Formula BMW joins the undercard of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship. This special weekend, a season highlight for many young Formula BMW drivers from around the world, has been a...
Formula BMW joins the undercard of the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas Championship. This special weekend, a season highlight for many young Formula BMW drivers from around the world, has been a part of the world's leading entry level open wheel series since 2004.
While the rewards of a great performance are high, the challenges of supporting the Grand Prix circus are also large. Most find it the biggest test they faced yet in their young careers. For 10 of the Formula BMW Americas drivers in the field it will be the first time they have raced on the 2.71-mile, 13-turn Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Never before have they performed before such large crowds and faced the teams that hold the keys to their futures.
BMW Junior driver Gianmarco Raimondo (Autotecnicia), 17, of St. Catherines, Ontario, one of four Canadians in the field, leads the Overall and Rookie point standings after sweeping Rounds 1 and 2 at Laguna Seca Raceway in May. Quebec resident Maxime Pelletier (Apex-HBR Racing Team) stands second Overall and will be making his third Formula BMW start at Montreal this weekend. Apex-HBR teammate Alexandre Ruiz, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is third in Overall points. Ruiz, a BMW Junior driver, stands second in Rookie points.
Eurointernational teammates Alexander Rossi, the sole American in the field, and Ricardo Favoretto, of Sao Paulo, Brazil stand fourth and fifth respectively in Overall points. Both young men each had one disappointing race and a second place finish at Laguna Seca, have experience here from last year and are sure to be looking to move up in the standings.
The weekend's challenges begin right away on Friday. Sandwiching Formula One practice is a single 30-minute practice at 8:45 a.m. followed by the single 30- minute qualifying session at 12:00 p.m. A driver's starting position for Round 3 will be determined by their fastest time. Their second fastest time will set the grid for Round 4. Those able to get up to speed quickly will be rewarded with a starting spot that, following a great standing start, will allow them good position for the tricky first series of turns.
Six drivers from the Formula BMW Europe series will be making the trip to Montreal. They are Doru Sechelariu (Autotecnica), of Bacau, Romania; William Buller (Autotecnica), of Great Britain; Asad Rahman (Atlantic Racing Team), of Dubai; Mihai Marinescu (Integra Motorsports), of Brasov, Romania; Ollie Millroy (Atlantic Racing Team), of Claygate, Great Britain, and Daniel Juncadella (EURO Junior Team), of Barcelona, Spain. Juncadella, with two poles and a second place finish at this past weekend's races in Zolder stands third in Formula BMW Europe points.
The Round 3 race is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. Saturday and Round 4 is scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. start on Sunday.