Chris Wootton finishes well in Japan after 200kph collision
03.11.2009: Australian Formula BMW Junior, Chris Wootton has had everything bar the kitchen sink thrown at him during the penultimate event of the Formula BMW Pacific season at Okayama in Japan, but has fought
Australian Formula BMW Junior, Chris Wootton has had everything bar the kitchen sink thrown at him during the penultimate event of the Formula BMW Pacific season at Okayama in Japan, but has fought back and recorded some decent results.
After qualifying fifth, just 0.3 from pole position, Chris’ first race of the weekend was marred by an incident with team-mate Axcil Jefferies on the opening lap. The 20-year-old Queenslander was speared off the track at nearly 200 kilometres an hour by the Zimbabwean.
With the rest of the field threading their way around the stricken Eurasia Motorsport machine, Wootton was able to keep motoring and re-join the race. The ridiculous and unnecessary incident dropped the Australian to the rear of the field, whilst Jefferies tried to recover and ultimately watched the rest of the event from the sidelines after finding the path of yet another competitor.
Chris aggressively fought his way through the field to greet the chequered flag in ninth placing, his Eurasia Motorsport team praising the maturity displayed in his drive. With that behind him, Chris focused on race two – the penultimate race in Formula BMW Pacific for 2009. Wet conditions blanketed the Okayama circuit (formerly known as Aida) for the race day, which doubled as the latest round of the World Touring Car Championship and Asian Le Mans Series.
After getting up to third placing, Chris was tracking well for his second podium of season 2009, until he struck trouble, getting off track and dropping back through the field. Re-joining toward the rear, it was familiar territory for the Australian as he put on a great display of wet weather driving to cross the line eighth. With numerous guest drivers taking part, Wootton was awarded fifth placing points for both races this weekend. The final event of the 2009 season will take place in support to the time honoured Macau Grand Prix in a few weeks time.
BEHIND THE HELMET: CHRIS WOOTTON
“Once again a pretty frustrating weekend. I felt probably the best that I have done all year. I worked hard before this race in the gym and I could feel the benefit of it straight away.
“To get taken out by your team-mate – particularly at 200 kilometres an hour – is not only dangerous but downright stupid. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it, but just had to get back on with the job. I was pretty aggressive in working my way back through the field and by the end of the race was starting to enjoy it. I wish I didn’t have to do it though.
“The Eurasia Motorsport team and my engineer, Greg Wheeler dealt with the situation fabulously and they made it a lot easier than it otherwise would have been.
“Today, we were tracking for a podium finish, but I just got crossed up and went off track. It was really wet, almost typhoon like conditions they were saying, which made it very difficult to stay on the track. On top of that, visibility was very ordinary. “No excuses though, the podium was there, but it wasn’t to be. “Next up is Macau. It’s a really tough event with very limited track time, so you have to make every post a winner from the very first time you hit the track. We need a lucky break – ending the season on a high would be very nice for all of us!”
WHAT IS FORMULA BMW?
Formula BMW is the world’s leading entry level open-wheel Formula racing category. The Formula BMW FB02 weighs 465kg excluding driver. It is powered by a 1.2 litre four cylinder engine which accelerates to 100kph in less than four seconds and will hit a top speed of 230kph.
All cars are identical and innovations such as the FORS (Formula Rescue Seat) were developed by BMW Motorsport specifically for Formula BMW. Formula BMW is conducted in three territories – the United States (Formula BMW Americas), with Formula 1 Grands Prix in Europe (Formula BMW Europe) and Formula BMW Pacific in pan-Asia.
WHO IS CHRIS WOOTTON?
Chris is a 20-year-old race driver from the Brisbane suburb of Birkdale. He started karting competition in 2005 and quickly showed potential – taking out Rookie of the Year honours in two classes. At the end of 2007, Chris underwent the Formula BMW Scholarship program. He impressed the judges with not only his ability behind the wheel, but approach to the sport and fitness. He was then offered a scholarship for the 2008 Formula BMW Pacific Series.
Finishing as the second highest Rookie in the Series and seventh overall, being offered a scholarship for the second year in succession is testament to his dedication. Aside from motorsport, Chris takes a strong interest in a majority of sports. Taking cues from Mark Webber he concentrates on being one of the fittest drivers around, becoming a regular in the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge. In the two Challenges he has completed, he finished in front of many well-known sportsmen and adventure racers.
Chris will chase the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific victory with Eurasia Motorsport.
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