Malaysia’s Qi-Meritus Racing Team had a sensational start in the inaugural Singapore Formula One Grand Prix when its Romanian driver Doru Sechalariu claimed pole position in the Formula BMW Pacific Championship here today.

The 18-year old Sechalariu, making his debut with the Malaysian outfit, overcame the tricky twists and turns of the 5.067 km Marina Bay street circuit in the business district of the Republic to line up right at the front of the ten-lap race tomorrow.

And in doing so he has taken the shine off the series leader and favourite, and also teamate Ross Jamison, for the support race which is being held on the sidelines of the historic Singapore GP tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Formula BMW Pacific race is Round 12 of the championship.

Sechelariu, fresh from his season in the Formula BMW Europe, shrugged off the heat and humidity to clock 2:21.84 secs, slightly faster than Jamison’s 2:22.13secs to clock the fastest time in the official practice session which was cut short by eight minutes due to a crash.

“It’s a good feeling to finish on top. But like everybody else, we are all still adapting to the track and the conditions. Who knows tomorrow could be different,” said the Romanian.

For Jamison, who leads the series with a 22-point advantage, lining up second on the starting grid will make little difference.

“The track set-up is quite different from the other circuits I have raced on. Maybe the positioning of the starting grid could be in my advantage taking into consideration the lay-out of the circuit,” said the 18-year old Jamison.

The Qi-Meritus Racing outfit had an encouraging day on the track yesterday with four top finishes in the top seven of the 17-car race.

Sechelaru is in pole; Jamison is behind him and Chris Wotten is on fifth and Simon Moss finished seventh.

“We are in pole position for the race and we are in pole position for the entire series. What more can I ask for. It’s all the result of some hard work we had put in since arriving in Singapore two days ago. We walked the circuit and we had a thorough feel of it and we prepared the cars well,” said team leader Peter Thompson.

But for Jamison who is looking to wrap up the series with only two legs left – Macau and Shanghai – things could have been different.

“I knew I was capable of going faster because I was getting used to the circuit after a couple of mistakes earlier on. But in any case it’s a challenging track and I am sure all of us enjoyed it and look forward to the race tomorrow,” said Jamison.

The first race (Round 12) takes place tomorrow evening while Round 13 will be held at 4pm on Sunday.