AP: Sepang round three summary

Quick Kiwi dominates. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Pole sitter and Rookie Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus) took a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Round 3 of Formula BMW Asia today at Malaysia's 5.54km Sepang International Circuit.

Quick Kiwi dominates.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Pole sitter and Rookie Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus) took a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Round 3 of Formula BMW Asia today at Malaysia's 5.54km Sepang International Circuit. The 15-year-old Kiwi had built up a margin of 5.539 seconds by the flag over second placed driver, team mate and BMW Junior James Grunwell (THA). Third was Sam Abay (AUS/Team E-Rain), who has impressively notched up three podium finishes in as many races.

After Grunwell, who also finished 2nd in the opening round of the season in March, the top BMW Junior finishers were another Kiwi, 16-year-old Dominic Storey (Eurasia Motorsport), and team mate Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), also 16, who were 4th and 5th respectively.

Bamber finished 4th and 3rd in Rounds 1 and 2 respectively, and his victory puts him at the top of the championship leaderboard, three points ahead of Abay on 40, level with Hamad Al Fardan (BRN/Team Meritus) who is not racing this weekend. Grunwell is 4th on 39 points. Bamber also strengthens his hold on the Rookie Cup standings with 55 points.

At the start of Round 3, Bamber got away well and didn't look back. Grunwell was also quick off the grid, but it was Storey who stole the march on Abay and Zahir Ali (INA/Eurasia Motorsport) to make up two places into third. Storey held his own until mid-way through the race when he got stuck in 4th gear and Abay was upon him, grabbing back the final podium place.

As Bamber and Grunwell pulled away, it was wheel-to-wheel dicing between first Storey and Ali until Ricciardo joined the fray and the Eurasia Motorsport trio produced some thrillingly exciting -- yet clean - racing. Ricciardo admitted later: "It may have look like I was speeding up, but actually they (Storey and Ali) were so caught up in their battle, I was able to catch them." While Ali was concentrating on passing Storey, Ricciardo saw an opportunity in the closing stages of the race, grabbed the chance and charged by to finish 5th at the chequered flag.

It wasn't a good day for Malaysian hope, Aaron Lim (Eurasia Motorsport). The talented youngster could only manage 7th, behind Ali, and has yet to show what he is capable of. No doubt Lim will be hoping everything will come together for tomorrow's two, 10-lap races in front of his home crowd.

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Hamad Al Fardan , Daniel Ricciardo , Aaron Lim , Zahir Ali , James Grunwell , Sam Abay , Earl Bamber , Dominic Storey