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Archive for December, 2008

Alexander Rossi the Formula BMW Americas champion was a favorite among several to win the 2008 Formula BMW World Final yesterday at the “Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez“ in Mexico City, Mexico. Rossi did just that, becoming the 2008 Formula BMW World Champion. His impressive drive in the final looked easy as no one had Rossi’s pace setting fastest lap and crossing the finish line 0.655 seconds ahead Michael Christensen, of Denmark in 2nd.

The world final win caps a dream season for the 17-year old from Nevada City California who clinched the Formula BMW Americas title in September. With the World Final win yesterday, Rossi earns a test with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Rossi set many records during the 2008 season including resetting his own several times. He now can add another to his resume becoming the first American to win the Formula BMW World Final and the only American in the international series for 2008.
“Since I began racing go karts at age 10 my path has been Formula One” said a delighted Rossi. “I still have a long way to go and much to prove, but it is important for a solid American to be in Formula One and that goal is becoming closer for me. This was a fantastic end to the 2008 season capturing both the Formula BMW Americas and World Final Championship and now an opportunity to test with BMW Sauber F1 Team. You can bet I wlll make the most of the opportunity and prepare accordingly.The entire Eurointernational team had a tremendous amount of confidence coming to Mexico City and no doubts we would bid for top honors. It is really sweet to win after overcoming technical penalties and mechanical issues this weekend, proving our resolve in the final made the difference. I have to thank my team owner Antonio Ferrari for giving me a perfect car and my parents, sponsors and supporters for an incredible 2008 season.”

Rossi posted the fastest time in the second of Friday’s four practice sessions as he came to terms with the speed and flow of the 14-turn, 4.421-kilometer circuit. Rossi finished second in Friday’s Super Pole competition to earn a front row starting spot in the first two heat races. In post-qualifying inspection a small wing spacer was found to have fallen off and Rossi was penalized four starting positions relegating him to 6th on the grid for first two heats.
Saturday in Heat one Rossi worked his way up to finish fourth. In Heat two he finished second and well on the way to an excellent World Final starting spot. Starting fourth in Heat three, a faulty gear box held him back, finishing a disappointing eighth.

For the Final Rossi was starting in fourth position (points earned in the three heat races). Rossi executed a perfect drive in the 19 lap main event. Falling back to sixth on the first lap after a cautious start, he began his charge to the front. On lap one he cleared Mikel Grenier of Canada. On lap four he drove into the top-three overtaking Ollie Millroy of Britain and Daniel Juncandella of Spain. Four laps later he was in a zone as he applied pressure and overtook 2008 Formula BMW Europe champion and local hero Esteban Gutierrez from Mexico for second. With six laps remaining in the 19-lap race Rossi passed Michael Christensen, of Denmark, to take the lead and drive to the checkered flag for a well-deserved Formula BMW World Final victory.

Felix RosenqvistFelix Rosenqvist, 17, this weekend secured his first international single-seater championship title as Asian Formula Renault series Formula Asia 2.0 reached its final stop on the 2008 calendar at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Swede was declared Champion after finishing second in Saturday’s Race 1, but remained in the limelight by claiming victories in the three following races on Sunday. Rosenqvist – the first Swedish driver to triumph in the championship – ended the year having won ten out of a possible 15 races, standing on the podium 13 times and starting from the first row of the grid in all but two events.

“I don’t think I have ever understood how nice it is to win a championship before today,” Rosenqvist states. “I am very happy with how the season developed and glad that I reached the target we set at the beginning of the year, while it also feels great to have won the final three races here in Shanghai to end 2008 appropriately! Now that I’ve secured my first single-seater title, I think the timing is right to direct a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me this year – March3 Racing have been absolutely fantastic to work with, and I now look forward to at least as good a 2009”!

Felix went to the season finale in Shanghai with a significant advantage in the standings, and when championship contender Mathias Beche was forced to retire after a collision with Yuki Iwasaki in Race 1, second place was enough for the title to land in the Swedish driver’s hands. The Sunday races were controlled by Felix from lights to flag, and awaiting the new Champion now are a number of test sessions to reward him for his championship success.

“Nothing is settled for next year, but I do have a few thoughts about what would be interesting to try,” Felix concludes. “During the season, a host of alternatives have turned up and I look forward to some exciting tests this winter. At the moment, though, I just feel relieved and want to enjoy winning this title – it will help me a lot in the future, and Formula Asia 2.0 has been an instrumental stepping-stone; Xie xie”!

On Saturday night, Felix Rosenqvist was named one of this year’s Ronnie Peterson Memorial Foundation scholarship winners. The honor-filled annual prize, which is traditionally handed out to gifted drivers or leaders within Swedish motorsport, was presented at the Swedish Motorsport Gala at Nacka Strand, Stockholm, and acts as a very likeable confirmation that Felix’s speed in Formula Asia 2.0 is appreciated also in his native country. Despite the fact that Felix received the largest amount of money (SEK 40.000:-) of all scholarship winners, the night wasn’t over as he was later called back up on stage: this time as the outright winner of the prestigious Rydell Special Award following the decision from prize initiator and WTCC driver Rickard Rydell to encourage Felix’s performances this year by awarding him what was probably the most personal distinction of all during the night.

Felix went to Stockholm knowing absolutely nothing about the Awards ceremony, having been fooled by his family and friends who convinced him he was heading for an important Formula Renault meeting in the Swedish capital. However, with a wide variety of guests invited to the happening, Felix began to ponder what was actually going on until Swedish Motorsport body the SBF wanted to speak to him on stage to discuss his season in Asia. Thereafter, it all became obvious as the Ronnie Peterson Memorial Foundation scholarships were presented – 30 years after Peterson died following a first-lap crash at Monza, Italy. The Rydell Special Award – which was founded in 1999 with the aim of helping talented drivers both financially and strategically to develop their international single-seater careers – now sees Felix join an exclusive group of drivers (Sebastian Hohenthal, Alx Danielsson and Marcus Ericsson to mention a few) who have won the Award in earlier years. The motivation for the 2008 Rydell Special Award read: “A young driver who has dominated the championship in which he competes and now is ready for the next step in his international career”.

Next up for Felix is another trip to Shanghai, China, where he will try to win the Formula Asia 2.0 Drivers’ and Teams’ titles on the weekend of December 5-7 – this time strengthened by the beautiful support of his home country.