PAC: Series Okayama race one report

Victory for Regalia as Haryanto closes in on 2009 title. Okayama, Japan -- Facu Regalia (ESP/17/Eurointernational) took a comfortable lights-to-flag Formula BMW Pacific victory in Round 13 at the Okayama International Circuit today, in support...

Victory for Regalia as Haryanto closes in on 2009 title.

Okayama, Japan -- Facu Regalia (ESP/17/Eurointernational) took a comfortable lights-to-flag Formula BMW Pacific victory in Round 13 at the Okayama International Circuit today, in support of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Finishing second was current Drivers Classification leader Rio Haryanto (INA/16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus), who now has the 2009 title within reach, and Rookie Cup leader Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) taking the final podium spot.

As a guest driver, Regalia is not eligible to score points, meaning Haryanto takes maximum points for the eighth straight race, a streak that began in late May at the Sepang International Circuit. With just two races of the 2009 season remaining -- Sunday's Round 14 and the season finale at the Macau Grand Prix -- Haryanto now has 38-points lead in the title chase. Thompson is second in the Drivers Classification, while Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZIM/15/Eurasia Motorsport) lies third overall.

If Haryanto scores eighth-place points or better tomorrow, and Thompson does not win, the talented Indonesian will clinch the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific title.

Scoring his best finish to date was Formula BMW Pacific Junior Steel Guiliana (AUS/17/Atlantic Racing Team), crossing the line in fifth and earning third-place points, behind guest driver Michael Lewis (USA/18/ Eurointernational). Japan's Daiki Sasaki (18/Eurasia Motorsport) moved up eight places during the race to finish eighth on his Formula BMW Pacific debut.

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 (AUS/20/Eurasia Motorsport) had a coming together which saw the Australian tumble down the running order. Jefferies and Fahmi Ilyas (MAS/17/E-Rain Racing) were then also involved in an incident, prematurely ending both of their races. Jefferies's team mate Wootton worked his way back up to finish ninth overall.

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.

While Thompson got off to a strong start, moving up from fourth to second on the opening lap, he was unable to maintain the position, and mid-way through the race was overtaken by Haryanto on the long straight.

Guiliana got off to a rocky start and fell two positions to ninth. But on-track incidents allowed him to gain four positions to fifth. From there, Guiliana faced pressure from Akhil Khushlani (IND/19/E-Rain Racing), but some smart driving gave him breathing space, and allowed him to build a 1.3 second gap by the end of the race.

Sunday's Round 14 will also be held at the Okayama International Circuit in support of the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Round 13 Drivers' Quotes:

1st Facu Regalia: "It's a fantastic result. I am really happy I could put a good pace right from the beginning to the final. The team really had the car in perfect condition. I didn't have the best start, but then I recovered straight away and was able to escape the pressure from Rio and Gary so there was not really any pressure on me during the race at all."

2nd Rio Haryanto: "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 some points tomorrow."

3rd Gary Thompson: "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."

Top Formula BMW Pacific Junior Steel Guiliana: "It's definitely a good feeling. I've worked very hard for this. I was fortunate at the start, but then I think I drove a mature race. I was under some strong pressure from Akhil, but I think I defended well. Tomorrow I'll try to get a better start and try and get into the mix a little more."

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Michael Lewis , Akhil Khushlani , Facu Regalia , Chris Wootton , Axcil Jefferies , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Steel Guiliana , Daiki Sasaki