ATCC: Sepang: Rounds seven and eight preview

Coulthard to take on Asia's finest. Asia's leading single seater racing drivers are in for a surprise this weekend at the Asian Festival of Speed in Malaysia, when the name Coulthard appears on the line up. Fabian Coulthard, cousin of Formula...

Coulthard to take on Asia's finest.

Asia's leading single seater racing drivers are in for a surprise this weekend at the Asian Festival of Speed in Malaysia, when the name Coulthard appears on the line up.

Fabian Coulthard, cousin of Formula One star David, will be at the wheel of one of the quick and agile AF2000 single seater racing machines for rounds 5 and 6 of the Asian Formula 2000 series at Malaysia's US$75 million Sepang Formula One Circuit.

The hugely talented 19-year-old New Zealander has been making a name for himself both at home and in Australia, and it is clear that he has inherited his cousin's extraordinary racing talent. Competing in the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship this year, he already heads the leaderboard with a string of impressive wins.

Coulthard hopes to follow in the footsteps of his famous cousin and become a Formula One driver. He is already on the right track, and this year was awarded the prestigious Jim Clark Trophy, given to the New Zealand driver who has demonstrated a sportsmanlike attitude to racing, fellow competitors, and has put in a "meritorious" racing performance during the season.

He began his racing career in karts at the tender age of seven, and since stepping up to cars in 1996 with a Formula Vee Scholarship at the age of 13, he has achieved an impressive record of successful competition results.

Taking the measure of the latest Coulthard family protege will be the region's most talented single seater pilots from five Asian nations. Among them is the series' only lady driver, Keiko Ihara of Japan, who turned several heads last month by taking two podium spots in as many races, series leader Meckel Ali of Indonesia, and Singaporean Denis Lian. Lian's achievements in AF2000 have attracted the attention of Australian talent-spotters, and he has just signed a deal to race in the V8 series there.

Asia's single seater racing aspirations received a boost recently when Philippines brewing giant, San Miguel, pledged all out support for home-grown hero Mike Potenciano. Potenciano's team, Zed-San Miguel Beer-MP Turbo Team Philippines, is currently second in both the drivers and team standings.

The Asian Touring Car Series has attracted a bumper entry for the Sepang rounds, with 27 drivers from eight countries lining up on the grid. Series leader Toni Ruokonen of Finland is joined by Australian Super Touring Championship campaigner David Auger, in the second works WK Longman Racing Peugeot 306.

Six Hong Kong tin top pilots, including veteran racer Danny Stacy Chau, Sam Hui, and the Lo family of Lo Ka Fai, Lo Ka Chun, and Lo Hung Pui, will pitch their wits against this talented field.

The series has gained enormous popularity amongst Macau's racing drivers, with fourteen entries for the Asian Touring Car Series, including Lei Kit Ming who has twice competed in Macau's prestigious Formula 3 Grand Prix. Such is the enthusiasm of these drivers, that an additional fixture, the Macau Touring Car Race, has been added to the Asian Festival of Speed weekend.

-afos-

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Series General
Drivers Jim Clark , Fabian Coulthard , Keiko Ihara , David Auger , Toni Ruokonen