At the age of seventeen, Christian Vietoris is on top of the world, as the German racer notched his greatest victory of his young life by taking the Formula BMW World Final in a tightly-contested battle on the Circuito de la Comunidad Valenciana.
Having won the 2006 F-BMW Germany championship, Vietoris took on the challenge of besting 35 of the top F-BMW racers from around the world to win a test in the BMW Sauber Formula One car.
"Quite obviously, I'm now looking forward to the Formula One test," the young German commented. "I'm a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel. He has shown what a great career former Formula BMW champions can achieve."
The competition was not easy, but, Vietoris never showed signs of pressure from Friday onward. Along with Mika Maki -- his main rival this season in the German series -- he has been on top of his game. The Josef Kaufmann Racing driver won group one qualifying and scored three qualifying heat races before taking the race win in Valencia, Spain.
"From the first free practice, my car was fantastic," said Vietoris. "I therefore had the chance to top the qualifying session and win all three heats. In the race, I managed to continue in the same fashion."
When the checkered flag came out after 30 minutes of the hard fought battle, Josef Kral was on his teammate's tail. Unfortunately for the 16-year-old, he was disqualified, taking the one-two finish for JKR away.
Second, again, to Vietoris was the Finn. Maki inherited second in his Eifelland Racing car, a position he is too familiar with as he finished in the Germany series final standings as sub-champion.
Third belonged to another of the F-BMW Germany racers: Stefano Coletti for EuroInternational landed the final podium slot. Canadian Daniel Morad finished fourth for AIM Autosport and the USA F-BMW series. Fortec Motorsport's Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top five as the top racer from the Asia series. The UK series' best finish was by Oliver Turvey for Team Loctite in sixth.
"I'm very proud of this weekend. We have seen exciting racing action on the track. Despite 36 cars taking part in the final race, there were just a few accidents and off-track moments. All the drivers were able to give a great account of what they have learned in Formula BMW," commented BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen.
The 2005 World Final winner Marco Holzer, also from Germany, received his prize when he tested for the BMW Sauber F1 Team on Thursday at the Valencia circuit. Next year, Vietoris will receive his opportunity.
The fans in Spain were able to watch Alessandro Zanardi's second return to the BMW Sauber F1 cockpit specially prepared for the Italian racer prior to today's World Final race. On Saturday, he became the first leg-amputee to turn laps in a Formula One machine. Today, he delighted the fans with several breathtaking moments, along with fast lap times.