PAC: Round six Sepang race report

McDonagh scores maiden win. Sepang, Malaysia -- American Sean McDonagh (18/Team E-Rain) triumphed in the wet today to take his first Formula BMW Pacific victory in Round 6, seizing the lead from team mate and winner of Round 5, Ryuichi Nara ...

McDonagh scores maiden win.

Sepang, Malaysia -- American Sean McDonagh (18/Team E-Rain) triumphed in the wet today to take his first Formula BMW Pacific victory in Round 6, seizing the lead from team mate and winner of Round 5, Ryuichi Nara of Japan (19). Guest driver Kazeem Manzur (16/GBR/Mahara) took the final podium place, setting the fastest lap of the race.

Formula BMW Junior Marlon Stockinger (17/PHI/Eurasia Motorsport) was 4th overall, taking his second Rookie Cup win of the weekend. Arvin Roslan (18/Mahara) was the top Malaysian finisher, crossing the line in 5th.

Championship leader going in to Round 6, Hong Kong's Ross Jamison (18/Meritus), ended his race unhurt but in the barrier after an error while leading the race. Despite this, Jamison still leads the Driver Classification with 82 points, but McDonagh's win promotes him to 2nd on the leaderboard just 11 points behind. Formula BMW Junior Simon Moss (16/RSA/Mahara) is now third in the Driver Classification, and holds his lead in the Rookie Cup ahead of Stockinger.

Starting from pole, McDonagh lost the advantage off the start, and Jamison led the field in to turn one. However, the Team E-Rain pair were right on the pace in 2nd and 3rd.

Meanwhile, Moss, who had started from the back of the grid his team having worked overnight to replace a cracked monocoque, was up to 8th position on the opening lap, but had a coming together with fellow scholarship driver Chris Wootton (19/AUS/Meritus), who had started from 4th.

Nara made a move on team mate McDonagh in the second lap, going up to 2nd, and giving Team E-Rain boss Hongsik Jeon a few tense moments, but the following lap was even more dramatic. Jamison made his uncharacteristic error, crashing out, and Nara looked all set for a second win.

Behind them, Gabby Chaves (14/COL/Atlantic Racing Team) and Manzur were on a charge, passing Malaysia's Dominic Ang (18/MAS/Team Holzer PFX) who had been running in 4th. The pair closed the gap to the leading Team E-Rain duo, and the four cars began pulling away from the pack, Chaves and Manzur fighting all the way for that final podium place.

On lap 6, McDonagh made his move on Nara and a textbook pass saw him grab the lead cleanly and skilfully. Chaves was displaying some superb defensive skills keeping Manzur at bay, as the leader pulled out a gap from Nara at the front.

Manzur made yet another attempt to pass the Colombian mid-way through the 20-lap race, and this time the pair touched, with Chaves spinning and dropping down the field to where Wootton and Moss were on their way up.

As McDonagh pulled away at the front, Manzur had closed the gap to Nara and was trying to pile on the pressure to the Japanese, with absolutely no success. He made two final attempts to get by the determined Nara on the final lap, but it was to be a triumphant one-two finish for Team E-Rain.

McDonagh was doubly thrilled to have bagged his first victory, having seen his team mate Nara take the win yesterday, and he didn't back off once despite his comfortable lead. "I knew I had the pace from the start. I made sure I didn't lose any ground so if I had made a mistake, I had some margin. It's the first time I've raced on the North track in the wet, and I was pleasantly surprised. Everything is just clicking now, and really coming together."

Stockinger put in another excellent performance, and is gaining in confidence with each outing: "I couldn't engage first gear at the start, so I dropped to the back -- I went from 7th on the grid to last in about 20 metres! I was lucky as there were some incidents in front of me, and I made some smart overtaking moves. It was really enjoyable and I think I'm making progress. It helps build my morale and I can look towards the front of the field with confidence."

McDonagh's win, which is the first victory for an American in Asian Formula BMW, also means he will start this afternoon's final race of the weekend, Round 7, from pole position, with team mate Nara alongside him. The stage is set for an exciting grand finale to the thrilling five-race weekend at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.

-credit: fmbw pac

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ross Jamison , Sean McDonagh , Kazeem Manzur , Arvin Roslan , Marlon Stockinger , Dominic Ang , Simon Moss , Chris Wootton , Ryuichi Nara , Gabby Chaves