BAMBER'S SENSATIONAL SENTUL CLEAN-SWEEP New Zealand's Earl Bamber (The Pizza Company Qi-Meritus) now leads the Formula V6 Asia championship points standings after a sensational clean-sweep at the latest round in Indonesia over the weekend. The...
BAMBER'S SENSATIONAL SENTUL CLEAN-SWEEP
New Zealand's Earl Bamber (The Pizza Company Qi-Meritus) now leads the Formula V6 Asia championship points standings after a sensational clean-sweep at the latest round in Indonesia over the weekend.
The fast-rising just-turned 18-year-old from river city Wanganui on the west coast of New Zealand's North Island made every post a winning one under the blazing Sentul sun, claiming pole position in qualifying with a lap almost half a second faster than his teammate, James Grunwell, then leading home a TPS Qi-Meritus one-two in both races.
In Saturday's race, over 15 laps of the 3.96 km circuit on the outskirts of Citeureup-Bogor in West Java, 2006 Formula BMW Asia champion Bamber claimed his second victory of the 2008 Formula V6 Asia championship season after leading Grunwell and top Indian driver Armaan Ebrahim from start to finish.
Then in Sunday's longer, 28 lap, feature race he added a third win to his 2008 FV6 Asia championship tally with another dominant pole-to-flag performance which saw him cross the line 15.6 seconds ahead of teammate Grunwell and an amazing 42 seconds before third placed Kevin Chen from the United States.
As well as starting each race from pole position and leading all 43 laps Bamber also set the quickest race lap in each race, some achievement considering how close both Grunwell and Ebrahim have been at the first two rounds of the 2008 championship.
The internationally recognised Driver Database (www.driverdb.com) has been keeping a tab on the progress of the talented young Kiwi and now records that of the 99 races he has competed in since moving from karts to cars he has won 26 and started from pole position 23 times giving him a 'winning rate' of almost 25%, enough to see him sixth overall in the websites world-wide Future Stars category.
After Saturday's race Bamber, currently the fastest-rising young Kiwi racing driver on the international scene, revealed that it had been close at the start but that he was able to get into his stride quickly and dictate the pace.
"The team has done a fantastic job with the car and I'd just like to thank everyone who played a part in this win. It was pretty tight into turn one but I managed to get through cleanly and was able to set a good pace from there on in."
Sunday's feature race followed a similar pattern with Bamber and TPC Qi-Meritus teammate James Grunwall clearing out and running one-two to the finish.
And after that race Bamber summed up his winning weekend by saying;
"Again, I'd just like to thank Peter and everyone at Qi-Meritus for giving me a winning car. It's never easy at this level, particularly with James my teammate so close but really it was pretty much a perfect weekend and I can't wait now until China in September to get back in and see if we can do it again."
Pole position and wins in both races, plus second place finishes for James Grunwell were also icing on a particularly tasty cake for TPC Qi-Meritus president and founder Peter Thompson, his team also dominating the Formula BMW Pacific races at the meeting.
"We couldn't have asked for much better, could we? " he said afterwards. "It's been a great weekend for everyone involved with Team Qi-Meritus. Earl has a three point lead on James who in turn has a 12 point lead over Armaan Ebrahim in Formula V6 Asia and in Formula BMW Pacific we lead both the driver's and the teams standings."
The weekend's Formula V6 Asia races in Indonesia were also the first to be shown live on television across Asia to an audience, Peter Thompson confirmed, of 200 million people.
Needless to say by having both TPC Qi-Meritus cars on the front row and running one-two in each race Thompson says the team generated $US2.7 million of TV time for its sponsors.
Thompson also revealed that, on the eve of the weekend meeting, his team was able to finally identify and fix a problem Earl Bamber had selecting gears at the first two Formula V6 Asia meetings at Sepang in Malaysia.
"This season we made the decision to have the engines rebuilt but, for various reasons they were late in arriving and we didn't have time to test the cars properly before the first meeting. What we found out when we tested last Friday was that one of the sensors between the paddle gear shifts on the car's steering wheel and the gearbox was broken which meant that sometimes the actuator would only move the rod 6mm rather than the 9mm it was supposed to. It took us two rounds to find the exact sensor but now we have and both Earl and James have more than vindicated our decision to invest in rebuilding the engines before the season."