AP: Taebaek round 9 race notes

Al Fardan Shines through the Storm. Taebaek, South Korea - In the worst weather conditions experienced in the series so far, it was Hamed Al Fardan (BAH/Team Meritus) who shone through today, taking a masterful - and skilful - victory in Round 9...

Al Fardan Shines through the Storm.

Taebaek, South Korea - In the worst weather conditions experienced in the series so far, it was Hamed Al Fardan (BAH/Team Meritus) who shone through today, taking a masterful - and skilful - victory in Round 9 of Formula BMW Asia on South Korea's 2.5km Taebaek Circuit. The 18-year-old started from 8th on the grid, after only completing five laps of qualifying yesterday, to take the chequered flag over pole-sitter and Rookie Charlie-Ro Charlez (MAS/Team Meritus). Taking the final podium spot was South Korean and BMW Junior, An Suk Won (Team E-Rain) who, despite being under extraordinary pressure as the only Korean in the field, maintained his composure to drive a faultless 20-lap race.

Al Fardan's win puts him neck-and-neck with fellow countryman Salman Al Khalifa (Team E-Rain) at the top of the Driver Classification with 116 points apiece, while Charlez jumps in front of Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E- Rain) to third with 92. In the Rookie Cup standings, Charlez strengthens his position at the top with 134, while Michael Patrizi (AUS/Team Meritus), who drove a brilliant race to finish fourth overall, moves into second.

Said Al Fardan following his win on the treacherously-slippery track: "We don't have any rain in Bahrain, so I don't have much experience of driving in the wet! I like the rain, I tried to be smooth, and feel the car with the new engine. I'm really pleased." For Charlez, it was the first time ever he had raced in the wet, and he enjoyed the fair, clean fight with Al Fardan.

Former Formula BMW Asia driver You Kyong Ouk was on hand to offer An some friendly words of advice, and they obviously paid off. Said a thrilled An, after notching up his second podium on a row, having dropped down the field during the eventful race: "Before the race KO (You) told me to concentrate on the race and not to be nervous. He said, 'there is no rush, just one by one overtake the others'. So, I followed his advice and found myself in third."

The race start was aborted when Patrizi signalled he had a mechanical problem and, as the storm-clouds began to break, organisers declared it a wet race and the field return to the pits to fit wet-weather tyres. When the race did get underway, it was behind the Safety Car for the first seven laps as several millimetres of water were dumped on the track.

Once the Safety Car pulled off, pole-man Charlez was off and away, but series leader Al Khalifa was on a charge and was into third going in to the first turn behind Malaysia's Aaron Lim, 20, (Minardi Team Asia). Al Khalifa got by Lim and was challenging Charlez for the lead when a spin dropped him back. He eventually crossed the line sixth.

BMW Junior Robert Boughey, who had started from sixth on the grid, was in contention for a podium finish at one point, before an off put pay to his chances. Another front runner, BMW Junior Armaan Ebrahim (IND/Team E- Rain), 16, was another casualty and failed to finish.

BMW Junior Michael Patrizi put in a spirited performance, starting from the back of the grid to charge through the field and finish fourth.

Round 10 of Formula BMW Asia will be held this afternoon, once again over 20 laps of the Taebaek Circuit.

-bmw.asia-

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Armaan Ebrahim , Michael Patrizi , Aaron Lim