SEVENTH HEAVEN FOR FIRHAT AND MERITUSGP KUALA LUMPUR (NOV 3, 2009): Firhat Mokhzani is no stranger to success. The owner of MeritusGP, Asia's most successful motorsports team, has been behind every one of the team's 34 international titles in...
SEVENTH HEAVEN FOR FIRHAT AND MERITUSGP
KUALA LUMPUR (NOV 3, 2009): Firhat Mokhzani is no stranger to success. The owner of MeritusGP, Asia's most successful motorsports team, has been behind every one of the team's 34 international titles in the past 13 years, but even he took some time to savour the latest two crowns in MeritusGP's trophy cabinet.
On a bleak and gloomy rainy day at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan, on Sunday, the future of Questnet Team Qi-MeritusGP shone brightly as it clinched its seventh consecutive Formula BMW Pacific team title while 16-year-old Rio Haryanto won the driver's crown.
It was brilliant achievement for the Malaysian team as many had doubted its strategy of going for two young drivers would pay off. But the gamble proved worth while as Rio won six of the first 10 races of the season, including five on a bounce. Rio's winning streak came to an end when the guest drivers from Eurointernational, made up of Formula BMW Europe and Formula BMW Americas champions entered the last four rounds.
Rio, however, scored maximum points in those four races as guest drivers are not eligible to collect points. He finished second three times and fifth once. His partner, 14-year-old Dustin Sofyan collected points in 13 of the 14 races. There is one only more race in Macau on Nov 22.
"This year's victory is probably the sweetest of all as not many expected MerituGP to continue its winning tradition," said a delighted Firhat. "We knew it would be a big risk fielding drivers who are only 14 and 16 but we could see their talent right from day one.
"It was a tremendous team effort and I must congratulate the 100 per cent Malaysian crew, who proved once again that they are the best in the business."
Firhat said Rio actually surpassed his expectations by winning so many races and showed just what he is capable of when he gave the Formula BMW Europe and Americas drivers a run for their money.
As for Dustin, Firhat said: "Dustin actually did quite a good job as he scored points in 13 of the 14 races. People forget he is still very young and I'm more than happy with his contribution to the team. I believe he will become an even better driver next year, after having a season under his belt."