ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SEASON FOR MERITUS
SUCCESS and Meritus go hand-in-hand. In a year when there were many new champions in most motor racing categories, be it on two wheels or four, around the world, the Meritus brand has continued to prosper in Asia
Five Asian titles this season make Meritus the team all drivers dream of joining.
James Grunwell delivered the latest titles to the Malaysian-based team when he was crowned champion in the Formula V6 Asia in Shanghai, China over the weekend.
The British driver, who was born in Holland but races out of Thailand, won three of the last four races of the Formula V6 Asian season to pip The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus team mate Bamber to the title.
Grunwell finished with 133 points, while Bamber ended with 105 despite not competing in the last four races. The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus also took the team championship with 235 points, 79 more than their rivals. These two championships were the 31st and 32nd that the Meritus team have won in 12 years.
"It feels good to win the Championship but I am disappointed at the way the last race went. We went one way with the setup, but for the conditions it was a bit difficult to choose what to do. Then it started pouring right before the start. That was not what we needed because it was drying up two to three hours before the race so we thought it would keep drying up, so when it rained it made the car difficult to drive. It was a gamble that didn't pay off.
"I'm happy with the way the weekend went. Three out of four is not too bad and being the Formula V6 Asia Champion is good to have on your resume because a lot of good drivers have come out of this Series" said Grunwell.
Meritus, who have dominated the Formula BMW Pacific for the last six years, made it another clean sweep this season when Ross Jamison clinched the drivers' title with 222 points. Simon Moss took the rookie driver of the year award with 132 points to finish third overall. In the team category, Meritus collected 378 points, a massive 99 points ahead of their closest rivals.
The focus is now on the GP2 Asia series with sensational young driver, Earl Bamber of New Zealand and Malaysia's only Formula 1 pilot Alex Yoong leading the way for My Qi-Meritus.Mahara.
In the team's first outing of the new season in China in October, Bamber earned points in both the sprint and main races, including a podium finish in the sprint event. In doing so, Bamber, 18, became the youngest ever driver to finish inside the top three of a GP2 race.
Bamber has continued to impress in other series as well. He was on the podium in his first three A1 GP races for his home country while he has also competed in International Formula Master, Formula Master Italy, the Australian Formula 3 Championship, Formula V6 Asia and Toyota Racing Series New Zealand.
Yoong had a mixed start to his season but it was understandable as he had been out of racing for most of the year. With more time racing and several test drives in other series like Speedcar, the Malaysian is expected to be among those challenging for the race lead from now on.
"We have the right combination of youth and experience for the GP2 team," said team founder, Peter Thompson.
"Alex and Earl know each other so well and in fact, Alex was Earl's first ever driver coach. They work well together and are determined to help us to the team championship.
"I'm actually quite excited to be back in Dubai. We have a special relationship with the people here and the support we get from the fans is phenomenal."
The second leg of the GP2 Asia series is on Dec 6.
Formula V6 Asia
Driver standings (Top five)
1. James Grunwell (The Pizza Company Qi-Meritus, Thailand) 133
2. Earl Bamber (The Pizza Company Qi-Meritus,New Zealand) 105
3. Isaiah-Ro Charlez (Black Tara, Australia) 85
4. Mark Williamson (Team TARADTM, Australia) 79
5. Hafiz Koh (Team TARADTN, Singapore) 77
Team standings(Top five)
1. The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus 235
2. Team TARADTM 156
3. Black Tara 142
4. Champ Motorsport 91
5. E-Rain Racing 67
-credit: team meritus