With his second win of the weekend at Thunderbolt Raceway, in Millville, NJ, 17-year old Californian Alexander Rossi (Eurointernational) clinched the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship. Rossi is first American to win the title in the five...
With his second win of the weekend at Thunderbolt Raceway, in Millville, NJ, 17-year old Californian Alexander Rossi (Eurointernational) clinched the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship. Rossi is first American to win the title in the five year history of the series and the first driver ever to clinch the championship before the final race of the season.
Winning eight races from eight poles this season Rossi now stands at the top of the Formula BMW Americas record books with 11 career wins and 10 career poles.
Starting from the pole, Rossi won Round 14, finishing 8.6 seconds ahead of Formula BMW Junior and Rookie Mikael Grenier (Apex-HBR Racing Team) in the 17-lap race. Grenier's fourth podium finish of the season moves him back to second in Rookie points. Giancarlo Vilarinho (Eurointernational) finished third, for the young Brazilian's second podium finish of the weekend. Vilarinho set the fastest lap of the race (1:29.128 minutes) on lap 16.
The race began on a damp and muddy track with Rossi getting another excellent start, immediately pulling a gap to the rest of the field. Formula BMW Junior and Rookie Gianmorco Raimondo (Autotecnica), from the fifth starting spot, slid off the track and fell back to the end of the field. He would ultimately finish sixth and retain the lead in the Rookie point standings. Grenier, from fourth, moved past David Ostella (Eurointernational) and Vilarinho by the end of the first lap to hold the second spot. Behind Rossi, Grenier and Vilarinho Apex-HBR Racing teammates Jorge Goncalvez and Formula BMW Junior and Rookie Alexandre Ruiz had the battle of the race with Ruiz getting past Goncalvez on lap 15, holding him off at the checked flag by just .017 seconds, and rounding out the top-five finishers.
With two races remaining, the Rookie title chase continues to be as tight as it has been all year with Raimondo, Grenier, Ruiz and now Vilarinho separated by only 12 points.
An elated Rossi said, "I am struggling to find the words to describe how I feel right now. Relief, joy, happiness and thankfulness are a start. There were some tough moments this season, but a great team behind me got me here. The Championship is clinched. Awesome!"
Grenier said, "It was a really good race. I had a good start and kept pushing. I passed Giancarlo at turn 4 and held on to second. The track was quite wet and dirty so we had to change our line a few times. Today was a good day for Rookie Championship points."
Vilarinho said, "Today the track conditions were more difficult, but my start was good and my lap times were consistent. Thank you to EuroInternational for a very good car."
Antonio Ferrari's Eurointernational wrapped up its third consecutive Team championship since joining the series in 2006, powering Robert Wickens (2006), Daniel Morad (2007) and now Alexander Rossi to the Overall title.
Alfonso Toledano, of Mexico City, Mexico, finished ninth in Round 13 and eighth in Round 14. Racing with Eurointernational this weekend, Toledano is the 99th young driver to have raced in the Formula BMW Americas Championship since the series began in 2004.
The 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship will conclude with Rounds 16 and 17 in support of the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 31 - November 1. <pre> Race - Round 14 - 17 laps
1 Alexander Rossi Eurointernational 25:58.572 2 Mikael Grenier (J, R) Apex-HBR Racing Team 26:07.255 3 Giancarlo Vilarinho (R) Eurointernational 26:14.841 4 Alexandre Ruiz (J, R) Apex-HBR Racing Team 26:18.207 5 Jorge Goncalvez Apex-HBR Racing Team 26:18.224 6 Gianmarco Raimondo (J, R) Autotecnica 26:25.203 7 David Ostella (R) Eurointernational 26:25:760 8 Alfonso Toledano Eurointernational 26:45.078 9 Ricardo Favoretto Autotecnica 27:25.229
J Formula BMW Junior R Rookie
Overall points standings following 14 of 17 Rounds: 1. Rossi 207 2. Favoretto 139 3. Raimondo 116 4. Grenier 111 5. Ruiz 110 6. Vilarinho 104 7. Goncalvez 88 8. Pelletier 77 9. Ostella 57 10. Jovanovic 20 11. Toledano 5 11. Dalenberg 4
Rookie points: 1. Raimondo 116 2. Grenier 111 3. Ruiz 110 4. Vilarinho 104 5. Ostella 57 6. Jovanovic 20
Team Points: 1. Eurointernational 383 2. Apex-HBR Racing Team 279 3. Autotecnica 151 4. Jensen Motorsport 24 </pre> -credit: bmw