Patrizi throws down the gauntlet in Japan. Oita, Japan - BMW Junior and Rookie Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus) threw down the gauntlet today to his fellow Formula BMW Asia competitors when he grabbed pole position for Round 11. Fresh from...
Patrizi throws down the gauntlet in Japan.
Oita, Japan - BMW Junior and Rookie Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus) threw down the gauntlet today to his fellow Formula BMW Asia competitors when he grabbed pole position for Round 11. Fresh from his maiden victory in Korea last month, the 21-year-old Australian clocked 1:54.351 in the opening laps of the session at the 4.6km Autopolis Circuit, sending a clear message that he is a man on a mission this weekend.
The Bahraini duo of Salman Al Khalifa (Team E-Rain) and Hamed Al Fardan (Team Meritus) were second and third fastest respectively. The two are currently tied at the top of the leaderboard with 116 points apiece, despite mixed fortunes in Korea last month. Al Khalifa has just returned from the UK and his first taste of a Formula 3 car at the Pembry race track.
Second fastest Rookie was BMW Junior Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E-Rain) who was fourth fastest in the session and the last of four drivers to complete a lap in less than 1:55 seconds. Ebrahim, at just 16 years-of-age, comes to Japan fresh from his recent test in India's A1GP machine.
Rookie Cup leader, Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAL/Team Meritus), who has been on the podium no fewer than six times in ten rounds, was fifth in the session.
Patrizi was over the moon to have taken the second pole of his Formula BMW Asia career and is on fighting form for tomorrow's race: "I'm here to win now - I've had enough of bad luck, and I want to win this race and the championship," he said. Patrizi also credited a last-minute good luck call from his father, just seconds before the session, for his dominant performance.
Formula BMW Asia newcomer Hamza Dirani of Jordan (Team Meritus) impressed on his debut, clocking the tenth fastest time. Although Dirani has karting and rallying experience under this belt, this weekend marks his first foray into single seater racing, and he is gaining confidence - and speed - with each outing.
The Autopolis Circuit is known to be very demanding on tyres and, with the increasing heat, all the drivers knew the quickest times would come in the opening laps of the session. Said Al Khalifa: "This is a very driver- oriented track. It rewards drivers with race craft and drivers who have planning." He will be looking to earn those rewards tomorrow.
Tensions are running high as the series enters the final four rounds of the 2005 season. With the title wide open, each and every point is becoming more crucial, and a fierce battle is on the cards for tomorrow's 10 lap race.