PAC: Series Sentul preview

Formula BMW Pacific season heats up. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Four thrilling races make for an electrifying Formula BMW Pacific meeting from August 14 --16, as the series moves to Indonesia's Sentul International Circuit. After a two month ...

Formula BMW Pacific season heats up.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Four thrilling races make for an electrifying Formula BMW Pacific meeting from August 14 --16, as the series moves to Indonesia's Sentul International Circuit. After a two month hiatus, the region's premier junior single seater racing series resumes in Indonesia, before heading to the 2009 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix next month, the FIA World Touring Car Championship meeting in Okayama, Japan in October, and November's spectacular season finale at the Macau Grand Prix.

With the first six races of the season having taken place at Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit, the four upcoming races will be the first time that many of the drivers have competed on the 3.9km Sentul track, located outside Jakarta.

Ireland's Gary Thompson (17/E-Rain Racing) continues to lead the charge in both the Drivers Classification and the Rookie Cup, having made the podium in five of six races. His consistently stellar results, which include a win and two pole positions, have given him an 11-point lead over Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (15/ZIM/Eurasia Motorsport) in second.

In July, Thompson was a guest driver for two rounds of Formula BMW Europe, in support of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Raikkonen Robertson Racing.

The Irishman is keen to get back to Asia, but is well aware of the challenges ahead: "It is obviously great to be leading the championship. It is quite competitive at the front, with the first five or six drivers doing very well, so it's hard to win. From what I have heard about Sentul, it is not a difficult track. But I have heard it is abrasive on the tyres so you have to look after them to be okay for the races."

Jefferies, who had his first taste of victory with two wins in Malaysia in May, should be heading to Indonesia full of confidence. Recently named an official Childline Zimbabwe ambassador, Jefferies' new role is to help to inspire children from under-privileged backgrounds as part of the charity's outreach programme.

Fellow Formula BMW Juniors Chris Wootton (20/AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) and Steel Guiliana (AUS/18/Atlantic Racing Team) will be on the hunt for points at Sentul. Runner-up in the 2008 Rookie Cup, Wootton suffered a run of bad luck in Malaysia, and is currently 7th on the leaderboard, but will call upon his previous Sentul experience to give him an edge.

Guiliana, who missed out on pre-season testing, continues to make important strides as the dedicated and conscientious Australian familiarizes himself with the FB02.

Third in the overall Drivers Classification is Indonesian Rio Haryanto (16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) who, along with his teammate and compatriot Dustin Sofyan (15), will be excited at the opportunity to race on their "home" circuit. Like Thompson, Haryanto has shown impressive consistency this season with four podium finishes, including two wins.

Fourth overall and third in the Rookie Cup is Malaysian Fahmi Ilyas (17/E-Rain Racing), on the podium twice so far this season, including for his first Formula BMW Pacific victory in May.

Since its 2003 debut, Formula BMW Pacific has become the region's premier entry-level series for young motorsport talent embarking on an international career in motorsport. The truly international series includes drivers from Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Middle East, and a calendar that spans Asia. The series races at some of the region's premier events such as September's 2009 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix and November's season-closing Macau Grand Prix. In addition to the showcase events, Formula BMW Pacific also provides plenty of track time for the drivers to gain experience, in this case at the Asian Festival of Speed weekend.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Chris Wootton , Axcil Jefferies , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Steel Guiliana , Dustin Sofyan