AP: Sepang round one qualifying notes

Abay takes first pole of 2006 season. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Australian Sam Abay (Team E-Rain) took pole position for Round 1 of Formula BMW Asia today at the Malaysian Grand Prix, making his mark with a phenomenal lap of 2:12.196, 0.281...

Abay takes first pole of 2006 season.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Australian Sam Abay (Team E-Rain) took pole position for Round 1 of Formula BMW Asia today at the Malaysian Grand Prix, making his mark with a phenomenal lap of 2:12.196, 0.281 ahead of his nearest challenger. Although the 18-year-old from Melbourne topped the times after the 30 minute session, the six fastest drivers were all within a single second, indicating a close and exciting season ahead.

Impressively, second and third fastest were Rookie and BMW Juniors James Grunwell (THA/Team Meritus) 17, and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport), 16.

Earl Bamber (15/Team Meritus) was the fastest of the two Kiwi newcomers in 4th, with the second, Rookie and BMW Junior Dominic Storey (16/Eurasia Motorsport), starting from 7th on the grid. Hamed Al Fardan (BRN/Team Meritus), making a one-off return to the series this weekend having finished third in the championship last year, clocked the 5th quickest time and struggled slightly to get to grips with the car after a break of several months.

Indonesia's Zahir Ali (Eurasia Motorsport) was 6th fastest with best lap of 2:12.829.

Said a confident Abay, making his Asian debut this weekend: "I made a mistake on my flying lap, but I did think I would be on pole. I just need to convert it to a win now!"

The first to record a lap in under 2:13 was Grunwell, however Abay was quick to rise to the challenge and bettered the Thai's time. Ricciardo also broke into the 2:12's with two blinding laps in succession, having slowly built up his times.

Flying the flag for Malaysia this weekend is Aaron Lim (Eurasia Motorsport). Lim will have his work cut out starting from 10th on the grid after suffering a brake problem, but the talented youngster is ready to put his best wheel forward.

A second qualifying session follows this afternoon, with Round 1 of Formula BMW Asia held over 10 laps of the 5.6km Sepang International Circuit.

-fbmw-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Daniel Ricciardo , Aaron Lim , Zahir Ali , Sam Abay , Earl Bamber , Dominic Storey