Lee delighted with Chinese GP weekend

  26 September 2004: Shanghai International Circuit, China
Event: Formula BMW Asia (in support of the Chinese Grand Prix)

Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus driver Marchy LEE Yin-Kin was pleased with his weekend at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, despite being knocked out of his second Formula BMW Asia race at the start.
Lee had his crowning moment though in his first race on Saturday, where he won in front of what he considers his home crowd (there are no racing circuits in Hong Kong). This meant the first national anthem heard at this GP event was that of China, which Lee says was a very special moment.

“The crowds in Shanghai were massive, and they are all so excited about the racing, so I am so glad I was able to give them a Chinese win to start it all off. Hearing the Chinese national anthem at a racing event is very rare at the moment, but I hope that my performance will inspire others to get into the sport early and secure the future of the sport here,” said Lee.

That was Lee’s tenth win in twelve races so far this year, with the final two races to be held in Korea in October. Lee’s domination secured him the Driver’s title with four races to spare, and this success garnered some attention at the F1 event.

“We had some very interesting meetings in the F1 paddock, and BMW.Williams were very kind and invited me to watch the F1 race from their racing garage. That was an amazing experience, to see how this top team works together during the race,” said Lee.

Lee believes his ethnicity has helped this weekend in Shanghai, but he hopes that his driving ability is what the experts are interested in.

“I am proud to be Chinese and to be on the forefront of Chinese motorsports, but I want to be noticed more for my driving ability, rather than just for my marketability. We have not decided what path to take next year, but we have a few ideas and we will be sure to make the right choice. My year in Formula BMW Asia has been a wonderful learning experience, and it is definitely the best formula series in Asia,” said Lee.

Lee’s manager Peter Thompson, who is also Founder and President of Meritus Racing, was similarly pleased with Lee’s positive weekend.

“He had a great race on Saturday, despite being launched in to the air and injuring his hand, and I hope that his performance throughout the year will put him in a good position for next year. BMW have been very supportive and helpful throughout the year, and especially this weekend with the F1, and it is great to see this connection between Formula BMW and the top level,” said Thompson.

Young Malaysian Iruwan takes Maiden Podium

Malaysian youngster Nik Iruwan took his maiden podium at the second Formula BMW Asia race in support of the Chinese Grand Prix, and saves his team Meritus’ perfect podium record. This is Iruwan’s first year in car racing, after ten successful years in karts, and his incredible progress since the start of the season has culminated in this second place finish at the brand new Shanghai International Circuit. Moreno Soeprapto (Minardi Team Asia) won the race, and Kyoung-Ouk You (BMW Korea E-Rain) was third.

“I am so happy to be on the podium finally. The team and I have worked so hard all season, and now we have been rewarded. All the bad memories have disappeared, as we have surpassed our target for 2004,” said a beaming Iruwan.

Iruwan’s team mate Marchy LEE Yin-Kin, who won the race yesterday, was taken out of the race at the first corner, and was understandably upset at not finishing what he considers one of his home races.

“I’m disappointed because the accident was unnecessary. I was holding my line and Hanss [Lin] cut across and hit me, then I was hit from behind and damaged my rear right wheel. But I am still very happy with my win yesterday, and 10 wins from 12 races is great too. Nik [Iruwan] did a great job, and he really deserves his second place,” said Lee.

Lee won the championship at the last round in Japan. Iruwan’s second place maintains Team Meritus’ perfect podium finish, and he was delighted to step in to save the day.

“I had an incredible start, going from fifth to second. I defended well from Moreno [Soeprapto], but a slight mistake let him through. I was able to keep up with him, but couldn’t get past. I knew You was coming up behind, but I also knew I had the speed to keep him there, and I didn’t want to make another mistake to throw it all away, so I calmed myself and drove consistently. I braked a little earlier on the final lap, just to be sure, and when I saw the chequered flag and the team leaning over and waving, I couldn’t believe it. I am very proud to be the top Meritus driver in this race,” said Iruwan.

Tyson Sy (Minardi Team Asia) had actually crossed the line first, but a jump start meant he was penalized. Meritus’ other drivers also had a successful race with Moroccan Mehdi Bennani finishing fourth, which seals the Rookie championship for the youngster.

Mark Patterson (USA) had another steady race, finishing ninth. He thoroughly enjoyed his race, despite spending most of it on his own.

“I got a clean start and there was less mayhem at the first corner. The car was handling great again, so I was able to push and did not make any errors. I just felt great throughout the race, and I love this circuit. It should make for a really exciting F1 race,” said Patterson.

Tobia Kipper (HKG) gained a lot from this his second ever car race, finishing twelfth, which will serve him well as he enters a full season next year.

“My race was fantastic, my braking improved a lot and I was able to overtake 1 car, but a slight mistake on the exit of the corner meant I gave the spot back. I’m still learning a lot every time I get into the car, and the team has been very helpful,” said Kipper.

Lee has received a lot of attention this weekend, and has been meeting various parties in the F1 paddock. He was invited by Dr. Mario Theissen, head of BMW Motorsports, to watch the F1 race from the BMW.Williams pit garage. With the right support, Lee is hoping to find a very good drive in 2005 as he proceeds up the ladder to the top.

Round 12 results

POS No Driver/Nat Team
4
5
10
3
7
5
2
8
11
7
13
12
9
5
11
61
24
21
2
23
22
52
6
33
15
88
86
Moreno SOEPRAPTO (INA)
Nik Iruwan NIK IZANI (MAS)
YOU Kyoung-Ouk (KOR)
Mehdi BENNANI (MAR)
Salman ALKHALIFA (BRN)
Dado PENA (PHI)
Hamed AL FARDAN (BRN)
Mohammed AL BAHRANA (BRN)
Mark Patterson (USA)
Han HAN (CHN)
C.Ao
Tobia Kipper
Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE)
Chi-Hwa TING
Minardi Team Asia
Team Meritus
BMW Korea E-Rain
Team Meritus
Belgravia Motorsport
Minardi Team Asia
Belgravia Motorsport
Belgravia Motorsport
Team Meritus
Team E-Rain
Team E-Rain
Team Meritus
Belgravia Motorsport
Team E-Rain

Marchy Lee wins thrilling first ever race at the Chinese Grand Prix

Chinese racing champion Marchy LEE Yin-Kin (HKG) won the incident packed first ever race at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, with Bahraini driver Hamed Al Fardan coming in second and Tyson Sy of the Philippines finishing third. The Formula BMW Asia race is supporting the GP, and it was the perfect way to introduce the Chinese crowds to motor racing.

Lee, who drives for Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus, started from pole, but did not have an ideal start, letting Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE) through at the first corner. Lee kept up with Lin and made a sweeping move on lap 2 but Lin closed the door on him. The following lap Lee made a similar move and pulled alongside Lin, but Lin moved across again and the pair made contact tire to tire, launching Lee clear into the air. After a heavy landing Lee managed to keep going, taking the lead while Lin fell back with damage.

“I was right alongside Hanss [Lin], holding my line, then suddenly I was launched upwards. My left side went really high, and all I could see was sky. When I came back to earth the impact was very heavy and the steering wheel moved very violently in my hands. I felt a little pain in my left hand, and my glove was getting wet, but I kept pushing because Hamed was catching up with me. After I opened up a slight lead, I eased off a little to protect the car in case it was damaged during my landing. I still had to concentrate very hard because the car was not handling right, and I was so happy when I saw the chequered flag,” said a delighted Lee.

After the race, it was discovered that Lee’s steering wheel had split the webbing between his left thumb and forefinger, which required 5 stitches. It is not clear whether he will be fit to race on Sunday. Nevertheless Lee was ecstatic with his win, even though he had won the championship already at the last event.

“I was so determined to win at this Shanghai race. When my car was launched up, I thought that it was all over. I was very lucky to keep going, and even more so to win the race. I hope the Chinese crowd enjoyed the race, and I hope to be able to give them more to cheer about tomorrow,” said Lee.

Lee’s victory meant the first national anthem heard at this inaugural Chinese Grand Prix was the Chinese national anthem, which sent the crowd into a frenzy, and bodes well for the atmosphere throughout the rest of the weekend.

There was plenty of action further back in the field too. After spinning out, Lin rejoined the track straight into the left front wheel of Team Meritus driver Nik Iruwan, taking the young Malaysian out of the race on only the second lap.

“The car was feeling really good, I had a good start and I was feeling confident, then all of a sudden I was out of the race. I am very disappointed, because I wanted to show my improvements at this big event, but this is racing and things like this happen. I hope that my car will be fixed by tomorrow’s race, so that I can have another chance,” said a disheartened Iruwan.

In a similar incident, Meritus’ third driver, Mehdi Bennani (MAR) was taken out of the race while passing Al Khalifa; the latter lost grip and began to spin, then speared into the rear of Bennani’s car.

Meritus also ran 2 extra cars at this popular event. Mark Patterson (USA) had a fierce battle with Lin, who had dropped to ninth place.

“I was drafting him along the long straight when Hanss cut to the right. I followed him to keep slipstreaming, then he swung to the left, so I followed, but then he went to the right again and finally back to the left, so by the time the corner came I couldn’t make my move,” said Patterson, who originally intended to just watch the F1 race, but jumped at the opportunity to race in a support event.

Tobia Kipper (HKG) was expecting incidents at the first corner, and was wise to find his way around them. He was maintaining a steady pace in this his first ever car race, but suddenly noticed his engine temperature overheating.

“When the temperature went up I had to start short shifting to save the engine. This slowed me down a lot, but I still gained a lot of confidence, which will be very useful for tomorrow’s race,” said Kipper.

The second Formula BMW Asia race takes place on Sunday morning, before the Grand Prix, and will again be a great opener for the main event.

 

Round 11 results
POS
No Driver/Nat Team ||||
Gap
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
38
23
3
5
2
4
6
22
88
61
52
15
33
Marchy LEE Ying-Kin (HKG)
Hamed AL FARDAN (BRN)
Tyson SY (PHI)
Moreno SOEPRAPTO (INA)
Dado PENA (PHI)
Robert T BOUGHEY (THA)
Han HAN (CHN)
Mohammed AL BAHRANA (BRN)
Hanss LIN Po-Heng (TPE)
YOU Kyoung-Ouk (KOR)
Mark Patterson (USA)
Tobia Kipper
C.Ao
Monarch Lubricants Red Bull Team Meritus
Belgravia Motorsport
Minardi Team Asia
Minardi Team Asia
Minardi Team Asia
Minardi Team Asia
Team E-Rain
Belgravia Motorsport
Belgravia Motorsport
BMW Korea E-Rain
Team Meritus
Team Meritus
Team E-Rain