Alexander Rossi secured the International Formula Master Rookies’ Championship in dramatic style at Imola on Sunday, by winning a thrilling final race of the season. Alexander ended the season championship nine points clear in the rookies’ standings and fourth overall.

“My first season racing in Europe was something that I will never forget,” Alexander commented. “I came into the championship without any winter testing as well as a team change mid season, which caused some high moments, but just as many low moments throughout the year. However, what I learned and was able to experience is something that I will remember for the rest of my motorsport career. On top of this, finishing off the season with the rookie title and win number three was very rewarding and it just made me realize that one can never stop pushing in and out of the car even if the results are not always there.”

After crossing the line with what he believed was a 6th place qualifying effort, Alexander was shocked to learn that his on track performance was being reviewed. Later, he would be informed that he was to be given a questionable five-place grid penalty for using “too much road” on the exit of the famous corner Acque Minerali, thereby not “respecting the track boundaries.” Not allowing this to dissuade his focus, Alexander was motivated as he clawed his way back to the top of the order for the remainder of the weekend.

“I was obviously not satisfied with qualifying 6th, as the potential for the front row was there; however, we lost valuable time during my pit stop for the 2nd set of new tires,” Alexander said. “Additionally the stewards imposed a new rule immediately before qualifying, which was meant to prevent drivers from running four wheels over the white line on exit of Acque Minerali. I ran over the line and do not dispute that, but what was frustrated at the time given the fact that a large percentage of the field did the same thing. It is the quickest way through that corner and only myself and Josef Kral were penalized.”

As a result of the penalty, Alexander was relegated to 11th place on the grid for race one. This setback was certainly behind him as he drove a brilliantly aggressive race, overtaking six cars to finish 5th.

Alexander lined up fourth on the grid for race two. He had a brilliant start to the race overtaking two positions and was in second behind team-mate Erik Janis by the exit of Turn 1. For the next 11 laps, Alexander targeted a move for the lead but had to patiently wait for the right opportunity while withstanding pressure from Josef Kral in third place. Alexander overtook the lead on lap 12 with an amazing move to the inside entering the 2nd chicane Villeneuve. Once free from Janis, Alexander was immediately able to stretch a gap and received the chequered flag with a 1.7 second advantage ahead of Kral 2nd, Afanasiev 3rd and Janis 4th.

“Sunday’s race win was probably Alexander’s best drive of the season,” says ISR team principal Igor Salaquarda. “He was under pressure for a long time, but he didn’t make a single mistake for the whole race. It was a very good way for him to end the season because it proved what a good driver he is.”

While Imola was the final event of the International Formula Master 2009 Championship, Alexander has a commitment to participate in the GP2 Main Series Collective Tests at Jerez, Spain, October 6-8th and Paul Ricard, France, November 10- 12th. Rossi will use these tests to better prepare for his Formula One test with BMW Sauber also in Jerez, December 1st – 3rd.

Rossi is currently residing in Marina di Pietrasanta, Italy where he trains daily with Beppe Sebastiani, preparing for the tests mentioned above and the 2010 season. Rossi will have short holiday in December when he will come home to California.

“I am looking forward to my schedule for the next couple of months as the opportunities that have presented themselves are incredible,” Alexander commented. “I will be pushing very hard to do a good job in both the GP2 tests as well as the Formula One test. My fitness program is being increased all the time and I am very confident that I will be ready to maximize my potential in cars of such calibre.”