PAC: Series Macau race report

Buller conquers Macau. Macau, China -- Will Buller (GBR/17/Eurointernational) conquered the notorious Guia Circuit today, winning the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season finale in support of the 56th Macau Grand Prix. The dramatic eight-lap race saw ...

PAC: Series Macau race report

Buller conquers Macau.

Macau, China -- Will Buller (GBR/17/Eurointernational) conquered the notorious Guia Circuit today, winning the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season finale in support of the 56th Macau Grand Prix. The dramatic eight-lap race saw Buller finish ahead of teammate Jim Pla (FRA/17) and the newly crowned Formula BMW Pacific winner Rio Haryanto (INA/16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus).

Just eight out of the record 23-strong field finished the race, after an incident at Mandarin Bend on Lap 1 forced numerous cars out of the race. Buller's win gave his team Eurointernational their 25th Formula BMW victory of the season in 35 races.

Finishing fourth overall was guest driver, Hong Kong's Jim Ka To (24/Champ Motorsport), who was racing on the Guia Circuit for the eighth time.

Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZIM/15/Eurasia Motorsport) finished fifth overall in his Macau Grand Prix debut and, though he suffered a tyre puncture as a result of the opening-lap incident, the Rookie Cup runner-up managed a strong finish to his debut racing season.

A fiercely competitive field combined with one of the most challenging circuits in the world for what many predicted would be an action-packed start.

At Mandarin Bend, a chain reaction of racing incidents began as the drivers jostled for position. Calvin Wong (MAS/17/Team Holzer PFX) first made contact with Jazeman Jaafar (MAS/17/ Raikkonen Roberston Racing) and then spun and collected Formula BMW Junior Chris Wootton (AUS/20/Eurasia Motorsport).

From there, several drivers saw their races end prematurely including Wootton, Wong, Formula BMW Junior Steel Guiliana (AUS/17/Atlantic Racing Team), Muhamad Alif Jafri (MAS/17/Team Holzer PFX), and guest drivers Facu Regalia (ESP/17/Eurointernational), Paul Lau (HKG/Eurasia Motorsport) and Tomoki Nojiri (JPN/20/TopSpeed Racing Shanghai).

Others managed to escape, including Jefferies and Fahmi Ilyas (MAS/17/E-Rain Racing), although each picked up tyre punctures which significantly slowed them.

Going into Lisboa, teammates Felipe Nasr (BRA/17/Eurointernational) and Pla had a slight coming together which saw Nasr, at the time in the lead, drop down the field. He would make his way back up to cross the finish line fourth, before a jump-start penalty and second penalty for overtaking under the yellow flag saw his result excluded.

The Safety Car was sent out for a lap, but on the restart on lap three, Buller managed to get ahead of Pla and lead for the rest of the race. Haryanto was comfortable in third, although more drivers saw their race end, including 2007 Formula BMW Asia winner Jaafar who hit the barrier at San Francisco Bend.

On the last lap, a mistake by Buller at the Melco Hairpin could have spelled out a different result, but Buller recovered and Pla, who finished just four-tenths of a second behind, was unable to take the lead.

With a spectacular finale, the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season drew to a close, with Haryanto as Drivers Classification winner, Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) taking the Rookie Cup honours, and Questnet Team Qi-Meritus the winning team.

Formula BMW Pacific Drivers' Quotes:

1st William Buller: "After the start I kind of knew the safety car would come out, so I just made sure I got a good restart. I pushed a little too hard on the hairpin, but I'm really happy with the result. My best corners were the last two and every lap I would get a good gap going down the straight. Jim was very good going at the first corner and so the last corner was key for me."

2nd Jim Pla: "There was a little bit of damage to my car [after an incident with teammate Felipe Nasr], but it was not enough to stop. Yes, he [William] did a big mistake at the hairpin but it was too late to overtake. He was very good in the last two corner and even if I had been a bit faster in the mountain area it was impossible to overtake at this point."

3rd Rio Haryanto: "At the beginning I was confident, but then on the second last lap I made a big mistake and then the race [for the win] was over for me. But it's very nice to be the season champion, the team has given me a good car so I am very happy."

4th Jim Ka To: "I think it was a very good race. Actually at the start, I was behind the cars involved in the incidents, so I do think I was lucky to get through the accident. All the way I was fifth and trying to push and push and while one car overtook me, I was able to overtake another at a slow corner. Even though I have been here eight times now, I think this was a very challenging race, but a very good experience."

5th and Top Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies: "I tried to miss the incident, there were a lot of parts flying around! I think if you finished the race today, I think you are lucky. I had a tyre puncture and before I realized it I thought I had a chance because so many other drivers were out. But with the puncture, I couldn't maintain the pace."

-credit: fbmw pac

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