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Armaan Ebrahim makes history
May 16, 2005 16:38 IST
Last Updated: May 16, 2005 17:08 IST
Indian Formula BMW junior and rookie Armaan Ebrahim (Team E-Rain) astounded the Asian racing fraternity with a brilliant victory in Round 4 of Formula BMW Asia at Sepang, Malaysia, on Sunday.
The 15-year old is the first rookie ever to win a round of the championship in just his fourth outing in the car. He drove the 20-lap race with a maturity way beyond his years. Second was fellow-BMW junior Robert Boughey (THA/Team Meritus), followed by series leader Salman Al Khalifa (BAH/Team E-Rain).
Said Ebrahim, who is being tipped for a test drive with India's A1GP Team and has aspirations to follow in the footsteps of his mentor, Narain Karthikeyan: "I never thought I'd win this quickly. I've been getting more experience and have learned from the first three races. Today I put my head down and am much more confident. You can expect more from me, but I have to thank BMW for giving me this opportunity and JK Tyre, my primary sponsors for having faith in me."
In the qualifying for the race, the fastest rookie was the Ebrahim, who, a mere eight minutes before the end of the session, came in for a set up change and returned to the track for a final three laps. The BMW junior beat Malaysia's Aaron Lim, who is made his racecar debut, to fourth place literally in the closing seconds of the session.
In the race, Al Khalifa was slow off the start and lost his pole position advantage immediately, with fellow-countryman Hamed Al Fardan (Team Meritus) who started from the grid third seizing the lead almost immediately.
Ebrahim was up to second by the end of lap one, ahead of Boughey, and began to close the gap on Al Fardan. Mid-way through the race, the Indian made a valiant effort to take the lead, but just couldn't quite pull it off.
Al Khalifa was on a charge to make up the places he lost at the start and set the fastest lap of the race and there was almost nothing between the top four. Ebrahim finally managed to grab the race lead on lap 16, while behind him Al Fardan came under pressure from a determined Boughey. The two battled it out over the next three laps until disaster struck Al Fardan on the final lap of the race when the two came together, taking him out of the contention and denying him a precious podium finish. That handed Al Khalifa third place, a position he later declared rightfully belonged to an inconsolable Al Fardan.
The Formula BMW is the world's leading entry-level class in Formula racing. In 2005 the series will be held in Germany, Britain, Asia and the USA. Up-and-coming drivers as young as 15-years-old are given the opportunity of entering motor racing with the high-tech, standard FB02 race car.