Second half of the season starts in Hungary.

Munich, 29 July 2008. Formula BMW Europe will be staging the ninth and tenth rounds of the season this coming weekend (1-3 August) against the backdrop of the Formula One Grand Prix in Budapest/Hungary. Dominating the junior series at present is Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing), who has collected 226 points after eight out of 16 rounds to secure a commanding lead in the overall rankings. "My ultimate goal is the title," says the 16-year-old with confidence. He aims to expand his string of victories on the Hungaroring.

The race track is located in a valley 19 kilometres from the centre of Budapest. With soaring summer temperatures anticipated, the Hungaroring will prove a real challenge for the junior racing drivers. There are 14 corners in quick succession to be negotiated, and the young contestants will barely have a chance to catch their breath as the straights are very short. There are only a few overtaking opportunities on this tricky 4.381-kilometre circuit. Only the start-finish straight offers a realistic chance of getting past another driver - which means a good starting position on the grid is a crucial factor in winning.

The two rounds in Budapest mark the start of the second half of the Formula BMW Europe season. Second-placed Adrien Tambay (FR/Eifelland Racing, 180 points) initially took the lead after the first race weekend in Barcelona, claiming two wins and two pole positions. Towards the halfway mark, however, Gutierrez's strengths increasingly came to the fore. He has recently consolidated his ascendancy with six consecutive wins at the events in Zolder, Silverstone and Hockenheim. German driver Marco Wittmann (Josef Kaufmann Racing) has been steadily picking up points and currently lies third in the overall rankings (150 points).

While Gutierrez and Tambay have shared all the wins between them up to now, performance in qualifying has been somewhat more balanced: Spaniard Daniel Juncadella (Eurointernational) made his mark in Zolder with two pole positions, his compatriot Ramon Pineiro (Fortec Motorsport) had two starts from the front row of the grid in Silverstone, while qualifying in Hockenheim was monopolised by the eventual winner Esteban Gutierrez.

-credit: fbmw eu