AP: Rounds three, four Malaysia preview

Malaysian Duo Gear Up for Home Event. Sepang, Malaysia - Two Malaysian youngsters will be hoping for a good showing in front of their home crowds in the next two rounds of Formula BMW Asia to be held at Sepang International Circuit on May 14 and...

Malaysian Duo Gear Up for Home Event.

Sepang, Malaysia - Two Malaysian youngsters will be hoping for a good showing in front of their home crowds in the next two rounds of Formula BMW Asia to be held at Sepang International Circuit on May 14 and 15 as part of the Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS).

Nineteen-year-old hot shot Charlie-Ro Charlez (Team Meritus) will be joined by series newcomer and Malaysian karting ace Aaron Lim (also 19), who is the latest addition to Minardi Team Asia.

Charlez who, unlike many of his fellow drivers, does not have a background in karting, was nothing short of phenomenal in the opening rounds in Bahrain last month, with a second place finish in his first ever Formula BMW Asia race. After two rounds, he tops the Rookie Cup standings and lies third overall in the championship race.

Fellow countryman Lim was Malaysian Junior Karting Champion in 1999, twice- Malaysian Karting Open Champion in 2002 and 2004, has won two rounds of the Asian Karting Championship, and qualified 13th overall in last year's World Karting Championship.

The two youngsters will, however, have their work cut out if they plan to shine for their local fans in what is the most competitive field yet. Championship leader Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E-Rain) was in scorching form in his home event last month, displaying exceptional skill and nerves of steel on his way to taking two pole positions, a victory and a second place in the opening rounds.

Right behind him on the leaderboard and equally determined take the 2005Championship title is Formula BMW Junior Robert Boughey (THA/Team Meritus). Boughey scored a long-overdue victory in Round 2, and will be looking for nothing less than a repeat in Malaysia.

In addition to Boughey, the four other Formula BMW Juniors are already proving exciting young drivers, with all of them in the top eight on the Championship leaderboard.

At just 15, Armaan Ebrahim (IND/E-Rain), fourth in the Championship, is quickly adapting to the new car, while Australian Michael Patrizi (Team Meritus) has a podium finish already under his belt. An Suk Won (KOR/E- Rain) and China's Wang Jian Wei, who is racing with series newcomers Ao's Racing Team, have also acquitted themselves well in the early stages of the season.

Rounds 3 and 4 of Formula BMW Asia will be run over 20 laps each on the shortened format of Sepang International Circuit.

Formula BMW Asia Points Standings after Round 2 1.Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E-Rain) 35 points, 2. Robert Boughey (THA/Team Meritus) 26 points, 3. Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus) 25 points, 4. Armaan Ebrahim (IND/E-Rain) 20 points, 5. Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus) 18 points, 6. An Suk-Won (KOR/E-Rain) 12 points, 7. Hamed Al Fardan (BAH/Team Meritus) 11 points, 8.Wang Jian-Wei (CHN/Ao's Racing Team) 5 points, 9. Mitsunobu Endo (JPN/Team Meritus) 5 points, 10. Dejan de Zoysa (SRI/Minardi Team Asia) 5 points.

Rookie Cup Standings after Round 2 1.Charlie-Ro Charlez 35 points, 2. Armaan Ebrahim 32 points, 3. Michael Patrizi 25 points, 4. An Suk-Won 22 points, 5. Wang Jian-Wei 14 points, 6. Dejan de Zoysa 14 points.

Statistics Winners 2005: Al Khalifa (1), Boughey (1) Pole Positions: Al Khalifa (2) Podiums: Al Khalifa (2), Boughey (1), Al Baharna (1), Charlez (1), Patrizi (1)

Championship Points: 1.Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E-Rain) 35 points, 2. Robert Boughey (THA/Team Meritus) 26 points, 3. Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus) 25 points, 4. Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E-Rain) 20 points, 5. Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus) 18 points Rookie Cup Winners: Charlez (1), Ebrahim (1) Rookie Cup Points: 1.Charlie-Ro Charlez 35 points, 2. Armaan Ebrahim 32 points, 3. Michael Patrizi 25 points,

Background:

Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and- coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.

This racing car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. The single-seater is propelled by a 140 bhp BMW engine up to 230km/h and exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. The HANS safety system is also mandatory.

In 2005, Formula BMW will be staged five times as part of the Formula One support programme. All the series offer a multifaceted Education and Coaching Programme as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents. The best-known alumni of this talent hothouse are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.

BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen: "Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a car. In the Education and Coaching Programme we have designed specially for them, they learn everything they need to know to hold their own in the big wide world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."

In December 2005 the Bahrain International Circuit will host the first Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other. The winner will get the chance to test a BMW WilliamsF1 Team car.

prplue/bmw.asia

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Christian Klien , Armaan Ebrahim , Mario Theissen , Michael Patrizi , Aaron Lim , Jian Wei Wang
Teams Williams