Formula BMW Americas Rookies Carry Title Chase To Season Finale Colombian Gabby Chaves clinched the 2009 Formula BMW Americas championship with three more podium finishes at Road America two weeks ago, but the series' highly-prized rookie title...
Formula BMW Americas Rookies Carry Title Chase To Season Finale
Colombian Gabby Chaves clinched the 2009 Formula BMW Americas championship with three more podium finishes at Road America two weeks ago, but the series' highly-prized rookie title remains up for grabs at this weekend's season finale at Mosport International Raceway.
Four drivers are separated by just 16 points as the open-wheel series prepares to wrap its season with a pair of races around the venerable 2.459-mile Canadian road course. With 20 points available to the winner of each race, any member of the quartet could conceivably leave Mosport with the rookie crown in his suitcase.
Australian James Kovacic leads the fight heading into the weekend but carries a scant two-point advantage over American Michael Lewis. Kovacic saw his lead trimmed at Road America as the Team Apex driver suffered through a tough weekend that culminated in a hard crash in Sunday's race. Kovacic has led the rookie point standings since the season's halfway point and is looking to finish the campaign off in style this weekend.
"Going into the last two rounds of the championship at Mosport, there's definitely some anticipation which also comes with some pressure and nerves. It's been a seesawing battle all year and it is going to be a fantastic challenge to try and clinch the title," Kovacic said. "Team Apex and I have been very quick of late, but had some rather unfortunate results at Road America. The team's been working non-stop and has done a fantastic job getting a car prepared after the accident in the last round. It's going to be an exciting finale, and I'm looking forward to giving it my best and attempting to win the Rookie cup for the team, fans, my family and for myself."
Eurointernational's Lewis moved himself into prime position with a pair of podium finishes in Sunday's two Road America events, but has Canadian Alex Ellis and Brazilian Joao Horto hard on his heels. Ellis is just eight points behind Lewis for second while Horto's strong Road America weekend that saw him score three top-five finishes and his first podium, leaves him just six points behind Ellis.
"The rookie championship battle is very close, and the finale in Mosport will definitely host some good racing to determine the rookie championship," said Lewis. "At the end of the day, I hope to be on top of the rookie standings. The Eurointernational team has been working extremely hard, preparing for the upcoming race to get the job done. Overall, I am looking forward to the weekend in Mosport."
Chaves salted away the overall title at Road America by continuing one of the most remarkable streaks in Formula BMW history. The 16-year-old Eurointernational driver has finished on the podium in each of the year's 12 races in a streak that includes five victories.
Brazilian Giancarlo Vilarinho has locked up the second place in the series standings for 2009, but can earn a spot in the record books with a pair of wins this weekend. The Eurointernational driver could move into second place on the all-time Formula BMW Americas victory list by securing his seventh and eighth wins of the season. 2008 Formula BMW World Final winner Alexander Rossi's 13 victories heads the list.