Oulton Park, 18 June, 2005. Sam Bird (Fortec Motorsport) didn't just win the first Formula BMW UK Championship race at Oulton Park, he dominated it leaving the opposition so far behind he had empty wing mirrors for most of the race. He left the battling to second placed Dean Smith (Nexa Racing) and third placed Simon Walker-Hansell (Carlin Motorsport).
Sam has now taken the lead in the championship from Matt Howson (Filsell Motorsport) whose car has not been on the pace all weekend, the reason for which remains a mystery to his team.
Michael Meadows (Master Motorsport) was happy to battle with the top drivers for the podium places, but the leading Rookie was also happy to finish nine places ahead of his nearest rival in this class.
After taking pole Sam had admitted it had been easy, but never expected the race to be the same. "I asked for an easy one and got it. At Brands I was told off for looking in my wing mirrors too much, but here there was no one to look at. I am thrilled and taking the championship lead is exactly what I wanted to do," he said. Simon Walker-Hansell held on to second for the first nine laps, but a clutch problem meant keeping Dean Smith behind was going to be difficult as he explained: "I heard my clutch going around about lap three. From then on it just got worse and was affecting me badly in the slow corners. I was doing everything I could to keep Dean behind me, and may have managed it if it hadn't been for the hairpin." Dean was unaware of the drama in front of him and said: "I was happy with third, but when he went off the track I was happy to take second. I had been struggling all weekend, but in the race it went my way and I feel confident for race two."
Michael was delighted with his third Rookie win of the year and with Euan Hankey (Barwell Motorsport) suffering a dnf is now within five points of him for the championship lead. "I was third up to lap four and then made a mistake which let Dean through. I was angry with myself at the time but then realised it was best to follow him and do the best race I could. Stian also got me at the end, but I am still happy with my race," he said.
At the start of the race Sam got the dream start and the rest of the field got through the tricky old Hall Corner with no incidents. It was soon obvious that Sam was going to be difficult to catch as by the end of lap one he had a lead of over two seconds and at one point in the race this was extended to 11 seconds. There was some fierce battles behind with the first one for fourth place and then the second for eighth. The drivers fighting were only fractions of a second behind each other but mainly kept the fight clean and fair. This is not a track that is good for overtaking, but Jack Goldstraw (Pegasus Motorsport International) dispelled this theory by moving from 21st on the grid to tenth in the results. Casualties in the race included Euan Hankey with a gear linkage failure and Matt Harris (Team SWR Locktite) after being hit form behind my Callum MacLeod (Filsell Motorsport). Promatecme/Soper Sport worked flat out between qualifying and the race to change Ross Curnow's engine. They managed the task in a couple of hours and got him out to complete the last three laps and make sure the car is ready for race two. Nathan Antunes (Motaworld Racing) and Jonathan Legris (Pegasus Motorsport International) had a coming together, but this still didn't stop the Rookie driver setting the fastest lap of the race.
Results - Round 9 - 12 Laps
1 Sam Bird (GBR) (Fortec Motorsport) 17:25.396
2 Dean Smith (GBR) (Nexa Racing) 17:34.969
3 Simon Walker-Hansell (GBR) (Carlin Motorsport) 17:37.028
4 Stian Sørlie (NOR) (Fortec Motorsport) 17:37.383
5 Michael Meadows (GBR) (Master Motorsport) R 17:37.733
6 Jordan Wise (GBR) (Nexa Racing) 17:38.203
7 Nathan Antunes (AUS) (Motaworld Racing) 17:39.600
8 Niall Breen (GBR) (Barwell Motorsport) 17:41.072
9 Oliver Turvey (GBR) (Team SWR Locktite) 17:41.144
10 Jack Goldstraw (GBR) (Pegasus Motorsport Int) 17:44.659
11 Chris Holmes (GBR) (Fortec Motorsport) 17:46.174
12 Matt Howson (GBR) (Filsell Motorsport) 17:48.658
13 Lars Viljoen (GBR) (Team SWR Locktite) 17:49.312
14 Dominique Cauvin (F) (Motaworld Racing) R 17:50.730
15 Duarte Felix da Costa (POR) (Carlin Motorsport) 17:51.031
16 Paul Rees (GBR) (Team SWR Locktite) 17:53.300
17 Joe Osborne (GBR) (Nexa Racing) R 17:55.738
18 Aaron Steele (GBR) (Mark Burdett Motorsport) R 18:04.453
19 Jonathan Legris (GBR) (Pegasus Motorsport Int) R 18:58.616
Edward Hoy (GBR) (Mark Burdett Motorsport) R 9 laps
Ross Curnow (GBR) (Promatecme/Soper Sport) 4 laps
Matt Harris (GBR) (Team SWR Locktite) 2 laps
Callum MacLeod (GBR) Filsell Motorsport) 1 lap
Euan Hankey (GBR) (Barwell Motorsport) R 0 laps
Jonathan Legris (Pegasus Motorsport International) 1min 25.813secs, 93.38mph, 150.28 kph
Pole Position - Sam Bird (Fortec Motorsport) 1min 24.812secs
R indicates driver eligible for Rookie Cup
Round 10 of the Championship will be at Oulton Park tomorrow (19th June).
Championship Points Tables
1. Bird (2 wins) 107, 2. Howson (3 wins) 91, 3. Sørlie (2 wins) 83, 4. Smith 70, 5. Antunes (1 win) 64, 6. Walker Hansell (1 win) 62, 7. Curnow 59, 8. Wise 38, 9. Keen 33, 10. Turvey 26, 11. Felix da Costa 22, 12. Hankey 20, 13. Breen 16, 14. Meadows 13, 15=. Legris and Viljoen 6, 17. Harris 5, 18. Leon 3, 19=. Cauvin and MacLeod 2, 21. Goldstraw 1.
1. Hankey (4 wins) 125,2. Meadows (3 wins) 120, 3. Legris (1 win) 82, 4. Cauvin (1 win) 76, 5. Steele 70, 6. Osborne 66, 7. Hoy 40.
1. Fortec Motorsport 190, 2. Nexa Racing 108, 3. Filsell Motorsport 93, 4. Carlin Motorsport 84, 5. Team SWR Locktite 70, 6. Motaworld Racing 66, 7. Promatecme/Soper Sport 59, 8. Barwell Motorsport 36, 9. Master Motorsport 13, 10. Pegasus Motorsport International10.
Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and-coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.
This racing car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. The single-seater is propelled by a 140 bhp BMW engine up to 230km/h and exceeds by far the safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. The HANS safety system is also mandatory.
In 2005, Formula BMW will be staged five times as part of the Formula One support programme. All the series offer a multifaceted Education and Coaching Programme as well as sponsorship for promising racing talents. The best-known alumni of this talent hothouse are Formula One drivers Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien.
BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen: "Formula BMW offers talented young drivers more than just a car. In the Education and Coaching Programme we have designed specially for them, they learn everything they need to know to hold their own in the big wide world of motor racing. Formula BMW has shot out of the blocks to become the top entry-level class for Formula racing worldwide."
In December 2005 the Bahrain International Circuit will host the first Formula BMW World Final. Young racing drivers from the four regional Formula BMW series will compete against each other. The winner will get the chance to test a Formula 1 car.
- Heike Bartsch, BMW-