the Taebaek circuit, ...

Marchy Lee on Pole for final rounds of Formula BMW Asia

Chinese racing champion Marchy LEE Yin-Kin (HKG) has scored another 2 pole positions for the final rounds of the 2004 Formula BMW Asia championship, taking place at the Taebaek circuit, Korea. The Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus driver was up to 0.25 seconds quicker than the rest, which is a huge margin at this small circuit; the rest of the pack is separated by mere tenths.

The 2 sessions were held under challenging conditions, the first starting wet then drying out, and the second starting dry but receiving rain towards the end. Lee and the team put all their experience to work in order to find the perfect setup and best time to go on track, in order to make the most of the conditions.

"I could tell the first session was getting drier, so I took it easy in the first half, then pushed hard towards the end and was lucky to find clear track to set my fastest laps in the last 3 or 4 laps. In the second session, we saw the rain was coming, so I went out and pushed immediately, this time setting the fastest time early on. The track is quite simple, with only 5 corners, so the race should be quite close tomorrow. But I feel very confident about my chances, and I'm sure I can break the 10-wins-in-a-season record," said Lee.

Lee's Meritus team mates had a more mixed qualifying. Mehdi Bennani (MAR), who has already won the Rookie class and is only 8 points from second in the overall standings, suffered an engine over-rev during testing, forcing a last-minute engine change. The settings were not ideal for the first session, robbing Bennani of straight-line speed and relegating him to tenth. The team put everything right in the second session though, and Bennani quickly set the second fastest time and held it to the end.

"It is unfortunate about my engine this morning, but we made up for it in the afternoon. I am feeling very confident about the races tomorrow, and I will try my best to over-take in the morning race to give myself the best chance possible for second in the driver's championship," said Bennani.

Malaysian youngster Nik Iruwan is aiming for another podium finish after his maiden second place at the Chinese Grand Prix, but the small track and close times will make this a real challenge. He was twelfth in the first session and seventh in the second.

"The difference between the quick and the not-so-quick drivers is very small at this circuit, so although I felt I did a good job, it was just not good enough to put me near the front. The second session was much better, but I will still have to do a lot of over-taking in the races tomorrow. The track is quite tight, but I'm confident I'll find my way round as many drivers as possible," said Iruwan.

-www.MeritusRacing.com

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Mehdi Bennani , Marchy Lee