Strong performance of Asia Racing Team in Okayama
Asia Racing Team's Yuichi Nakayama finished 3rd in the Race 2 of the Formula BMW Pacific in Okayama, after setting the Pole-Position time and being stripped of Race 1 victory, while his teammate Ryo Hirakawa debuted in the series with an impressive 4th position in Race 2.
Asia Racing Team's analysis after the turbulent penultimate event of the Formula BMW Pacific 2010 had two sides. While the team wasn't satisfied with the exclusion of the Race 1 winner car due to an unintentional differential assembly mistake, which in this case doesn't offer any advantage, the cars' performance compared to the pace displayed at earlier Formula BMW Pacific races this year, gave everyone reason for optimism ahead of the home race at Macau.
Making his Formula BMW Pacific first appearance at his home race at the 3.7 km Okayama International Circuit, Nakayama earned his maiden pole position for Saturday's Round 13 in support of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. With six minutes on the clock, Nakayama, recently crowned Formula Challenge Japan champion, put in his fastest lap of the session which could not be bettered. Hirakawa was on top form on Saturday's morning too, and set the 6th quickest time.
Race 1 saw Nakayama come up with a superlative effort as he cruised to a very comfortable win, but the Japanese driver was subsequently excluded due to a technical infringement. Starting from the pitlane, after an impressive 6th best time on qualifying, Hirakawa finished 11th. The 16 years old driver from Hiroshima railed seven positions from the back of the field until one opponent had forced him off the track.
Race 2 saw another strong performance of Asia Racing Team's Japanese duo. Nakayama lost his third spot in the grid at the start but the 19 years old driver from Tokyo never gives up. He captured 3rd and embarked on a fierce and fair battle for the second place with 2010 Formula BMW Pacific champion Richard Bradley. Nakayama also registered the best lap in the race. Showing his great potential Hirakawa climbed two positions up during the 30 minutes race, from 6th to 4th at the checkered flag.
Speaking about his race weekend, Nakayama said, "I was here [at Okayama] two years ago to do some testing, but this is both the first time I've raced here and been a part of Formula BMW Pacific. I've only seen Formula BMW before on video games and my performance this weekend was much better than expected. I'm really happy to have been the quickest in qualifying. It was quite a shame to be disqualified from Saturday's race, but on Sunday's race I switched on again and I told myself that today would be a good practice for Macau. This was a motivation for me. I've really enjoyed my experience and I look forward to continuing to see what I can achieve, hopefully a podium in Macau."
Teammate Hirakawa added, "It was the first time I drove a Formula BMW, a different car to handle compared to the Formula Challenge Japan car that I am used to drive. This race was a preparation for Macau Grand Prix and I'm happy with my overall result. On Race 1 James Birch pushed me out of the track when I was climbing positions from a pitlane start. In Race 2 I was able to show my speed and finished much better than expected in the beginning of the weekend. This race was a good training for Macau ."
Round 15, the final Formula BMW Pacific race, will be run at the 57th Macau Grand Prix from November 18-21, Asia Racing Team home ground.