PAC: Round five Sepang race report

Nara triumphs to become first ever Japanese Formula BMW winner. Sepang, Malaysia -- Ryuichi Nara (Team E-Rain/19) took victory in Round 5 of Formula BMW Pacific today, and entered the history books as the first ever Japanese racer to win a...

Nara triumphs to become first ever Japanese Formula BMW winner.

Sepang, Malaysia -- Ryuichi Nara (Team E-Rain/19) took victory in Round 5 of Formula BMW Pacific today, and entered the history books as the first ever Japanese racer to win a Formula BMW race. Nara took the lead from his team mate and pole-sitter Sean McDonagh (19/USA) and never looked back, driving a perfect 20-lap race to take the chequered flag. Second was points-leader Ross Jamison of Hong Kong (18/Meritus), who strengthened his position at the top of the leaderboard, with a disappointed McDonagh taking the final podium place.

Said Nara, who believes his luck has now definitely turned: "I was a little tense and nervous at the beginning, but felt better and better as the race went on. I didn't feel any pressure from Ross (Jamison) as I just didn't look in my mirrors!"

Jamison now has a 23 point lead over second-placed Simon Moss (16/RSA/Mahara). Disappointingly the Formula BMW Junior was unable to take the start of Round 5 as his team continue to work on the car, but is hopeful of returning in Round 6 tomorrow. McDonagh remains 3rd in the Driver Classification, but is now just nine points adrift of Moss.

In the Rookie Cup standings, Formula BMW Junior Marlon Stockinger (17/PHI/Eurasia Motorsport), is now 2nd behind Moss on the leaderboard, overtaking Dominic Ang (18/MAS/Team Holzer PFX). Stockinger was the top Rookie finisher in the race after a stellar performance in what was an action-packed race.

Off the line, McDonagh lost his pole position advantage immediately to Nara, and Jamison dived on the inside to go 2nd. Behind the trio, the action was already reaching fever pitch with Malaysia's Melvin Moh (19/Team Holzer PFX) passing Kazeem Manzur (16/GBR/Mahara) to move up to 4th, and then holding the determined Briton at bay. Formula BMW Junior Chris Wootton (19/AUS/Meritus) then made a brave move on the pair to take 4th.

Nara, Jamison and McDonagh meanwhile were lapping at almost identical speeds. Wootton then had a major moment, dropping a wheel of the track and losing two positions, but almost immediately began ploughing his way back through the field to go 5th. Moh then brought his superb defensive tactics in to play once again to keep the Australian behind him.

Manzur made a successful move on Stockinger, getting by Wootton on lap 14. Then commenced the battle of the race, with Manzur, Moh and Wootton locked in a furious chase. That allowed Stockinger and Gabby Chaves (COL/Atlantic Racing Team) to close in on the trio and enter the fray. The five-car pack provided some of the most intense action the series has seen so far this season, but sadly Moh was a casualty and ended up in the gravel after a coming together with Manzur. Wootton was also caught up in the fray, and he eventually finished down the field in 10th.

Stockinger was the winner of the five-car fight, crossing the line in 4th, ahead of Manzur and Chaves.

As a long-overdue win continues to elude McDonagh, the American was already looking ahead to the next race, for which he also starts from pole, but was typically honest about his race: "It was a disaster really. I had a really bad launch off the line. It was a bad mistake on my part." However downbeat he was feeling, there is no doubt the win is on the way for the talented youngster.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Ross Jamison , Sean McDonagh , Melvin Moh , Kazeem Manzur , Marlon Stockinger , Dominic Ang , Simon Moss , Chris Wootton , Ryuichi Nara , Gabby Chaves