Series world newsletter 2009-06-04

Jefferies, Ilyas and Haryanto triumph in Sepang. On 30th/31st May, the participants in the Formula BMW Pacific series took part in four thrilling races at the "Sepang International Circuit". The modern circuit on the outskirts of Kuala ...

Jefferies, Ilyas and Haryanto triumph in Sepang.

On 30th/31st May, the participants in the Formula BMW Pacific series took part in four thrilling races at the "Sepang International Circuit". The modern circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur hosted the championship for the second time this year. This time the main event was not Formula One, but the Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS).

The two rookies Axcil Jefferies (ZW) and Fahmi Ilyas (MY), and Rio Haryanto (ID) all tasted success. Formula BMW Junior Jefferies stood on the top step of the podium on two occasions. In the third race of the season, the 15-year-old sealed victory thanks to a successful overtaking manoeuvre against team-mate Chris Wootton (AU), who had started from pole position. In the fifth race, the youngster led from the start to complete a magnificent win. E-Rain Racing driver Ilyas was not disheartened by his crash in the third race, and fought his way from fourth to first place in the next race. Haryanto from Questnet Team Qi-Meritus crossed the finishing line first for the second time of the season in the final race of the weekend.

Although he left Sepang winless, E-Rain Racing driver Gary Thompson (IE) continues to lead the Rookie Cup and the overall rankings. He claimed three podium finishes in Sepang, taking him to 83 points. Jefferies is in hot pursuit in second place in both classifications on 72 points. Haryanto currently lies in third place overall with 64 points for the Questnet Team Qi-Meritus. In the Rookies standings, Ilyas is in third place.

Hattrick for Vilarinho at "Miller Motorsports Park".

In Formula BMW Americas, Giancarlo Vilarinho (BR) once again proved that he is in impressive form at the "Miller Motorsports Park" in Tooele (US). He started from pole position three times at the "East Course", and on each occasion he maintained this position through to the end of the race. The Eurointernational driver has now won the last five Formula BMW Americas races.

The seventh and final race of the weekend was an extremely tight affair: while Vilarinho was able to pull a mere 0.327 seconds ahead of rival and team-mate Gabby Chaves, the American once again had to fend off Formula BMW Junior Gianmarco Raimondo (Autotecnica) -- as in the two previous races. A hard-fought battle saw Chaves ultimately celebrate second place, which he almost threw away in the heat of the battle: following a safety car phase and the subsequent restart, Chaves lightly touched the rear end of Vilarinho's car, but was able to react quickly and prevent any damage before continuing to take second place. Raimondo finished third to join Vilarinho and Chaves on the podium.

"I tried to work really hard this week with the team and with the car, and it paid off in good results," Vilarinho said. "I like this track a lot. It's really important to manage the tyres here and it suits my style well. I am very happy to take the lead in the championship, but there is a lot more to do this season."

Despite Vilarinho's dominance in Tooele, the top of the Drivers' Championship is still tight. The Brazilian leads on 119 points. However, he is followed by team-mate Gabby Chaves (CO), who also claimed three podium finishes in Utah and is just five points behind Vilarinho. Autotecnica driver Gianmarco Raimondo (CA) lies third on 71 points. A second and two fourth places were sufficient to give Eurointernational's Michael Lewis (US) the lead in the rookie standings ahead of James Kovacic (Team Apex) and Alex Ellis (Autotecnica). The latter lies in sixth place in the Drivers' Championship after seven races, and is the second best Formula BMW Junior after Raimondo.

Formula BMW Europe gets underway with wins for Christensen and Nasr.

As expected, the first two races of the 2009 Formula One season, which shared the bill with the Spanish Grand Prix, were extremely exciting. Danish Formula BMW Junior and "Rookie of the Year 2008" Michael Christensen (Muecke Motorsport) claimed his first ever victory in Formula BMW in the first race, and was joined on the podium by Eurointernational driver Felipe Nasr (BR) and Jazeman Jaafar (MY, Eifelland Racing). "The race was great for me," said Christensen. "I made a good start and after that I made a move on Nasr and then didn't see much of him afterwards. I just tried to do as good a race as possible without any mistakes. It was a perfect race for me."

Nasr's victory in the second race was also his first in Formula BMW Europe. "Now I am completely happy," he said. "It has been an amazing weekend for me and the team, a great start." Second and third places went to Christensen and local boy Daniel Juncadella (ES, Eurointernational).

On 11th/12th June, Formula BMW Europe arrives in Zandvoort for its second race weekend. The event, which shares the bill with the Formula 3 Masters, is the only one on the calendar that is not on the same programme as Formula One. Nasr now has 56 points at the top of the Drivers' Championship, and leads Christensen by two points. They are followed by Juncadella and Robin Frijns (NL, Josef Kaufmann Racing), who are tied in third place. Frijns currently leads the rookie standings.

Before Zandvoort, the nine Formula BMW Europe teams will be testing at the Hungaroring in Budapest (HU) on 20th/21st May, where they will be preparing intensively for the two races in Hungary on 25th/26th July.

Journalists given a taste of Formula BMW.

Formula BMW Junior Robin Frijns was in action after the races in Spain, as he took part in another event for the successful junior series. At Valencia's "Circuit de la Comunitat", he worked together with BMW works driver Joerg Mueller (DE) to train a selection of European sports journalists to drive the FB02 racing car.

The lucky journalists, including representatives from the magazines "kicker", "fit for fun", "Speedweek" and "Formula 1 Netherlands" took part in the programme at the Formula BMW Racing Center. TV journalists were also invited to Valencia. You can view one of the many resulting articles here:

Following the trail of Sebastian Vettel (in German)

The search for new talent continues.

The Formula BMW series are already planning for the coming season. In the Formula BMW Americas, Formula BMW Europe and Formula BMW Pacific series, the licence and scholarship courses for 2010 are just around the corner.

The "Miller Motorsports Park" is the venue for the Formula BMW Americas licence courses for the first time this year. From 8th to 10th July and 17th to 19th August, promising youngsters have the chance to acquire an official international FIA C licence and to state their claim for a place on the scholarship course. Up to four Formula BMW Junior grants, worth 80,000 US Dollars, are up for grabs for the 2010 season. Candidates must have been born before or on 31st December 1994. Each course has a maximum 15 places, and the registration deadline is 26th June 2009.

The two licence courses of Formula BMW Europe will take place at the "Circuit de la Comunidad" in Valencia on August 4th to 5th and August 6th to 7th and each course has a capacity for up to 24 participants. Up to five young talents will be finally awarded a scholarship, worth up to 75.000 Euro for the 2010 season.

In Formula BMW Pacific, the combined licence and scholarship courses take place on 1st/2nd September 2009 at the "Sepang International Circuit". Financial support for the 2010 season, worth 50,000 Euros, is also on offer here -- as is an automatic place on the BMW Motorsport Education and Training Programme.

If interested, please contact:

Formula BMW Americas Series Manager Randy Biggs,
randy.biggs@partner.formulabmw.com

Formula BMW Europe Series Manager Adrienne Watson,
Adrienne.watson@partner.formulabmw.com

Formula BMW Pacific Series Manager Mark Turner,
mark.turner@partner.formulabmw.com

-credit: fbmw

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Michael Lewis , Sebastian Vettel , Jazeman Jaafar , Michael Christensen , Daniel Juncadella , Giancarlo Vilarinho , Chris Wootton , Gianmarco Raimondo , Robin Frijns , Axcil Jefferies , Fahmi Ilyas , Gary Thompson , James Kovacic , Felipe Nasr , Joerg Mueller , Gabby Chaves