AP: Team Meritus rounds 7, 8 Beijing summary

Marchy Lee extends his lead in Formula BMW Asia Monarch Lubricants Redbull Team Meritus driver Marchy Lee Yin Kin moved even further ahead in the AFOS Formula BMW Asia standings this weekend, after taking his seventh straight win at the...

Marchy Lee extends his lead in Formula BMW Asia

Monarch Lubricants Redbull Team Meritus driver Marchy Lee Yin Kin moved even further ahead in the AFOS Formula BMW Asia standings this weekend, after taking his seventh straight win at the Goldenport International Circuit in Beijing, China. Former Meritus driver Hanss Lin Po-Heng (Belgravia Motorsports) was second in the morning race (round 7), and first in the afternoon race (round 8). Lee's Meritus team mate Mehdi Bennani (MOR) finished behind Lin in the afternoon, while Korean driver Kyong-Ouk You (BMW Korea E-Rain) continues his consistent form by taking third in both rounds.

It was a bitter sweet weekend for Chinese racing sensation Marchy Lee Yin-Kin (HKG) at what he considers one of his home races. He reached the halfway mark of the season with a perfect winning record (7 rounds), but contact with Lin in the afternoon race caused him to spin out down to seventh place.

"I was side by side with Hanss in the first lap, so I backed off and let him through because I didn't want to have an accident so early in the race, and I knew I could catch him later on. I caught up with him soon after that, and pulled up alongside him again, but he moved across and we touched twice. I still got passed him and was pulling away, but in the next corner I turned in and the car just spun out because there was some damage to the front wheel," said Lee.

Lee eventually fought his way back up to fifth, just ahead of his other team mate Nik Iruwan (MAL). Iruwan had his best race weekend so far, with two seventh place finishes. This is the young rookie's first season in car racing, after much success in karts. In both races he was up to fourth place which shows he has the pace to run with the best, but the mental strains of battling for the top spots took its toll towards the ends of the races when a few minor mistakes dropped him back. This is due to his inexperience with gear changes, and will certainly improve as everything becomes more instinctive the more he races.

"I'm really happy I could prove that I have the speed to be near the top. I just made a few mistakes with down-changes and lost places. Myself and the team are very pleased with the weekend, and I am continuously improving as the season progresses. I hope to finish in the top five very soon," said Iruwan.

Meritus won all categories in the morning race, with fastest driver (Lee), fastest Rookie (Bennani) and fastest Junior Scholarship driver (Iruwan). Bennani has shown a huge improvement since joining Meritus after the first two rounds, and is putting on a hard charge in the championship.

"This was a very good race for me, because I have never driven this circuit before and the others have, and I still came second. I was disappointed to spin in the first race because I could have been on the podium twice, but this is racing and I just have to keep on trying," said Bennani after the afternoon race.

Lee is still confident about the rest of the season despite this glitch in his winning streak. "Of course I wish I could have won this afternoon too, especially since I was leading, but accidents happen, and I have a strong lead in the championship. I have to keep pushing for the rest of the season, and hopefully we will come out on top," said Lee.

Meritus have been in Asia since 1996, and have helped countless young Asian drivers step up into international racing, including 3 drivers that have tested or raced in F1, the most famous being Takuma Sato (BAR Honda). As motorsports continues to develop in the region, Meritus sees even greater talent emerging in the future.

"Year after year we discover incredible talent in Asia, and it is very rewarding to nurture that talent and help it develop into a world-class racing driver. With motorsports booming in China and the Middle East, we're expecting a massive influx in eager youngsters into the sport, and we are putting programs into place to give these youngsters the best possible opportunities," said Peter Thompson, Founder and President of Meritus Racing.

The team is in the process of setting up driver training programs with partners in China and the Middle East, where novices can be introduced to motor racing in a safe, controlled environment, under the expert supervision of Meritus personnel. This allows the beginners and instructors to discover any natural talent, and then help them prepare for the step up into a racing series such as Formula BMW Asia.

-www.MeritusRacing.com

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Takuma Sato , Marchy Lee , Lin Po-Heng