AP: Meritus Racing race summary

Marchy Lee wins thrilling first ever race at the Chinese Grand Prix Chinese racing champion Marchy Lee Yin-Kin (HKG) won the incident packed first ever race at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, with Bahraini driver Hamed Al Fardan coming in...

Marchy Lee wins thrilling first ever race at the Chinese Grand Prix

Chinese racing champion Marchy Lee Yin-Kin (HKG) won the incident packed first ever race at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, with Bahraini driver Hamed Al Fardan coming in second and Tyson Sy of the Philippines finishing third. The Formula BMW Asia race is supporting the GP, and it was the perfect way to introduce the Chinese crowds to motor racing.

Lee, who drives for Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus, started from pole, but did not have an ideal start, letting Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE) through at the first corner. Lee kept up with Lin and made a sweeping move on lap 2 but Lin closed the door on him. The following lap Lee made a similar move and pulled alongside Lin, but Lin moved across again and the pair made contact tire to tire, launching Lee clear into the air. After a heavy landing Lee managed to keep going, taking the lead while Lin fell back with damage.

"I was right alongside Hanss [Lin], holding my line, then suddenly I was launched upwards. My left side went really high, and all I could see was sky. When I came back to earth the impact was very heavy and the steering wheel moved very violently in my hands. I felt a little pain in my left hand, and my glove was getting wet, but I kept pushing because Hamed was catching up with me. After I opened up a slight lead, I eased off a little to protect the car in case it was damaged during my landing. I still had to concentrate very hard because the car was not handling right, and I was so happy when I saw the chequered flag," said a delighted Lee.

After the race, it was discovered that Lee's steering wheel had split the webbing between his left thumb and forefinger, which required 5 stitches. It is not clear whether he will be fit to race on Sunday. Nevertheless Lee was ecstatic with his win, even though he had won the championship already at the last event.

"I was so determined to win at this Shanghai race. When my car was launched up, I thought that it was all over. I was very lucky to keep going, and even more so to win the race. I hope the Chinese crowd enjoyed the race, and I hope to be able to give them more to cheer about tomorrow," said Lee.

Lee's victory meant the first national anthem heard at this inaugural Chinese Grand Prix was the Chinese national anthem, which sent the crowd into a frenzy, and bodes well for the atmosphere throughout the rest of the weekend.

There was plenty of action further back in the field too. After spinning out, Lin rejoined the track straight into the left front wheel of Team Meritus driver Nik Iruwan, taking the young Malaysian out of the race on only the second lap.

"The car was feeling really good, I had a good start and I was feeling confident, then all of a sudden I was out of the race. I am very disappointed, because I wanted to show my improvements at this big event, but this is racing and things like this happen. I hope that my car will be fixed by tomorrow's race, so that I can have another chance," said a disheartened Iruwan.

In a similar incident, Meritus' third driver, Mehdi Bennani (MAR) was taken out of the race while passing Al Khalifa; the latter lost grip and began to spin, then speared into the rear of Bennani's car.

Meritus also ran 2 extra cars at this popular event. Mark Patterson (USA) had a fierce battle with Lin, who had dropped to ninth place.

"I was drafting him along the long straight when Hanss cut to the right. I followed him to keep slipstreaming, then he swung to the left, so I followed, but then he went to the right again and finally back to the left, so by the time the corner came I couldn't make my move," said Patterson, who originally intended to just watch the F1 race, but jumped at the opportunity to race in a support event.

Tobia Kipper (HKG) was expecting incidents at the first corner, and was wise to find his way around them. He was maintaining a steady pace in this his first ever car race, but suddenly noticed his engine temperature overheating.

"When the temperature went up I had to start short shifting to save the engine. This slowed me down a lot, but I still gained a lot of confidence, which will be very useful for tomorrow's race," said Kipper.

The second Formula BMW Asia race takes place on Sunday morning, before the Grand Prix, and will again be a great opener for the main event. <pre> Round 11 results POS No Driver/Nat Team Gap 1 38 Marchy Lee Ying-Kin (HKG) Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus 22:32.614 2 23 *Hamed AL FARDAN (BRN) Belgravia Motorsport 5.761 3 3 Tyson SY (PHI) Minardi Team Asia 6.032 4 5 #Moreno SOEPRAPTO (INA) Minardi Team Asia 14.853 5 2 Dado PENA (PHI) Minardi Team Asia 15.559 6 4 **Robert T BOUGHEY (THA) Minardi Team Asia 20.484 7 6 **Han HAN (CHN) Team E-Rain 26.534 8 22 Mohammed AL BAHRANA (BRN) Belgravia Motorsport 28.423 9 88 Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE) Belgravia Motorsport 35.384 10 61 *YOU Kyoung-Ouk (KOR) BMW Korea E-Rain 44.644 11 52 Mark Patterson (USA) Team Meritus 49.806 12 15 Tobia Kipper Team Meritus 74.804 13 33 C.Ao Team E-Rain 93.643

* Scholarship driver * Rookie Cup # Non-Series Registered

-mr-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Mark Patterson , Mehdi Bennani , Tyson Sy , Marchy Lee