AP: Sepang round 6 race notes

Grunwell takes well-deserved win from Jazeman. James Grunwell (18/THA) took a well-deserved victory over Meritus team mate and series leader Jazeman Jaafar (MAS) in a nail-biting 10-lap race on the Malaysian 5.542km Grand Prix circuit. ...

Grunwell takes well-deserved win from Jazeman.

James Grunwell (18/THA) took a well-deserved victory over Meritus team mate and series leader Jazeman Jaafar (MAS) in a nail-biting 10-lap race on the Malaysian 5.542km Grand Prix circuit. BMW Junior Ross Jamison (17) of Hong Kong crossed the line in 3rd, taking the Rookie Cup victory and making it a second successive all-Meritus podium.

Despite having to settle for second best this time around, Jazeman still retains a strong lead of 52 points in the Driver Classification, although Grunwell has proved he has the pace and the talent to close the gap. Jamison trails the Thai by just 13 points, but his 4th Rookie Cup victory puts him 18 points ahead of BMW Juniors South African Kyle Mitchell (16/Eurasia Motorsport), and Akhil Khushlani of India (17/Eurasia Motorsport).

After overnight rain, the newly-resurfaced track was extremely slippery as the field lined up on the grid, but Jazeman got away well from pole position. Making up for the confusion surrounding the starting procedure yesterday, Grunwell was off like a shot, getting by Ross in the opening seconds of the race, and he almost immediately began piling the pressure on the race leader.

Grunwell made an early move on Jazeman, but the young Malaysian defended well. In what must have been a tense moment for Team Meritus, the pair were two abreast at one stage, with Grunwell finally finding a way by to grab the lead.

Jamison kept up with the pair, conscious he was leading the Rookie Cup but keeping a close eye on the fight ahead: "You don't want to get too close in case something happens and you get involved, but not so far away that you can't take advantage if it does. It's always in the back of your mind that something might just happen," said Jamison.

Mitchell, still suffering discomfort from grazing after a cycling accident, determinedly held on to 4th ahead of a frenzied chasing pack, led by fellow BMW Junior David Zhu of China (16/Team Meritus). BMW Junior Akhil Khushlani (17/IND/Eurasia Motorsport) was ploughing his way through an unforgiving field having started from the back of the grid after failing to finish Round 5, while Zahir Ali (19/INA/Team TARADTM), 9th on the grid, was doing the same after suffering brake problems in yesterday's race.

There was no let up in the intense rivalry at the front of the pack meanwhile, with Grunwell finally finding a way past Jazeman on Lap 6. After that there was no way the Thai was going to relinquish the victory, taking the chequered flag 0.769 seconds ahead of the Championship leader, although the Malaysian did have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap of the race.

With two more races in the 2007 Formula BMW Asia still to be run at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia still leads the Nations Classification, ahead of Thailand and Hong Kong. The tension is almost palpable as local fans wait to see if their exciting new racing sensation Jazeman can regain the advantage in Rounds 7 and 8 this weekend.

-credit: fbmw.asia

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Jazeman Jaafar , Zahir Ali , Ross Jamison , Akhil Khushlani , James Grunwell , David Zhu