PAC: MeritusGP Okayama race one report

MERITUSGP ON COURSE FOR DOUBLE CELEBRATION IN OKAYAMA OKAYAMA (OCT 31, 2009): Questnet Team Qi-MeritusGP driver Rio Haryanto collected full points for the eighth consecutive race as he moved closer to the Formula BMW Pacific drivers' title at...

MERITUSGP ON COURSE FOR DOUBLE CELEBRATION IN OKAYAMA

OKAYAMA (OCT 31, 2009): Questnet Team Qi-MeritusGP driver Rio Haryanto collected full points for the eighth consecutive race as he moved closer to the Formula BMW Pacific drivers' title at the Okayama International Circuit today.

The 16-year-old from Indonesia only needs two more points to be crowned champion in his debut season with Asia's most successful motorsports team. He now has 208 points with E-Rain's Gary Thompson second with 170 points and Axcil Jefferies third another 30 points behind. MeritusGP's second driver, Dustin Sofyan is fifth in the standings with 76 points. There are only two more races to go before the season ends in Macau on Nov 22.

In the team championship, MeritusGP has collected 311.5 points to zoom ahead of the pack. Next is E-Rain on 262.63 points, followed by Eurasian Motorsport 255.75 points, Team Holzer PFX (156.5 points), Atlantic Racing Team (154.5 points), Ao's Racing Team 78 points and Motaworld Racing and Asia Racing Team with six points each.

Rio, who won six of the opening 12 rounds in this season's championship, finished second to Spain's Facu Regalia in Okayama today but collected full points as the Eurointernational driver is not eligible for any points as he is a guest driver.

A delighted Rio said: "I didn't get off to a good start and while Gary got ahead of me, I was able to stay in P4. Then in the middle of the race, I was able to get by him on the long straight. After that, the car felt better and better and I was able to pull away to finish second. Now, I just need to score two more points tomorrow to be crowned champion."

The race began early at the 3.703 km circuit, as did the on-track action. At Turn 7 on the opening lap, Jefferies and fellow Junior Chris Wootton (Eurasia Motorsport) had a coming together which saw the Australian tumble down the running order. Jefferies and Fahmi Ilyas (E-Rain Racing) were then also involved in an incident, prematurely ending both of their races.

Pole man Regalia easily escaped all the action behind him, and by the third lap had already built a lead of nearly three seconds. The Spaniard, who finished eighth in the 2009 Formula BMW Europe series, crossed the line 5.476 seconds ahead of Haryanto.

Thompson rued his mistake which allowed Rio to pass him down the straight: "I'm never happy with third so I can't say it was a good race. Our race pace wasn't as good as it needed to be and there wasn't anything I could do about losing second. I checked in my mirrors on the straight and thought there was a large enough gap but just as I went to brake, I saw that he was right there and by then it was too late."

-credit: meritus

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Facu Regalia , Chris Wootton , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Dustin Sofyan