Asia: Earl Bamber Okayama race one report

BAMBER'S DREAM RUN CONTINUES Fast-rising New Zealand racing driver Earl Bamber's dream run on the international single-seater racing scene has continued, the 18-year-old from Wanganui dominating practice yesterday and qualifying and the...

BAMBER'S DREAM RUN CONTINUES

Fast-rising New Zealand racing driver Earl Bamber's dream run on the international single-seater racing scene has continued, the 18-year-old from Wanganui dominating practice yesterday and qualifying and the first race today at the penultimate round of the 2008 Formula V6 Asia Championship at Japan's Okayama International Circuit.

Fresh from finishing second in the feature race at the first round of the 2008 GP2 Asia championship series at Shanghai in China last weekend, the young The Pizza Company Team Q1-Meritus driver was in a class of his own at the challenging 3.7km circuit on the southern island of Honshu, topping the time sheets with a 1.33.066 in the first timed practice session on Friday then stunning with a 1.29.220 to claim pole position in the qualifying session this morning.

As if that wasn't enough he literally ran away and hid in the 17-lap sprint race this afternoon, greeting the chequered flag 41 seconds ahead of second placed Thai-based Brit James Grunwell, his teammate in the Malaysia-based The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus team.

Needless to say, he also set the fastest race lap.

Explaining the extraordinary result the self-effacing young Kiwi was matter of fact.

"We qualified seventh tenths of a second quicker than anyone else and because the car was so good, very consistent, we were able to run at that pace pretty much all race."

Though it is a new one to drivers competing in this year's Formula Asia V6 championship the Okayama International Circuit has a rich and interesting history, being built originally as a private venue for well-heeled enthusiasts before a management change saw it seeking international fixtures, including in 1994 and 1995 the Pacific Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Since then it has hosted all sorts of national and regional meetings with another change seeing it this year - this weekend in fact - hosting a round of the 2008 World Touring Car Championship in association with rounds of the Pan-Asian championship series organised by Malaysia-based AFOS (Asia Festival of Speed.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Bamber will line up for the 28-lap feature race seeking to make it two wins from two starts over the weekend.

-credit: earlbamber.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers James Grunwell , Earl Bamber