PERFECT 10 FOR MERITUSGP'S RIO MACAU (NOV 22, 2009): Questnet Team Qi-MeritusGP driver Rio Haryanto collected maximum points for the 10th race in a row in the Formula BMW Pacific when he finished third behind two guest drivers in the Macau Grand...
PERFECT 10 FOR MERITUSGP'S RIO
MACAU (NOV 22, 2009): Questnet Team Qi-MeritusGP driver Rio Haryanto collected maximum points for the 10th race in a row in the Formula BMW Pacific when he finished third behind two guest drivers in the Macau Grand Prix today.
Rio, who had wrapped up the drivers' title in Japan earlier this month, had won five consecutive races before the arrival of the guest drivers from Eurointernational, a team made up of the top drivers from the Formula BMW Europe and Americas. Eurointernational competed and won the final five rounds of the 15 -race Formula BMW Pacific season.
As the guest drivers were not eligible for points, Rio earned maximum points in the last five races, where he finished on the podium four times. All in, the driving sensation won six races in only his first season with MeritusGP.
Just eight out of the record 23-strong field finished the Macau race, after an incident at Mandarin Bend on Lap 1 forced numerous cars out of the race.
Eurointernational's William Buller took the chequered flag when he clocked 25:31.158 seconds with teammate Jim Pla of France 0.458 seconds behind and Rio 3.760 seconds back.
"The Eurointernational cars were too quick today and the massive accident in the first lap didn't help us," said MeritusGP team owner Firhat Mokhzani.
"Rio started and finished third but took maximum points for the 10th consecutive race. We would have liked to have ended the season with another win but it was not to be.
"Overall, I'm more than happy as we retained the drivers' title as well as the team championship. Another of our drivers, Dustin Sofyan, who is only 14th, finished the season as the fifth best driver and has a bright future ahead of him."
At Mandarin Bend, a chain reaction of racing incidents began as the drivers jostled for position. Calvin Wong (Team Holzer PFX) first made contact with Jazeman Jaafar (Raikkonen Roberston Racing) and then spun and collected Formula BMW Junior Chris Wootton (Eurasia Motorsport).
From there, several drivers saw their races end prematurely including Wootton, Wong, Formula BMW Junior Steel Guiliana (Atlantic Racing Team), Muhamad Alif Jafri (Team Holzer PFX), and guest drivers Facu Regalia (Eurointernational), Paul Lau (Eurasia Motorsport) and Tomoki Nojiri (TopSpeed Racing Shanghai).
The Safety Car was sent out for a lap, but on the restart on lap three, Buller managed to get ahead of Pla and lead for the rest of the race.
Haryanto was comfortable in third, although more drivers saw their race end, including 2007 Formula BMW Asia winner Jaafar who hit the barrier at San Francisco Bend.
On the last lap, a mistake by Buller at the Melco Hairpin could have spelled out a different result, but Buller recovered and Pla, who finished just four-tenths of a second behind, was unable to take the lead. With a spectacular finale, the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season drew to a close, with Haryanto as Drivers Classification winner, Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) taking the Rookie Cup honours, and Questnet Team Qi-Meritus the winning team title.
Rio said: "At the beginning I was confident, but then on the second last lap I made a big mistake and then the race [for the win] was over for me. But it's very nice to be the season champion, the team has given me a good car so I am very happy."