Haryanto clinches 2009 Formula BMW Pacific title in Japan. Okayama, Japan -- Rio Haryanto (16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) was today crowned the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific champion after the young Indonesian finished second in Round 14 at the Okayama...
Haryanto clinches 2009 Formula BMW Pacific title in Japan.
Okayama, Japan -- Rio Haryanto (16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) was today crowned the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific champion after the young Indonesian finished second in Round 14 at the Okayama International Circuit in support of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Guest driver Facu Regalia (ESP/17/Eurointernational) took a second consecutive lights-to-flag victory, finishing 21.681 seconds ahead of Haryanto and James Kovacic (AUS/16/Eurointernational) in a wet 12-lap race.
The 2009 Formula BMW Pacific team championship and Rookie Cup were also decided in Okayama, with Questnet Team Qi-Meritus taking the team honours and Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) winning the Rookie Cup.
With guest drivers not eligible to score points, Haryanto clinched the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Drivers Classification by earning maximum points in each of the last nine races -- a winning streak that began in late May at the Sepang International Circuit. Consistency was also key in the race for the Rookie Cup title, with Thompson taking nine podium finishes in the first ten races of the season.
Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZIM/15/Eurasia Motorsport) finished second in the Rookie Cup and third in the overall Drivers Classification.
With heavy rain prior to and during the race, Round 14 began under the Safety Car for the opening two laps. After the Safety Car came in and racing got underway, Regalia pulled away and set about putting a distance between him and the chasing pack. At the half-way point, he had an impressive margin of 14.465 seconds from Haryanto, in just the second wet race of his career. Haryanto started from second on the grid, and maintained his position throughout, despite making a braking error early in the race and spinning.
The inclement weather may have been of benefit to Kovacic, who said that he knew he could do well in the rain, despite qualifying near the back of the field. An error early in the race put him at the back of the running, but the Australian steadily worked his way up through the field. On the final lap, he managed to edge past Calvin Wong (MAS/17/Team Holzer PFX) to grab the last podium spot.
Despite just missing the podium, Wong matched his highest finish of the season, and for the first time in 2009 scored second-place points.
Though he sealed the Rookie Cup title, Thompson's race did not go as planned. After the Safety Car pulled off, the Irishman, starting from third, spun and fell to the back of the field. He worked his way up into sixth place, one ahead of Jefferies who faced a similar fate in the race after an early spin.
Formula BMW Junior Steel Guiliana (AUS/17/Atlantic Racing Team) finished tenth overall in what has been his best overall weekend of the season, while fellow Junior Chris Wootton (AUS/20/Eurasia Motorsport) was eighth.
With Drivers Classification, Rookie Cup and team titles all decided in Okayama, the talented field now looks forward to a truly competitive race in the season finale on the demanding Guia street circuit at the Macau Grand Prix later this month.
Formula BMW Pacific Drivers' Quotes:
2009 Drivers Classification Winner Rio Haryanto: "I'm very happy, it's been a very long season, a very tough season and to win is just fantastic. Honestly, I didn't think I would earn maximum points for nine straight races, but after Sepang and winning four races in Indonesia, it just kept going. Macau is an interesting track and there will be some really good drivers there so I will try my best. Now I have nothing to lose, so I will go all-out and try to get onto the podium."
2009 Rookie Cup Winner Gary Thompson: "I would say the year has been successful, to win the Rookie Cup and finish second in the Drivers Classification, but as a racing driver I don't think I can be fully happy with being second. I was consistent for a good part of the year, but then I probably made too many mistakes. However, now with everything sewn up, I can go to Macau and just go for it. There is nothing to lose."
Round 14: Winner Facu Regalia: "I'm incredibly happy today, the car was perfect and after the Safety Car came in I could push, I had great pace and really all weekend long I have had a good feeling with the car. It's amazing that I finished with such a large margin. This is only my second race in wet conditions and honestly I didn't expect to have a 21 second advantage over the second driver."
Round 14: 3rd place James Kovacic: "I had a bad start to the weekend as I wasn't totally comfortable with the car and had a poor qualifying session. For today's race, I knew I would be good in the wet and I was happy with my start, but then made a crucial error at the hairpin. I was at the back of the field and then just put my head down because I knew I didn't want to finish last. I passed really well throughout the race and wasn't sure when the last lap would be, but I closed in just in time."
Round 14: Top Rookie Calvin Wong: "First I'm happy to have won the second-place points, but I am disappointed that I was passed on the last lap of the race. It was a good race for me other than the last lap as after the Safety Car I was able overtake some drivers and then also moved up as some other drivers spun. I saw James behind me and pushed hard, but he was able to get by me just the same."