AP: Meritus Racing AFOS F-BMW Autopolis race notes

Tung takes F-BMW Asia Championship - with 2 races to go! Chinese racing sensation TUNG Ho-Pin of Team Meritus is having a very early Christmas this year. His total dominance of the AFOS Formula BMW Asia championship has meant he has taken the ...

Tung takes F-BMW Asia Championship - with 2 races to go!

Chinese racing sensation TUNG Ho-Pin of Team Meritus is having a very early Christmas this year. His total dominance of the AFOS Formula BMW Asia championship has meant he has taken the Drivers Title with 2 races still to run, after winning rounds 11 and 12 this weekend at the Autopolis Circuit in Fukuoka Japan.

His victory was a signature Ho-Pin win; lights to flag, and pulling away with every lap. The gap in race 11 was 14 seconds, and in race 12 an amazing 24.9 seconds in a 30 minute race around the 4.67km track. This type of dominance is reminiscent of Kimi Raikkonen's season in Formula Renault - his only year in cars before jumping straight into F1. Raikkonen too is in a position to clinch the Driver's Title early this weekend, sitting on pole position 3 places ahead of his title rivals.

Local favourite Japanese lady racer Keiko Ihara (Team Yellow Hat) delivered the goods on the day, taking third and second in the 2 races to the thrills of the fanatic Japanese crowd. Tung's Meritus team mate Hanss LIN Po-Heng (Chinese Taipei) was second and fourth respectively, and former Meritus champion Nattapong Horthongkum (3 Crowns racing) of Thailand clinched third in race 12.

A red flag incident in the opening lap of race 11 brought the cars back into the pits, with frantic repairs carried out on Lin and Ihara's cars after they touched. Both made it back out to compete.

"I can't believe it has finally happened," said an ecstatic Tung of his triple victory. "I had been taking every race one at a time, but there was always that feeling in the back of my head about the driver's title. Now I can let it out and really celebrate," he added.

When asked about the final event coming up in Beijing China (October 25-26), Tung said "I will still be trying my hardest in Beijing. I want to finish the season with a 100% pole position record, but more importantly I want to win at my home race. I've watched Nattapong [Horthongkum] and Keiko [Ihara] celebrate on the podium in front of their home crowds, and I want more than anything to do the same. I want to prove to China and the world that it can be done!" Details of this final event can be found at www.MeritusRacing.com

Tung's Meritus team mate Lin was not as joyous, despite a good result. "I had a great start in the second race and was right up with Ho-Pin [Tung] in turn 1. But then my car had really heavy oversteer, so I lost a lot of time because there are many high speed corners here," said Lin. Asked about the cause of the problem, Lin replied "we are still trying to find out the problem. It might have something to do with my accident with Keiko [Ihara] in the first race, but we're not sure."

Team Meritus' rookie driver, young Malaysian TJ Chin had a mediocre weekend, qualifying and finishing both races in 14th. He has shown good improvement all season though, as demonstrated by the part he played in the winning trio at the 12 hour Merdeka Millennium Endurance race at Sepang, becoming the youngest ever winner of the event with Team G1-Meritus.

Meritus Team Manager Paul Thompson was - not surprisingly - very pleased with the team's performance. "We took the team title last month in Korea, and now we have the driver's title. What more can we ask for? Everyone really proved their worth this weekend, fixing up Hanss' [Lin] car in record time to get him back out to take second behind Ho-Pin [Tung]."

The AFOS Formula BMW Asia championship was created by BMW Williams Motorsport, and attracts the top talent in the region with successful drivers gaining access to higher formulae here and internationally.

The success of Team Meritus would not be possible without the kind support of our sponsors Pacific Regency Hotel Apartments, Pan Global Insurance, Honeywell and Taiwan - Touch Your Heart.

<pre> Drivers' Points Standings: 1. TUNG Ho-Pin (CHN) Team Meritus 215pts 2. LIN Po Heng (TPE) Team Meritus 164pts 3. Keiko IHARA (JPN) TeamYellow Hat 123pts

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Keiko Ihara
Teams Williams