PAC: Series Sepang qualifying report

Rookie Thompson storms to pole on debut. Sepang, Malaysia -- Formula BMW Pacific rookie Gary Thompson (16/IRL/E-Rain Racing) stormed to pole position for both opening rounds of the series at the 2009 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix ...

Rookie Thompson storms to pole on debut.

Sepang, Malaysia -- Formula BMW Pacific rookie Gary Thompson (16/IRL/E-Rain Racing) stormed to pole position for both opening rounds of the series at the 2009 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix today.

Thompson was unbeatable throughout the 25 minute session, despite the best efforts of Australian Chris Wootton (20/Eurasia Motorsport), with the pair's best laps both under two minutes 12 seconds. In the dying minutes of the session the pair were flying, with Wootton, who was runner up in the Rookie Cup last year, just 61 thousandths of a second off Thompson's best lap.

Also making an impressive debut were two Malaysian drivers; Thompson's fellow rookie and team mate Fahmi Ilyas (17), third fastest on 2:12.046 and who had topped the earlier practice times, and Calvin Wong (17) of Team Holzer PFX.

Thompson, of County Louth in Ireland, was surprised by his speed, but completely focussed on the matter at hand: "I wasn't expecting to be that fast. Obviously, the plan is to win the whole championship, but right now I'm concentrating on the races tomorrow and Sunday."

Formula BMW Junior Axcil Jefferies of Zimbabwe (Eurasia Motorsport) also made an impressive debut, running near the top of the time sheets for much of the session, before being pushed down the order in the final minutes by the hard-charging Wong and Indonesia's Rio Haryanto (16/Meritus). However, with the second-best qualifying laps setting the grid for Round 2, Jefferies' lap of 2:12.525 puts him alongside Ilyas on the second row of the grid on Sunday.

India's Akhil Khushlani (20/E-Rain Racing) was 7th fastest, re-familiarising himself with the car after a one-year absence.

With a little over one second separating the top seven drivers, and several other newcomers still getting to grips with the FB02, the outcome of the two races ahead is anyone's guess. What is certain though, is that every driver in this talented, international field will be gunning for glory.

Round 1 of Formula BMW Pacific will be held tomorrow over 10 laps of the 5.542km Sepang International Circuit, with Round 2 to be run on Sunday prior to the 2009 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.

-credit: fbmw pac

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Series Formula BMW
Drivers Akhil Khushlani , Chris Wootton , Axcil Jefferies , Calvin Wong , Fahmi Ilyas , Rio Haryanto , Gary Thompson