AP: Sepang round eight race notes

Dominant Jazeman wraps up weekend. Sepang, Malaysia -- Malaysian teenager Jazeman Jaafar (Team Meritus) rewarded the legions of local racing fans who turned out today to cheer him on with a spectacular win to take his 5th victory in eight ...

Dominant Jazeman wraps up weekend.

Sepang, Malaysia -- Malaysian teenager Jazeman Jaafar (Team Meritus) rewarded the legions of local racing fans who turned out today to cheer him on with a spectacular win to take his 5th victory in eight races. Jazeman beat team mate and arch rival James Grunwell (18/THA), but the Thai at least had the satisfaction of setting a new lap record of 2:10.637 during his astonishing attempt to catch Jazeman. Third across the line was South African BMW Junior Kyle Mitchell (16/Eurasia Motorsport) taking the Rookie Cup win, his second of the weekend.

Another BMW Junior, Akhil Khushlani (17/IND/Eurasia Motorsport), put in an impressive performance holding off the more experienced Zahir Ali (19/INA/Team TARADTM) to take 4th overall and 2nd in the Rookie Cup, ahead of Sean McDonagh (17/USA/Team E-Rain). McDonagh had been up to 3rd, before a coming together with Mitchell resulted in a spin which put him back to 6th, while Ali put behind him the controversy of the previous race to plough his way from the back of the grid to finish 5th.

With yet another victory under his belt, Jazeman increases his hold on the Driver Classification with a 65 point lead over Grunwell, while BMW Junior Ross Jamison (17/HKG/Team Meritus) is tied 3rd with fellow Mitchell. Khushlani is close behind the pair, just 17 points adrift. In the Rookie Cup standings, Jamison and Mitchell are also neck-and-neck on 237 points. In the Nations Cup, Malaysia has a 17 point lead over Thailand.

Jazeman got away well from pole, but a determined Grunwell lunged into the lead before the first turn. During what has become a familiar sight, Jazeman reclaimed his lead at the fourth corner, and a furious Grunwell lost both the lead and a place to Mitchell during the fracas.

Lap 2 saw Grunwell take second place from Mitchell and, as Grunwell battled to keep the BMW Junior behind him, Jazeman pulled away at the front setting in incredible pace and a new lap record of 2:11.851.

However, the distinction was short-lived as Grunwell picked up the pace and the record tumbled in his desperation to close on the dominant series newcomer. In the closing seconds of the 10-lap race, he pushed himself and his FB02 to the limit and produced a staggering time of 2:10.637, but Jazeman still crossed the line with a margin of more than two seconds.

Jazeman summed up his weekend in one word: "Excellent!", but it's all change for Formula BMW Asia next month as the series moves to Indonesia's Sentul Circuit for Rounds 9 to 12 on July 21 and 22. The 3.965km track will be new to most of the field, including Jazeman, but Indonesian driver Ali is looking forward to the races for other reasons: "I actually don't really know the Sentul track that well. I know the karting circuit there much better. Most of all though, I'm really hoping my luck changes!" One thing is for sure, there will be no let up in the intense rivalry between Championship leader Jazeman and team mate Grunwell.

-credit: fbmw.asia

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