AP: Rouns five, six preview

Thai hopes pinned on Boughey. Bira, Thailand - BMW Junior Robert T. Boughey (Team Meritus) will need strong shoulders next weekend as he carries the hopes of his country as the sole Thai driver in the Formula BMW Asia field. The 22-year-old,...

Thai hopes pinned on Boughey.

Bira, Thailand - BMW Junior Robert T. Boughey (Team Meritus) will need strong shoulders next weekend as he carries the hopes of his country as the sole Thai driver in the Formula BMW Asia field.

The 22-year-old, who was runner up in the Rookie Cup last year, began the season determined to clinch the championship proper this time around. His victory, his first, in Bahrain in April and his second place finish in Sepang last month, put him fourth on the leaderboard going into Rounds 5 and 6.

Thailand has a long tradition of motorsport, with its only circuit named after Prince Birabongse who competed in World Championship Grands Prix more than half a Century ago. It is perhaps surprising then that Boughey is the lone Thai in the field of Asia's most talented single seater aspirants: "I hope that I can provide some inspiration to those who want to race internationally," he said. "Also, to be the one who can perhaps re-light the spark in the motorsport industry in Thailand."

Boughey is benefiting greatly from his second year in the Formula BMW Education & Coaching Programme, and is a diligent student. However, having attained a high level of fitness, he is now concentrating on other elements which contribute to success on the race track: "My main priority before Malaysia (Round 3&4) was fitness. After the event however, my priority has shifted dramatically to a more mental side. I have been practising meditation so that I can harness the abilities that I'm sure I possess more effectively."

Although Boughey is confident of a good showing in the upcoming races - despite the inevitable added pressure of racing "at home" - there is little doubt that current championship leader Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E- Rain) will be a front runner. However, the truly pan-Asian field is packed to the gills this year with talent. Formula BMW Asia Junior, 15- year-old Armaan Ebrahim (Team E-Rain), who tasted victory last month in just his fourth outing in the car to put him second on the leaderboard, is bound to be right on the pace, as is 19-year-old fellow Rookie Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus).

Rounds 5&6 of Formula BMW Asia will be held on June 12 over 20 laps of the 2.4km tight and twisting Bira Circuit.

Background:

Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and- coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.

This racing car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. The single-seater is propelled by a 140 bhp BMW engine up to 230km/h and exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. The HANS safety system is also mandatory.

In 2005, Formula BMW will be staged five times as part of the Formula One support programme. All the series offer a multifaceted Education and Coaching Programme as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents. The best-known alumni of this talent hothouse are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.

BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen: "Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a car. In the Education and Coaching Programme we have designed specially for them, they learn everything they need to know to hold their own in the big wide world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."

In December 2005 the Bahrain International Circuit will host the first Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other. The winner will get the chance to test a BMW WilliamsF1 Team car.

-fbmw.asia-

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Christian Klien , Armaan Ebrahim , Robert T. Boughey , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams