Meritus unearth two new gems for Formula BMW Asia challenge
29.01.2009: Asia’s most successful racing team, Meritus, have discovered two new talents from Indonesia who are set to maintain the team’s winning tradition in this year’s Formula BMW Asia Championship. Rio Haryanto, 16 and Dustin Sofyan, 14, were talent spotted by t
Asia’s most successful racing team, Meritus, have discovered two new talents from Indonesia who are set to maintain the team’s winning tradition in this year’s Formula BMW Asia Championship.
Rio Haryanto, 16 and Dustin Sofyan, 14, were talent spotted by the Malaysian team almost a year ago and in a recent testing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), proved their worth to team founder Peter Thompson.
“I’ve been quite impressed by their times and this bodes well for our challenge in this year’s Formula BMW Asia. As everyone knows, we have been dominating this category for the last five to six years,” said an excited Thompson.
“I hope this carries on as the duo are certainly enthusiastic, fast learners and most important of all, know who to handle the cars. It is a big step up for them but I’m confident they have what it takes to be part of a successful team.”
Rio said he is glad to get the chance to work with Meritus as “they are the biggest team in Asia.”
“Everyone knows about Meritus and their winning tradition. My elder brother, Roy, drove for them several years ago and I’m glad to follow in his footsteps,” said Rio, who started karting when he was six.
“It is going to be a long hard season and getting used to the extra speed in Formula BMW will be the toughest challenge.
“This will be my first major test on the road to fulfilling my dream of eventually becoming a Formula 1 driver.
“I know that may seem like an impossible task as not many Asians have succeeded in F1, but I will do my best to get to the highest level possible in motorsports,” added Rio, who idolises the late Aryton Senna.
Dustin, who is a Michael Schumacher fan, also dreams of one day racing in the pinnacle of motorsports.
“However, I’m still trying to get a good education as a back-up. It is not easy juggling both but I feel it is important for me to have a back-up plan as I know it is not easy to break into Formula 1,” said Dustin.
“I’m looking at driving for Team Indonesian in A1 in five years time and then move on to F1. I don’t know if I can do it but it has been my dream for a long time and I hope to achieve it.”
Team manager, Firhat Mokhzani was pleased with the duo’s times and said: “It’s going to be a huge learning curve for the boys but I’m confident they are right for the team.
“They may still be in their early teens, but they have matured heads on their shoulders.”
DRIVERS’ BIO DATA RIO HARYANTO Date of birth: 22/1/1993 Height: 1.68m Weigh: 60kg Hobbies: Fishing, snorkeling Favourite drink: Milo, mineral water Favourite food: Pasta, pizza, nasi lemak Racing idol: Aryton Senna DUSTIN SOFYAN Date of birth: 29/7/1994 Height: 1.65m Weight: 60kg Hobbies: Fishing, water sports, hanging out with friends Favourite drink: Sprite Favourite food: American, Italian Indonesian and Malaysian food Racing idol: Michael Schumacher
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