Hard road ahead but MERITUS-GP still confident SEPANG (APRIL 1, 2010): Seven-times champion MERITUS-GP faces its toughest challenge in the Formula BMW Pacific Series this season, but it is one the team relishes with open arms. Twenty-four ...
Hard road ahead but MERITUS-GP still confident
SEPANG (APRIL 1, 2010): Seven-times champion MERITUS-GP faces its toughest challenge in the Formula BMW Pacific Series this season, but it is one the team relishes with open arms.
Twenty-four drivers representing 13 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America will be on the grid this season, the highest ever participants in the history of the Series.
MERITUS-GP, who have won all seven previous team crowns and six of the seven Drivers' Championships, will have four drivers in the mix this year - Malaysia's Mohd Afiq Ikhwan, who is on a MERITUS-GP scholarship, Colombian sensation Oscar Tunjo, who has been touted as the next Juan Pablo Montoya, Thailand's Pasin Lathouras, who excelled in karting and Indonesia's Dustin Sofyan, who is the only one of the quartet to have featured in the Series before.
Afiq is the oldest at 18, followed by Lathouras, 16, Dustin, 15, and the baby of the team, Tunjo, who just turned 14 in January.
Despite the relatively young ages of his drivers, co-owner and head of driver development, Firhat Mokhzani, said he is confident they can fight for the championship.
He pointed out that last season, MERITUS-GP also fielded a young team with Dustin only 14 and Rio Haryanto, the eventual winner of the Drivers' Championship just 16 when he signed for Asia's most successful motorsports team.
"As I mentioned last year, age is not as important as talent and ability and I believe the quartet posses those two qualities in abundance," said Firhat, who has masterminded all 34 titles the team has won in the past 13 seasons.
"Obviously, we want to retain our two titles as no one enters a competition aiming to lose. Whether we can do so is another matter. Despite our previous successes, I know the team can't take anything for granted. I prefer to let the drivers do the team's talking on the track."
Afiq, who will make his single-seater race debut, has high hopes for the season.
"I'm grateful to Firhat and MERITUS-GP for giving me the opportunity to race in the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific Championship. I have been an ardent supporter of the team and to finally get behind the wheel of a MERITUS-GP car is a dream come true," said Afiq.
The first race of the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific season will flag off on Saturday.