AP: Meritus Racing Bira final summary

Lee maintains perfect record in Formula BMW Asia Marchy Lee maintains his unbeaten record in the 2004 Formula BMW Asia series, with victory in rounds 5 and 6 at the Bira Circuit, Thailand. The Team Meritus driver finished ahead of Kyong-Ouk You...

Lee maintains perfect record in Formula BMW Asia

Marchy Lee maintains his unbeaten record in the 2004 Formula BMW Asia series, with victory in rounds 5 and 6 at the Bira Circuit, Thailand. The Team Meritus driver finished ahead of Kyong-Ouk You and Lee's team mate Mehdi Bennani in the morning race, and made a stunning move in the afternoon race to pass pole sitter Hanss Lin Po-Heng, who finished second, ahead of Bennani again in third.

With the scorching temperatures slightly reduced by a rain shower, the action was still hot as the young drivers battled around the tight track in the beach resort of Pattaya. Hong Kong Chinese Marchy Lee put in another dazzling performance to stamp his authority on the series, considered as the best stepping-stone in Asia on the way up to international racing.

The morning race (round 5) saw a lights-to-flags win by Lee, as he pulled away from pole position and just kept his head down. After creating a gap, Lee eased off a little to assure his position, but he would easily pull ahead again when his mirrors began to fill.

"I got a good lead and backed off a little, because I didn't want to risk anything on this tight track. One small mistake and my race could be over. I just kept the gap until I saw the chequered flag," said a delighted Lee.

In the afternoon race (round 6), Lee started from second but soon discovered he was much faster than pole-sitter Lin, and found a way past Lin at turn one on lap 3. Lee then took advantage of the clear track to pull out another lead, again easing off slightly when he was satisfied with the distance between himself and Lin.

"My car was feeling really good, and I could tell Hanss' [Lin] car wasn't as well balanced. On lap 3 he made a slight mistake and I got past him easily, and just pushed hard to create a gap. After that I controlled the gap and focussed on finishing the race. It was a great feeling to win these two races this weekend, and I hope the victories will keep coming. That will take hard work from myself and my team, who did a great job again this weekend and I owe it all to them," said Lee after the second race.

Lee's Meritus team mate Bennani (Morocco) was also thrilled with his double-podium, especially considering he had a knee injury in the second race. "My knee was really painful in the afternoon race, so much so that I couldn't brake properly, but I still pushed as hard as I could, and I am delighted to finish third again. My car was really well setup by the mechanics, so all I had to concentrate on was my own driving, which was great!" said Bennani.

Meritus' third driver, Malaysian rookie Nik Iruwan also had a positive race, being the top rookie scholarship-class finisher. His second race was not without drama however, as he lost 3 places after being hit from behind on the final lap.

"I was pushing hard in ninth place, and was really looking forward to my first ever top-ten finish, when I was hit from behind and spun out on the last lap. I re-joined in twelfth, but it was too late to catch up again. I was really disappointed, but this is motor racing. At least I know I have the pace, I just need better luck next time!" said Iruwan.

Meritus team boss Peter Thompson was also pleased with the results, as his team steams ahead in the Driver and Team championships. "We've had a perfect season in Formula BMW Asia so far, which is more than we can hope for. The wins have come from Marchy [Lee], but Mehdi [Bennani] has been very close, and I can see him getting quicker and quicker. Nik [Iruwan] is making great progress, and I really see him moving up the grid over the next few races," said Thompson.

-www.MeritusRacing.com

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Mehdi Bennani , Marchy Lee , Lin Po-Heng