AP: Sepang round seven race notes

Jazeman back with a vengeance. Sepang, Malaysia -- Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Team Meritus) repaid the support of his growing local fan base with a faultless display of racing to take victory in Round 7 of the Formula BMW Asia season. Team mate and...

Jazeman back with a vengeance.

Sepang, Malaysia -- Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/Team Meritus) repaid the support of his growing local fan base with a faultless display of racing to take victory in Round 7 of the Formula BMW Asia season. Team mate and winner of Round 6, James Grunwell (18THA), couldn't catch the Malaysian rocket and had to settle for 2nd place, while BMW Junior Kyle Mitchell (16/RSA/Eurasia Motorsport) made a brilliant return to the podium having started the 10-lap race from 10th on the grid, and taking the Rookie Cup victory.

Second Rookie finisher, and 4th overall, was Sean McDonagh (17/USA/Team E-Rain), after a superb run, while 3rd placed newcomer was BMW Junior Akhil Khushlani (17/India/Eurasia Motorsport).

The win, his 4th in seven races, increases Jazeman's points lead over Grunwell to 59, while BMW Junior Ross Jamison (17/HKG/Team Meritus), leading Rookie, is now 25 points behind him. In the Rookie Cup standings, Jamison retains the lead but Mitchell has closed the gap to just nine points, with Khushlani in 3rd. As Formula BMW Asia prepares for its final race in Malaysia tomorrow, the country tops the Nations Classification with a lead of 16 points over Thailand.

Starting from pole, it at first looked as though Jazeman was away and clear of the chasing pack, but his adversary Grunwell dived past but the Malaysian was having none of it and regained at a chaotic first turn. During the frantic manoeuvring, Grunwell lost a place to BMW Junior and team mate David Zhu (16/CHN), who is fast finding his feet in his debut season, and Hong Kong's Ross Jamison (17/Team Meritus) dropped back down from 3rd on the grid. Jazeman, meanwhile, charged off into the distance and didn't ease off once, despite the frantic gesturing of his team, all the way chequered flag, setting the fastest lap of the race and winning by a margin of almost 14 seconds.

Zhu gave a glimpse of his real potential, skilfully holding off a furious Grunwell. When the Thai finally did get by, a flustered Zhu faltered allowing Zahir Ali (19/INA/Team TARADTM) and Mitchell get by and dropping down to 5th. Said Grunwell: "David is a very good driver and he made it hard to get by. He's still getting used to the Formula BMW car, but he's good." Mid-way through the race, Khushlani had managed to get by team mate Mitchell, and it wasn't until the closing stages of the race that the South African was able to reclaim the final podium place.

Ali and Zhu were both handed drive through penalties for being outside their grid boxes prior to the start, but as the pair failed to take the penalty, race officials made the decision to disqualify them. It was an unfortunate end to a frustrating couple of days for Ali who had been hindered by a brake problem on Friday, while it was a cruel blow but a lesson learned for Zhu. At the time of going to press, Ali has protested the decision and the outcome is pending. Therefore all points and race results are provisional.

-credit: fbmw.asia

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Jazeman Jaafar , Zahir Ali , Ross Jamison , Kyle Mitchell , Akhil Khushlani , Sean McDonagh , James Grunwell , David Zhu