On-form Bamber continues to impress. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Fifteen-year-old Kiwi and Formula BMW Asia Rookie Earl Bamber (Team Meritus) continued to impress today with a convincing win in Round 4 of the series at Malaysia's ...
On-form Bamber continues to impress.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Fifteen-year-old Kiwi and Formula BMW Asia Rookie Earl Bamber (Team Meritus) continued to impress today with a convincing win in Round 4 of the series at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit. It was the second lights-to-flag victory in as many days for Bamber, and the win strengthens his position at the top of the leaderboard. Second after 10 laps of the 5.54km circuit was team mate and BMW Junior James Grunwell (THA), followed by a grimly determined Sam Abay (AUS/Team E-Rain) who crossed the line in a cloud of smoke after his engine -- which he knew was approaching the end of its life -- finally gave out.
Bamber now has a 10 point lead in the championship over Grunwell who moves up from 4th, and Abay's gutsy performance keeps him very much in the running in 3rd. In the Rookie Cup standings, Bamber also leads Grunwell, with BMW Junior Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport), 4th in race, 3rd in the points.
At the start, Bamber once again made a blinding getaway off the grid from pole, but with Grunwell and Abay in hot pursuit. Further down the field, Ricciardo stole the march on BMW Junior Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport) into 4th, while Malaysian hope Aaron Lim (Eurasia Motorsport) was involved in a coming together with Storey, putting him to the back of the field, and sustaining damage to the car which effectively spoiled his chances. Lim did, however, managed to work his way back making up two places to 7th by the flag.
In the closing stages, Indonesian Zahir Ali (Eurasia Motorsport), who had closed the gap to Storey began piling on the pressure. The unflappable Kiwi held firm to finish 5th, refusing to be rattled by the hard-charging Ali.
On the final lap, Abay looked assured of the final podium place when smoke became coming from the car. "It actually started about four laps from the finish," said an ice cool Abay after the race. "I noticed the engine was a lot louder and I began losing power but I kept going. On the last lap, it got really noisy and I saw the oil. Because we were running an engine from last season, my engineer warned me it would go at some point but we didn't know exactly when. However, I had absolute confidence the car would keep going to the end of the race, which it did. It's fine as we'll put a new engine in for the next race this afternoon."
Grunwell as disappointed to have missed out on the win, having made a mistake on lap three when he locked his brakes in the charge to Bamber which, he believes, cost him the race.
Lim, meanwhile, is confident his Eurasia Motorsport team will fix the damage caused by his incident and is aiming for a crowd-pleasing top three in Round 5.