Ali takes win as Jazeman and Grunwell disqualified. ...
Ali takes win as Jazeman and Grunwell disqualified. #Sentul Circuit, Indonesia -- Rounds 11 and 12.
Citeureup Bogor, Indonesia -- James Grunwell (18/THA/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus) narrowed the gap to championship leader and team mate Jazeman Jaafar (MAS) by taking victory in Round 11 of Formula BMW Asia, but the Malaysian was quick to respond to the threat and took the second win of the day only to be later stripped of his victory after post-race scrutineering due to a team technical infringement. Grunwell was also disqualified from the second race for the same infringement after he had finished 2nd, meaning local hero Zahir Ali (19/Team TARADTM), who had crossed the line 3rd, took the eventual win. The unexpected win took Ali's tally for the weekend to three.
The dramatic turn of events was also tinged with irony as Jazeman's exclusion means Grunwell now takes over at the top of the Driver Classification with the slim margin of two points. Ali lies 3rd on the leaderboard, 20 points behind, with
BMW Junior Ross Jamison (17/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus) of Hong Kong 4th overall and top of the Rookie Cup standings, although an impressive performance by fellow Junior Kyle Mitchell (16/RSA/Eurasia Motorsport), which saw him take both wins in the category today, mean his lead is reduced to 13 points.
Round 11 saw Grunwell and Jazeman followed across the line by Ali and Mitchell, who notched up his 6th Rookie Cup victory. The pair were engaged in an epic battle which saw the South African Rookie defend brilliantly right up to the final lap of the race.
The 15-lap race saw pole sitter Ali lose the advantage off the start as Grunwell grabbed the lead, while team mate Jazeman shot up to 2nd from 5th on the grid. The Indonesian dropped down to 5th behind BMW Junior David Zhu (16/CHN/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus) and Mitchell. As Grunwell and Jazeman pulled away at the front followed by Mitchell, disaster struck behind them after Ali made his move past Zhu and the Chinese racer was subsequently involved in an incident which took him, Sean McDonagh (18/USA/Team E-Rain), BMW Junior Akhil Khushlani (17/IND/Eurasia Motorsport), and Engstler Bollywood Racing's Cchiranjeev R. Bedi out of the race.
The Safety Car was called out , closing up the field, and when it pulled off Ali made his move on Mitchell. Mitchell however was having none of it and held firm until the closing stages of the race when Ali finally found a way past. Johan Adzmi (17/MAS/Team Holzer PFX) took advantage when Mitchell ran wide and slipped through into 4th, but the furious Junior quickly snatched back the place and the Rookie Cup win.
Said Grunwell, who set the fastest lap of the race and whose team made some major set up changes overnight: "I have a new technique off the line, which seems to be working. I knew I had to be just ahead enough to keep Jazeman out of my tow." As for the man of the race Mitchell, he admitted his Indonesian rival had been smart: "He made a very good pass. He spotted my weakness and I couldn't hold him off any longer."
In Round 12, which Khushlani was unable to start due to the damage caused in the earlier race, Jazeman bolted off the grid taking the lead ahead of pole man Grunwell by the first turn, and he immediately set about pulling away. Grunwell however was not about to let him out of his sights and kept up with his on-track rival, piling on the pressure in the hope of forcing the young Malaysian star into making an error. Ali crossed the line 3rd, ahead of Mitchell who took his 7th Rookie Cup victory, and another BMW Junior David Zhu (16/CHN/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus). Following the decision by race Stewards, Jazeman and Grunwell were disqualified, making Ali the eventual winner, followed by BMW Juniors Mitchell and Zhu.
Rounds 13-16 will be held at the brand new race track in Chengdu on September the 15 and 16.