PAC: Series Sepang preview

Talented international line-up for 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season. Kuala Lumpur -- A talented and ambitious group of young racing drivers will line up on the grid for the start of the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season this weekend. Increasingly...

Talented international line-up for 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season.

Kuala Lumpur -- A talented and ambitious group of young racing drivers will line up on the grid for the start of the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season this weekend. Increasingly international in its breadth, the entrants come to the Pacific series from all over the world -- Asia, Australia, India, Africa and Europe.

For many fledging motorsport professionals, competing in Formula BMW Pacific is their first opportunity to race in a single-seater series. This year's Rookie Cup looks to be a fiercely intense competition, as does the overall Drivers Classification.

Just four drivers return for a second season and each will seek to capitalise on their experience. Malaysian Dominic Ang (19/Team Holzer PFX), India's Aditya Patel (20/Atlantic Racing Team), Australian Chris Wootton (20/Eurasia Motorsport), and 2007 Formula BMW Junior driver Akhil Dinesh Khushlani (19/E-Rain) of India, all have the advantage of a full year in the series under their belts.

In 2008, Patel achieved his best result in the season finale at the Macau Grand Prix, taking the second-place points and ending his rookie season on a high note. Ang's best finish in 2008 came in the second race at the 2008 FORMULA 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.

For the second year in a row, Wootton has been awarded a scholarship with the Formula BMW Pacific Junior programme, and with it a Euro 50,000 contribution towards his 2009 season plus complimentary entry into the Education and Coaching Programme, unique to the series.

Wootton, the 2008 Rookie Cup runner-up, is joined on the Eurasia Motorsport team by fellow Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (Zimbabwe). Jefferies has won karting races in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, and impressed the BMW Motorsport evaluators during the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific scholarship trials. Steel Guiliana (17/AUS) is the third 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Junior.

Team E-Rain's entries illustrate once again the series' international reach, with its four young drivers: Fahad Algosaibi (17) of Saudi Arabia, Khushlani, and two rookies, Malaysian Fahmi Ilyas (17) and two-time Irish International Kart Driver of the Year Gary Thompson (16). Khushlani returns to the series having finished 6th in the Rookie Cup in his debut year in 2007.

Having joined the series in 2008 as guest drivers, China's Cao Hong Wei (16/Ao's Racing) and Indonesia's Rio Haryanto (16/Meritus) both return in 2009 for a full season. Last year Cao joined Formula BMW Pacific for three rounds and Haryanto for five, and their experience racing on Singapore's Marina Bay and Macau's Guia street circuits will prove useful when the series returns to both these tracks later this year.

Haryanto's teammates are China's Zhu Huan (16) and Indonesian compatriot rookie Dustin Sofyan. Others vying for the Rookie Cup title are Team Holzer PFX teammates Calvin Wong (17/MAS) and Muhamad Alif Jafri (17/MAS). Wong has won several Asian karting challenges.

With the series' best race calendar to-date, the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season gets underway in support of the Petronas Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix from April 2-5 at Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia. The drivers are now busy preparing for an intensely competitive season, and it won't be long before the first chequered flag of 2009.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Aditya Patel , Dominic Ang , Huan Zhu , Axcil Jefferies , Calvin Wong , Fahad Algosaibi , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson , Steel Guiliana , Dustin Sofyan , Martin Cao