AP: Round four Sepang race notes

Marchy Lee Continues to Dominate at Sepang Marchy Lee of Hong Kong (Team Meritus) continued his domination of the Formula BMW Asia 2004 season, taking his second win of the day in Round 4 at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, and ...

Marchy Lee Continues to Dominate at Sepang

Marchy Lee of Hong Kong (Team Meritus) continued his domination of the Formula BMW Asia 2004 season, taking his second win of the day in Round 4 at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, and strengthening his position at the top of the leaderboard.

The race saw Hanss Lin (Belgravia Motorsports), who crossed the finish line in second place, being relegated to 14th after receiving a 60-second penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag.

In the scorching heat, Lee started slowly and it was South Korean You Kyoung-Ouk (BMW Korea E-Rain) who led the opening stages of the race, with Moroccan Mehdi Benani (Team Meritus) trailing a close second. Lee cautiously followed the leading duo in third place.

Going in to Lap 2, You tried to pull away and open up a gap, but both Benani and Lee stayed right on his tail. On the final turn of Lap 2, Benani made his move and took the lead.

You immediately grabbed the lead back, but Benani and Lee remained close. After passing Benani, who appeared to have some problems with his car, Lee made his move on You, once again running away with the lead and another victory.

However, Lee claimed the win was not an easy one, despite notching up a perfect score of 80 points from four races. "It had actually been a testing week for us with all sorts of problems. I must congratulate the mechanics who have performed exceptionally well in preparing the car," he said, adding that the level of competitiveness amongst the field was higher than at the previous rounds in Bahrain.

At one point, Benani had looked set to end Lee's winning streak with a strong performance. However, on lap 6 he encountered problems and was forced to allow the Meritus driver to pass him and take the lead.

For Malaysian BMW Junior driver Nik Iruwan Nik Izani (Team Meritus), who finished in 11th place, the race was another positive step in his learning curve.

"I would consider that I had a good race. I feel that I am getting better and better and that is the most significant thing," said Nik Iruwan, who thanked all the Malaysian fans who had come to support him.

The ultra-modern Formula BMW which allows 15-year-olds to enter the world of motor racing has been lining up on the grid since the 2002 season. It sets standards above all on the safety technology front. The single-seater, driven by a 140 bhp BMW motorcycle engine that takes it up to 230 km/h, features a carbon-fibre chassis, fulfils the safety requirements of the much higher-performance Formula 3 cars, and even matches certain Formula One standards.

Formula BMW Asia, now in its second season, runs as part of the Asian Festival of Speed (AFOS) organised by Motorsport Asia Limited. This year the series is run over 14 rounds at seven venues in Bahrain, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, China and Japan. It will culminate in a second Formula One Grand Prix support race at Shanghai in September.

In 2004, Formula BMW will be staged in four different series held in Germany, the UK, Asia and the USA. Formula BMW events will be part of the Formula One support programme on five occasions around the world. All the series go hand-in-hand with a comprehensive education and coaching programme, as well as substantial financial backing for promising young talent. The most distinguished graduate of this "talent hothouse" is Ralf Schumacher. The star of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team made his racing debut in the junior class in 1992.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "Our junior talent promotion scheme is an intensive basic education for successful kart drivers who want to move up into Formula racing. Our priorities are to create a level playing field through technically identical vehicles and scrupulously defined regulations, and to ensure maximum safety."

-bmw.asia-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Mario Theissen , Marchy Lee
Teams Williams