FIVE RACES AND FIVE PODIUM FINISHES. Rounds 3,4 & 5 of the Formula BMW Asia Championship at Malaysia's Sepang Circuit proved drama filled for young Australian Formula BMW driver Sam Abay. "We had a pretty challenging weekend and some major...
FIVE RACES AND FIVE PODIUM FINISHES.
Rounds 3,4 & 5 of the Formula BMW Asia Championship at Malaysia's Sepang Circuit proved drama filled for young Australian Formula BMW driver Sam Abay.
"We had a pretty challenging weekend and some major technical dramas. The whole team did an extraordinary job and just kept pushing ahead. Whilst it would be fair to say the results were not quite what we were after, to suffer all the setbacks we did and still secure three podium finishes was a true testament to an amazing team effort", said Abay.
RACE 1 (10 Laps)
Starting from third on the grid, Abay suffered a poor start when his car crept on the start line. Falling all the way back to seventh place in the run to the first turn, a fiercely determined Abay immediately went on the offensive. Executing a series of aggressive passing manoeuvres over the next four laps, Abay stormed through the field and onto the back of James Grunwell in second place, before finally crossing the line in a close third.
Despite his drive through the field proving to be the highlight of race one, a pragmatic Abay stated, "My car was creeping forward at the start due to a dragging clutch. I immediately stood on the brakes to pull it up and was literally left behind when the lights went out. I really enjoyed the fight back through the field, but you just can't afford to lose that much time at the start of a race."
RACE 2 (10 Laps)
With the grid set from finishing positions in race one, Abay started third on the grid for race two. A strong starting Daniel Ricciardo slipped under Abay into the first turn. Abay immediately found a way back past Ricciardo at turn four, then set about chasing down the two leaders. Closing on the back of second placed James Grunwell, Abay's engine began to run rough on lap 6 resulting in a loss of power. Despite the drama Abay amazingly managed to stay in touch with Grunwell until the last lap when his engine finally dropped a cylinder exiting turn 4. In a gutsy performance Abay managed to nurse the wounded car home. The car finally coming to a stop 20 metres beyond the finish line, but not before Sam had salvaged another podium finish.
"It became clear on lap 6 that we had a major problem and immediately I lost power. From then on my focus was getting the car to the finish, whilst trying to maintain my position and salvage as many points as I could." reported Abay
RACE 3 (10 Laps)
A terrific effort by the E-Rain crew saw Abay's engine replaced, allowing him to line up in third position on the grid for race three. Abay made a strong start attacking second placed Earl Bamber into turn one, before having to concede the position and settle into third. At the end of lap one Bamber passed Grunwell with Abay capitalising on the move and following him through into second place. Positions remained unchanged at the front until the end of the race, Abay securing 2nd place and his fifth podium finish from five starts.
Abay now lies in second position in the championship as the series moves to China on June 9-11.