Asia: Series Okayama preview

Cool Weather in Okayama to Heat-Up Challenge It's the halfway mark in the season and the Formula V6 Asia will head for the first time to the beautiful Okayama prefecture on the southern coast of the island of Honshu in Japan. Just one week...

Cool Weather in Okayama to Heat-Up Challenge

It's the halfway mark in the season and the Formula V6 Asia will head for the first time to the beautiful Okayama prefecture on the southern coast of the island of Honshu in Japan. Just one week from now, on 24-26 October 2008, 12 drivers and their teams will continue with the 2008 season after a long 3-month break.

Racing in Okayama will provide an ideal level playing field as it will be the first time the series will head to the 3.7km circuit. Added to that, drivers will face uncertain weather and after competing at two very hot venues, the cold end of Autumn weather with possibilities of showers at a very tricky and technical circuit will definitely heat up the challenge for the Championship lead.

The current Championship leader has kept a busy race schedule in between, 19-year old New Zealander, Earl Bamber, competed in the Formula Master and represented his country in the 2008/2009 season of the A1GP Championships. Bamber achieved two podiums during the opening rounds of the A1GP in Zandvoort, Netherlands while he also took home a win in the Formula Masters in Mugello, Italy.

The newly confirmed GP2 Asia driver is eager to return to Formula V6 Asia and to continue his battle for the championship win. He will have a tough fight against his fiercest rival and The Pizza Company Team Qi-Meritus teammate, James Grunwell who lies in second, just three points behind.

Although there has not been much driving, aside from a couple of drives with the Formula BMW to assist with retrieving data, Grunwell has kept busy working on improving his fitness. "I haven't been up to much, just trying to work on my fitness as I know its one of my biggest weakness. I haven't done any driving at all and the other day I drove a road car and even that felt weird to me, so it should be interesting to see how it feels getting back into the FV6A".

The small gap and the ever competitive nature of the duo will ensure a great and exciting race. Added to the mix is Indian star driver, Armaan Ebrahim of Black TARA, who is sure to put up a great fight and will be right there at the head of the pack throughout the race weekend. Ebrahim has recently been confirmed as the second driver for the A1GP Team India driving alongside former F1 driver, Narain Karthikeyan.

After missing the Championship last year to British driver, James Winslow, Ebrahim came to the 2008 season with only one focus, to claim the championship. His journey has not been a smooth one and even with 2 wins and four podium appearance out of the six races, Ebrahim is left in third on the Championship points table, but with six rounds to go, he still has the chance to catch up.

Two more drivers to look out for are American driver, Kevin Chen of Champ Motorsport and Australian, Ro Charlez of Black TARA. These two drivers have very different styles of driving with Chen keeping consistent with his pace and points collection while Charlez has proven to be a very quick driver but an unfortunate run of luck has left him fifth in the Championship chase.

Behind them are the trio of Mark Williamson of TaraDTM, Robin Tato of E- Rain Racing and Hafiz Koh of TaraDTM, all three of whom have had a very mixed season thus far. Recently added into the lineup is E-Rain Racing driver, Recardo Bruins who has shown that he is able to run close to the front but with only two races under his belt, he still has some ways to go.

The Formula V6 Asia will be held as part of the World Touring Car Championship at the Okayama International Circuit. The WTCC will be the first world championship to be held at the circuit since it last hosted the Formula 1 race in 1995.

The circuit, formerly known as TI Circuit Aida, was built in 1992 as a private race track for the wealthy. Although the circuit was situated in a remote area of Okayama, it has always held its appeal with the mountainous locale providing the circuit with 13 tight and twisty turns.

-credit: fv6a

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Narain Karthikeyan , Mark Williamson , Hafiz Koh , James Grunwell , Earl Bamber
Teams Williams