Gutierrez takes early victory in Formula BMW Europe 2008, Geronimi wins Round 15 in Monza. Monza (IT). Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing) has won the Formula BMW Europe 2008 title in Monza, Italy. With a fourth-placed...
Gutierrez takes early victory in Formula BMW Europe 2008, Geronimi wins Round 15 in Monza.
Monza (IT). Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez (Josef Kaufmann Racing) has won the Formula BMW Europe 2008 title in Monza, Italy. With a fourth-placed finish in Saturday's race, seven wins so far and 11 podium places, the 17-year-old has an unassailable lead of 30 points after the 15th of 16 rounds. Behind him, his German team-mate Marco Wittmann from Markt Erlbach has secured second place in the overall rankings.
After 12 laps on the fastest track in the racing calendar (top speed 225.3 km/h), the winner of the 15th round of Formula BMW Europe was Brazilian Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing), who beat polesetter Carlos Huertas (CO/Double R Racing) and Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing). It turned out to be a turbulent race. Behind Geronimi, who went straight to the front of the 26-strong field of drivers at the start, numerous slipstream duels repeatedly catapulted new drivers into the front positions.
Gutierrez, who won the Rookie title in last year's Formula BMW USA, at one stage dominated Formula BMW Europe's field of 30 contestants when he raked in six wins in a row. Only once was he forced to abandon a race, namely in the ninth round in Budapest following a collision with another potential title contender, Adrien Tambay (FR/Eifelland Racing). With four races of the season to go, Gutierrez had already carved out a lead of 67 points but lost 35 points on a single weekend due to his poor qualifying results in Spa. In Monza he fought a spectacular battle to move up from sixth on the grid to second, but ultimately to finish in fourth place, surviving some tough challenges from his fellow contenders in numerous duels, during which he even lost part of his engine cover. His title victory this season highlights Gutierrez as the most successful driver of Formula BMW Europe 2008.
After 15 out of 16 rounds, Gutierrez leads the overall standings with an incontestable 333 points, ahead of Wittmann (303) and Tambay (260). The Rookie Cup champion has yet to be decided, but Michael Christensen (DK/Double R Racing, 144 points) managed to extend his points lead over David Mengesdorf (DE/Mucke Motorsport, 124) to 20. The team title had already been claimed in Spa by Josef Kaufmann Racing currently with 669 points, ahead of Eifelland Racing (451).
Winner Formula BMW Europe,
Esteban Gutierrez (MX/Josef Kaufmann Racing):
"Winning the Formula BMW Europe title is something very special for me. I had a lot of tough races on unusual circuit. From race to race I was able to learn new things every time. Everyone is asking me where I go from here. I think about things step by step. It's a long way right to the top of Formula One, but when you look at former Formula BMW drivers like Vettel and Rosberg, for example, you see that an advance of that kind is certainly possible."
Runner-up Formula BMW Europe,
Round 15, 3rd place: Marco Wittmann (DE/Josef Kaufmann Racing):
"On the podium I had a tear in one eye and a smile in the other. Of course I'm happy about my runner-up title. The chances of taking overall victory were just too slim, although that is naturally what I would have liked. Our team performance is sensational: Josef Kaufmann Racing takes first and second place in the overall rankings and wins the team title. Congratulations to Esteban and my team. Here in Monza it was quite a crazy race. All those overtaking manoeuvres were exciting and also great fun."
Round 15, 1st place: Tiago Geronimi (BR/Eifelland Racing):
"We had some really good fights here in Monza. In the first few laps Juncadella and Gutierrez got very close to me, but then I managed to open up a slight gap. Over the radio somebody from my team was talking to me and pushing me all the way. For me it was a wonderful race."
Round 15, 2nd place: Carlos Huertas (CO/Double R Racing):
"Naturally I'm delighted with my best result of the season. I got away to a good start, although Geronimi passed me. In the first few laps you really had to watch you didn't spend too much time on the many wet patches on the circuit. At one point my car and Juncadella's touched, and after that my steering was bent. On Sunday I'll be starting from second on the grid. From that position, anything is possible in Monza."
-credit: fbmw eu