Meritus scores 1-2 in Formula BMW Asia Team Meritus scored a stunning 1-2 in round 4 of the Formula BMW Asia series At Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, with series leader Marchy LEE Yin-Kin (HKG) taking the win and his new Moroccan ...
Meritus scores 1-2 in Formula BMW Asia
Team Meritus scored a stunning 1-2 in round 4 of the Formula BMW Asia series At Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, with series leader Marchy LEE Yin-Kin (HKG) taking the win and his new Moroccan team-mate Mehdi BENNANI claiming second place after the disqualification of Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE) from second. Lee also took the win in Round 3 earlier that day, making it four wins in all four rounds so far, despite suffering from an infection throughout the week.
After a chaotic qualifying session in the wet, there was ample on-track action to please the crowds and the Japanese GT teams, which was the main event this weekend. Round 3 saw Meritus team-mates Bennani and Lee move from fourth and fifth to second and third respectively at the start. The duo chased Lin for the lead, with Bennani clearly faster in all parts of the track. An aggressive over-taking manoeuvre in turns 1 and 2 resulted in contact between Lin and Bennani, with the latter losing his front wing and the former damaging his rear suspension, putting them both out of the race.
This left Lee a clear piece of track, and he certainly did not hold back, putting in fastest lap after fastest lap, eventually crossing the line 12 seconds ahead of second-place man Kyong-Ouk YOU (KOR), who in turn was followed by Moreno SOEPRAPTO (INA).
"I wanted to prove that I deserved the win, so I pushed for the best lap times," said Lee after the race. "I was feeling fine during the race, but afterwards, when the adrenalin was gone, I started to feel a bit weak again," Lee added. He had swollen glands and a stomach bug on raceday.
"I was really upset with the incident in the first race [Round 3], but I knew my car was quick this weekend, and the team did a great job to get the damage fixed before the next race," said Bennani.
Round 4 saw You fighting off Bennani for the lead, which the Moroccan took early on. The Korean seemed to falter in the afternoon race, slipping to fourth but eventually promoted to third after Lin's disqualification, making it 4 podiums in 4 rounds so far for last year's BMW scholarship winner. Bennani appeared to be pulling into the distance, but braked too late in lap 6, locking up a front tyre and causing a flat-spot. This slowed his pace down enough for Lee to catch up, which led to some thrilling moves around the Sepang circuit. Lee appeared to be down on power, but some skilful slipstreaming gave him enough speed to get past his team-mate and take the lead. Bennani was unable to keep up, and eventually fell victim to Lin too. Lin was later disqualified for over-taking under yellow flags.
"The second race [Round 4] was really exciting, I had some really good racing with Mehdi [Bennani] and You. It was a challenging race to win, and I am pleased to keep my perfect record so far," said a delighted Lee.
Bennani was ecstatic with his first podium, and was pleased with his decision to join Meritus for the rest of the season. "I was much happier with my second race, of course, and this first event with Meritus has been very successful," said Bennani.
Meritus' other full-time driver, Nik IRUWAN (MAL), was under a lot of pressure at the event, as he was trying his best to please his home crowd. "My qualifying didn't go very well, so I was stuck at the back of the grid. But during the races I was much faster, and I was setting times comparable to the front-runners. But being stuck in the pack meant over-taking was quite difficult. I wish I could have done more for the crowds, but it is still early in my car racing career, so I will continue to improve and I'll definitely do better next time I race in Malaysia," said Iruwan. This was Iruwan's third and fourth ever car race, after a successful career in karts, and he shows every indication of developing into a well-rounded racer who will go on to represent Malaysia on the international racing stage.