Formula BMW Asia Thrills the Crowds in Bahrain as Al Khalifa Takes Victory. Sakhir, Bahrain - The Formula BMW Asia field gave Bahraini motor racing fans a taste of what is to come this season with an extraordinary 10-lap opening round which saw...
Formula BMW Asia Thrills the Crowds in Bahrain as Al Khalifa Takes Victory.
Sakhir, Bahrain - The Formula BMW Asia field gave Bahraini motor racing fans a taste of what is to come this season with an extraordinary 10-lap opening round which saw local hero Salman Rashid Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E- Rain), 23, take victory after a brilliant drive. Series newcomer Charlie- Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus), 19, impressed in his very first outing coming in second, while BMW Junior, Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus), 20, took the final podium spot, both of whom are Rookie Cup entrants.
A jubilant Al Khalifa was thrilled with his well-deserved win: "To win a race you have to keep your concentration and stay away from mistakes. I hadn't realised that I was able to concentrate that hard for that long, and now I understand how crucial this element of racing is."
Charlez, who sat in the Formula BMW for the first time only yesterday, was pleased to be on the podium and will definitely be one to watch this season, while Patrizi downplayed his disappointment at finishing third having led the race several times.
Al Khalifa didn't have the best start from pole, and Patrizi was alongside him almost immediately. The Australian youngster took Al Khalifa on the inside of turn one, and the battle commenced, with the Bahraini piling on the pressure as Patrizi tried to build up a margin. Lap four saw Al Khalifa regain the lead after a skilled and superbly-executed overtaking manoeuvre, but the situation was dramatically reversed when he was pressured into a mistake and Patrizi reclaimed the lead, opening up a two second gap.
Patrizi looked comfortable to take the win, but Al Khalifa held on and, when the Team Meritus driver made an error on lap seven, victory in Round 1 was his.
It was a successful day for local drivers and Hamed Al Fardan (Team Meritus) took fourth place after an eventful drive, which saw him almost airborne after taking an excursion over a kerb. He also set the fastest lap of the race, adding to the pride of local supporters.
In the Rookie Cup, 15-year-old Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E-Rain) put in an impressive performance to finish third behind Charlez and Patrizi.
Round 2 of Formula BMW Asia will be held tomorrow morning (Sunday, April 3) at the 5.4km Bahrain International Circuit.