A Successful Debut for Thompson in Malaysia
Gary Thompson has taken a sensational victory on his debut in car racing with a dominant performance in the first race for the 2009 season of Formula BMW Pacific at Sepang Malaysia.
Thompson started from pole in Saturday’s first round of the championship, dropped to fourth at the start but soon retook the lead before cruising away to a three second win adding fastest lap of the race for good measure.
The 16-year-old from Dublin now leads the championship after a weekend when he established himself as the early pace maker with two pole positions from qualifying, a race win with fastest lap and a battling third place finish in Sunday’s shortened second round.
Thompson headed to Malaysia in confident mood after promising form in testing with the Malaysian based E-Rain Motorsport squad and set a goal of a podium finish from his first weekend in cars.
From the first laps of free practice it looked like that was well within his compass as he recorded third best time in free practice with a car set up that he was confident could be improved for qualifying.
So it proved as Thompson’s best lap of the all important single qualifying session was six hundredths of a second faster than his nearest rival to put him on pole on his debut. His second fastest time was also faster by more than a tenth of a second than any other driver’s second best lap, securing pole position for race two.
In race one on Saturday afternoon, Thompson got a little too much wheelspin at the start and slipped to fourth place. Within four laps he was back in front as the lead duo of E-Rain as team mate Fahmi Ilyas and Team Holzer PFX driver Calvin Wong, both ran wide.
Thompson set about opening up the gap to his fellow front starter Chris Wootton and recorded fastest lap on his way to a 3.112s success.
“Fantastic! It was almost perfect. I made a complete mess of the start which left me in fourth after the first lap. Then I got into the lead and from there it all went to plan. It’s the ideal start to the season and I’m thrilled” said the ecstatic Donabate racer after the race.
Thompson followed up his success with a strong podium finish in race two on Sunday morning but it could have been even better for him had the race not been stopped at half distance.
Following earlier delays in the programme and with the Formula 1TM Malaysian Grand Prix race looming, the organisers shortened the race to five laps of the 5.5km Sepang circuit. With the track surface greasy on the pole side Thompson was a little tardy away from the lights and once again slipped to fourth.
He soon got up to third and was challenging for second as the chequered flag fell to conclude an impressive first weekend in car racing.
Thompson was, nonetheless, satisfied with his weekend’s work. “That was an almost perfect weekend with two poles a win and a fastest lap,” the Aviation Display supported driver said. “It was a pity race two was shortened as it didn’t give me much time to make up for my terrible start from the wetter side but the main thing is we scored good points and it feels great to be leading the championship."
He didn’t have much time to savour his successful first car event as he was on a plane within hours of the chequered flag in Sepang, bound for Monza where he is testing with Raikkonen Roberston in preparation for the Formula BMW Europe round on the Italian Grand Prix programme in September.
This year’s Formula BMW Pacific series takes in events at Formula 1TM Grand Prix in Malaysia and Singapore as well as the World Touring Car Championship in Japan, the Asian Festival Of Speed in Malaysia and Indonesia and the world famous Macau Grand Prix.
Thompson will also take part in events for the Formula BMW Europe series at the British and Belgian Grand Prix when he will drive for the Raikkonen Roberston team.
Prepared by www.garythompsonracing.com