AP: Zhuhai rounds 19, 20 summary

Saavedra continues charge with double victories. Sebastian Saavedra (17/COL/Ao's Racing) put in a stellar performance to take victories in both rounds of Formula BMW Asia today at China's 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit. Although the ...

Saavedra continues charge with double victories.

Sebastian Saavedra (17/COL/Ao's Racing) put in a stellar performance to take victories in both rounds of Formula BMW Asia today at China's 4.3km Zhuhai International Circuit.

Although the victor for both races is beyond question, the final results for Round 19 are pending the outcome of a protest, so the points standings remain provisional. Fifty percent of points and prize monies were awarded for Round 20 as less than 75% of the prescribed race distance was run.

Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/CIMB Team Qi-Meritus), who didn't have a successful day, still tops provisional Driver Classification after 20 races but his lead over rival Zahir Ali (20/INA/Team TARADTM) is reduced to just 23 points. Jazeman's team mate James Grunwell (18/THA) is also still in contention for the title with just two races remaining.

In the Rookie Cup, Ross Jamison (17/HKG/CIMB Team Q-Meritus) retains his position at the top of the leaderboard, 17 points clear of South African Kyle Mitchell (16/Eurasia Motorsport), and the pair will decide who takes the crown tomorrow.

In the first race Saavedra took his second Formula BMW Asia career victory and another win for Ao's Racing in a row having won in Shanghai last month, ahead of Mitchell and Ali. In the second race, which was stopped after a major incident involving multiple cars and finished behind the Safety Car, the results were repeated.

In Round 19, although pole-sitter Jamison crossed the line behind the Colombian, he was subsequently dealt a cruel blow when he was judged by race officials to have been outside his grid box at the start and handed a 30 second penalty after the race. The penalty demoted him to 9th and dented his Rookie Cup aspirations.

At the start Saavedra got by Jamison into the first turn and didn't look back, building a comfortable lead by the flag. Lemvard got by fellow Thai Grunwell on the opening lap to go 3rd.

Behind the leaders, a battle between Jaafar, Ali and Mitchell ended with the Malaysian holding on to 5th and the South African getting by Ali to go 6th. Jazeman caught up to Grunwell on lap 8, but spun going first onto the grass and then in to the gravel where his race ended. Lemvard briefly got by Jamison to go 2nd, but spun dropping him back down the field and forcing Grunwell to take evasive action. That gave Mitchell and Ali the chance to slide by and up into 3rd and 4th in the running order.

Saavedra: "Today we had a great start. It seems since the practice session we knew we had a great car. We had some struggles in the first corner, it was very close and I was able to take him (Jamison) in the first 50 metres, and from then on I just continued my pace -- a very fast pace."

With Mitchell keeping the Rookie Cup title open, Ali's result had the same affect on the Driver Classification. The Indonesian was thrilled and a little surprised to be on the podium: "We had a few problems, but we know we can improve and we know we can win today," he said.

In the second race, Saavedra got away cleanly from pole. Jamison was up to 4th from 9th on the grid by lap four, while Jazeman, who had failed to finish the earlier race, was up to 5th and battling with Grunwell. However, one lap later a major incident involving six cars brought out the red flag. Just ten cars joined the re-start with Saavedra crossing the line ahead of Mitchell and Ali, with Jamison in 4th, with the race finishing behind the Safety Car.

Said Mitchell: "I didn't have a great start -- I fell asleep at the start! I saw the red flag and realised there must have been a big accident, and hoped everyone was OK. The race was good for me because I knew I was going to finish and that I was going to get very valuable points for the championship."

-credit: asia/bmw.com

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Sebastian Saavedra , Jazeman Jaafar , Zahir Ali , Ross Jamison , Kyle Mitchell , James Grunwell