PAC: Series Macau GP preview

Formula BMW Pacific set for Macau Grand Prix showdown. Macau, China -- With a bumper field of some of the world's best junior single-seater talent, the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season finale at the Macau Grand Prix is one of the most ...

Formula BMW Pacific set for Macau Grand Prix showdown.

Macau, China -- With a bumper field of some of the world's best junior single-seater talent, the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season finale at the Macau Grand Prix is one of the most eagerly-anticipated races of the year. From November 19-22, 24 drivers from around the world will gather to compete on the iconic - and challenging - Guia street circuit.

After making a successful debut at the Macau Grand Prix last year, Formula BMW Pacific returns in 2009 for a 10-lap race on the 6.2km track.

The race has particular significance for the young drivers as it represents a valuable opportunity to compete on the same circuit as that which hosts the FIA Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup.

All the Formula BMW Pacific drivers competing this weekend will hope to one day be invited back to compete in the headlining Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. Briton Alexander Sims and Japan's Yuji Kunimoto, both of whom competed in the inaugural Formula BMW Pacific race at Macau in 2008 -- where Kunimoto finished fifth -- will return to Macau in this year to contest the unofficial world cup of Formula 3.

With the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Drivers Classification, Rookie Cup and Team Championship determined during last month's two races in Okayama, Japan, Round 15 of the 2009 season is expected to be the most competitive to date, as both series regulars and numerous guest drivers arrive in Macau with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Newly-crowned Drivers Classification winner Rio Haryanto (INA/16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) is an obvious favourite to take the Formula BMW Pacific honours heading at Macau. The Indonesian earned the 2009 title by taking first-place points in each of the last nine races, a winning streak which began in May. Rookie Cup winner Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) is another driver to watch for. Thompson finished second in the overall Drivers Classification, one ahead of Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZIM/15/Eurasia Motorsport), runner-up in the Rookie Cup.

Formula BMW Pacific Juniors Chris Wootton (AUS/20/Eurasia Motorsport) and Steel Guiliana (AUS/18/Atlantic Racing Team) are both hoping to end their season on a high note. The hard-working Guiliana arrives in Macau having earned his best result of the season, a fifth-place in Japan, while Wootton will have the advantage as one of just six entrants to have experienced the Guia Circuit last year.

The series regulars will be challenged by some top talent from Europe and the Americas, including 2009 Formula BMW Europe Drivers Classification winner Felipe Nasr (BRA/17/Eurointernational), who also won the two Formula BMW Pacific races in support of the 2009 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.

Nasr will be joined by teammates Jim Pla (FRA/17) and William Buller (GBR/17) who finished 5th and 10th respectively in Formula BMW Europe this year. Also on the Eurointernational team is Facu Regalia (ESP/17), the winner of Rounds 13 and 14 at Japan's Okayama International Circuit last month.

Making a welcome return to the region is 2007 Formula BMW Asia series winner Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/17/Raikkonen Robertson Racing), who this year finished ninth in the Formula BMW Europe Drivers Classification.

Representing host Macau is local racing outfit Asia Racing Team, whose drivers Suriya Bala Kerisnan Thevar (SIN/15), who will compete on the Guia Circuit for the first time, while Alon Day (ISR/18) returns for a second year. Hong Kong's Jim Ka To (24/Champ Motorsport) and Paul Lau (Eurasia Motorsport) will represent the neighbouring city, while Cao Hong Wei (16/Ao's Racing Team) flies the flag for mainland China.

The season finale will also be an opportunity for the BMW Motorsport family to celebrate the achievements of former Eurasia Motorsport driver and 2006 Formula BMW Asia Junior Daniel Ricciardo.

The 20-year old Australian is just the second ever driver from the Asia-Pacific series to earn a Formula 1 test, which is scheduled for December with Red Bull at Jerez in Spain.

Ricciardo will arrive in Macau not only as the reigning British Formula 3 champion, but also as a favourite to win the Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Paul Lau , Daniel Ricciardo , Jazeman Jaafar , Facu Regalia , Chris Wootton , Alexander Sims , Yuji Kunimoto , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Steel Guiliana , Felipe Nasr , Alon Day , Jim Ka To