AP: Sentul rounds 9-12 preview

Driver search announced as Indonesia brings new challenges. Citeureup Bogor, Indonesia -- Formula BMW Asia and PT BMW Indonesia have selected four talented local karters from which one will be chosen to participate in the 2008 Scholarship ...

Driver search announced as Indonesia brings new challenges.

Citeureup Bogor, Indonesia -- Formula BMW Asia and PT BMW Indonesia have selected four talented local karters from which one will be chosen to participate in the 2008 Scholarship Qualifying trials.

The candidates are Ryan Haryanto, Rama Danindro, Yulda Saputra and Al Semiawan, all of whom will participate in the Formula BMW Experience at the Sentul circuit on July 23/24. The driver deemed to have the greatest potential will take part in the Scholarship Trails for the 2008 season, and have the chance to earn a 50.000 USD cash contribution to the cost of the season and enrolment in the Education & Coaching Programme, the driver development scheme which is unrivalled in the region. All costs associated with participation in the Trials will be covered by PT BMW Indonesia.

As Formula BMW Asia moves to Indonesia for the next four of the 22-round season, all but two of this year's field will be facing the brand new challenge of the country's Sentul Circuit. Only James Grunwell (18/THA/Team Meritus) and Indonesian racer Zahir Ali (19/Team TARADTM) have raced on the 3.965km track before.

Current Driver Classification leader Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Team Meritus) will be looking to extend his 65 point lead, but arch rival and team mate Grunwell will have other ideas. Jaafar proved dominant in the first eight races, all run at Malaysia's Sepang Circuit, but it remains to be seen if he can maintain the advantage on unfamiliar territory. Ali meanwhile will be hoping for a change in fortunes having started the season strongly, taking a win in Round 3.

Says Chief Formula BMW Instructor Christopher Wassermann of the Indonesian circuit: "Sentul is one of the fastest circuits in Formula BMW Asia. Its rough and abrasive surface, combined with the hot and humid weather conditions, make it a very demanding circuit for both man and machine. With the long start and final straight, slipstreaming will be the key to success."

Formula BMW Asia made its Indonesian debut last year when Grunwell set the fastest lap in one race, and made it to the podium after a tussle with Ali saw the Indonesian spin out.

Three 2007 BMW Junior drivers top the hotly-contested Rookie Cup championship going in to Round 9, with Hong Kong's Ross Jamison (17/Team Meritus) and the series' first South African driver Kyle Mitchell (16/Eurasia Motorsport) tied at the top on 237 points apiece, with India's Akhil Khushlani trailing them by just 7 points. China's David Zhu (16/Team Meritus) lies 7th and is fast finding his feet having notched up a podium finish already this season, while Shohei Shiromoto of Japan (17/Team E-Rain) trails him by 7 points.

With scores to be settled and reputations made, the competition in the upcoming races promises to be as hot as the searing temperatures of Indonesia.

-credit: bmw.asia

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Jazeman Jaafar , Zahir Ali , Ross Jamison , Kyle Mitchell , Shohei Shiromoto , Akhil Khushlani , James Grunwell