Formula BMW Europe heads back to Spain. Munich. For the second time this season Spain is hosting Formula BMW Europe, but this time it is on the streets of Valencia. As this is the only circuit where testing is not possible, the Rookies will have...
Formula BMW Europe heads back to Spain.
Munich. For the second time this season Spain is hosting Formula BMW Europe, but this time it is on the streets of Valencia. As this is the only circuit where testing is not possible, the Rookies will have a steep learning curve to familiarise themselves by foot with the 5.440 kilometre circuit ahead of their first track session on Friday.
The two drivers who have dominated the top step of the podium at the first four races of the season are Jack Harvey (GB/Fortec Motorsports) and Robin Frijns (NL/Josef Kaufmann Racing). Last year they were fighting for the Rookie Cup, but now they are fighting for the overall title. Currently Harvey is in the lead with 91 points, but it is another Rookie from last year, Timmy Hansen (SE/Mucke Motorsport), who is second on 87 points thanks to a very consistent start to the year with two seconds, a third and a fourth. Frijns is third with 78, while BMW Junior driver Carlos Sainz (ES/Eurointernational) is just four points behind him in fourth and obviously the top Rookie.
Being local will not help at this street track, however, the other Spanish driver, Javier Tarancon (DAMS), will have a slight advantage over Sainz as he raced in the series last year. There is one newcomer to Formula BMW Europe who will also have an advantage, as Fahmi Ilyas (MY/DAMS) is very pleased the one event he took part in as a guest driver when racing in the Pacific series last year was Valencia. "I found the track good and, even though it is a street circuit, it is quite wide. However, I did have an incident where I hit the wall so they are still quite close to the track. I did well last year despite just being a guest driver, and this year the car is good, the team is good and hopefully we can have a good result here," he said.
The Valencia track gets the thumbs up from Facu Regalia (AR/Eifelland Racing) and George Katsinis (GR/Fortec Motorsports), with both of them saying this is one of their favourite circuits. Also on the list of people who like the track is Côme Ledogar (FR/Eifelland Racing), who said: "The track is in the city so a street one, but it is wide so you can overtake easily. I am confident for this race because the Eifelland car is very good. I know this track so I can be faster in free practice compared to the Rookie drivers. Normally street circuits are different, but not in Valencia because it is wide and so not like Monaco and Pau. It is like a normal circuit."
There will be one big difference between Valencia in 2008 and 2009 and the race this year. It is being held two months earlier, which hopefully means it will be considerably cooler, as last year in qualifying the air temperature was 27 degrees Celsius and the track temperature 40 degrees Celsius. This change of date also means Valencia will host rounds five and six rather than rounds 11 and 12.
The city of Valencia is located on the East Coast of Spain on the Mediterranean and is a popular holiday destination. However, it really shot to fame when it was chosen as the first ever European venue for the America's Cup yacht race in 2007. It is situated approximately 350 kilometres from both Madrid and Barcelona and is home to 800,000 inhabitants.
The first time the drivers will get the chance to drive on the Valencia street circuit is on free practice on Friday morning from 08.50 to 09.15. Qualifying is then the same day from 12.50 to 13.15. The first of the two 10 lap races is on Saturday at 09.45 and race two is on Sunday at 08.30.
-source: fbmw eu