The Earl of Wanganui Wins F-BMW in Sentul and Meritus takes Pole in FV6!! Report 3 of 5: Sentul Circuit Indonesia 22/07/06: Wanganui driver Earl Bamber (15 Years: Team Meritus) won round 9 of the Formula BMW championship today with a ...
The Earl of Wanganui Wins F-BMW in Sentul and Meritus takes Pole in FV6!!
Report 3 of 5: Sentul Circuit Indonesia 22/07/06: Wanganui driver Earl Bamber (15 Years: Team Meritus) won round 9 of the Formula BMW championship today with a commanding lights-to-flag victory on the Sentul Track in Indonesia. Earl's win today closes the points gap with Sam Abay the championship leader by 6 points (Earl 20pts + 1 pole: Sam 15pts), leaving Abay with a 20pts lead in the series.
Making it an all-New Zealand day in Indonesia, the Meritus-entered driver Mat Halliday took pole for the Formula V6 Asia Sprint race tomorrow in Sentul. His team mate and championship leader Hamad ALFardan was placed P6 on the grid.
Earl was back on form today and without any of the electrical gremlins that beset his car in Beijing he showed true champion grit and outstanding performance. With a great start, Earl got his head down for the first three laps and pulled out a commanding lead of 7.4sec and never looked back!
Earl's Meritus team mate James Grunwell did not have a perfect start from P3 on the grid and took an outside line through turn one but got caught out by Daniel Ricardo who already was down the inside of Sam Abay and took P2 going in to turn two. James, who was off-line, was passed by Zahir Ali and Dom Story, who all followed Daniel in convoy past James. When the race settled down, James switched his focus into over-drive and picked off a driver each lap until he was behind Daniel Ricardo but Daniel had pulled out a gap and although James closed the gap to 0.4sec to Ricardo, he had to settle for a P4 finish.
Says Earl: "I was really motivated for this race and worked hard on my fitness since Beijing. The team did a great job today and its so good to be back on the podium and in front of Sam". Earl goes on to say: "I had an almost perfect start and went into max-attack mode for the first three laps and pulled out a respectable lead of 7.7 sec and controlled the race pace with information from my team's pit board in order to conserve my tyres for the next race tomorrow"
Says James Grunwell: "My start was not too bad but because Daniel had a better start he got down the inside of Sam and I was forced to take the outside route around Sam. Daniel won the toss this time and because of his better line I was squeezed to the outside and lost the advantage and I ended up down in sixth place. Once we all survived the first three laps I put my head down and focused on the car in front of me, picking of two or three cars in six laps. Daniel had pulled a gap and although I had closed the gap to 0.4sec I ran out of time and ended P4. Its OK but not good enough for my championship".
Rounds 10 and 11 of the Formula BMW Asia will be held tomorrow, Earl Bamber pole today places him P1 on the grid for Rd10 and the Rd 11 grind positions are calculated from the results of Rds9 and 10.
Going in to Round 9, it is Australian Sam Abay (18/Team E-Rain) who currently leads the championship having won the last three rounds in Beijing in spectacular style. Rookie Earl Bamber of New Zealand (15/Team Meritus), who was the dominant driver in Malaysia in May, also taking three successive wins, is just 26 points behind, followed by the four BMW Juniors: James Grunwell of Thailand (17/Team Meritus), Daniel Ricciardo of Australia (16/Eurasia Motorsport), Dominic Storey of New Zealand (16/Eurasia Motorsport), and Aaron Lim of Malaysia (20/Eurasia Motorsport). Completed in 1994, the sweeping 3.9km Sentul Circuit is in stark contrast to Beijing's tight and twisty Goldenport Track, and it will be interesting to see how quickly the drivers adapt.