Young New Zealand racing driver Dominic Storey is keen to end his rookie year in the 2006 Formula BMW Asia single-seater motor racing series on a high note.
Kart star Storey, 16, the series' only true single-seater novice at the beginning of the year, has made significant strides since the first round of the 2006 series at the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix meeting at the Sepang circuit in March, and though he is not in contention for the series title he has twice been the second quickest qualifier and been on the podium (with two third places) at the last two series rounds.
Heading into this weekend's series finale, at the Zhuhai International Circuit on the Chinese mainland adjacent Hong Kong island Storey is sixth in the overall points standings and fourth in the Rookie standings.
But after perhaps his most impressive performance so far this season at the penultimate round of the 2006 series at China's rain-lashed Formula Grand Prix meeting at Shanghai last month the talented young Aucklander says that his goal this weekend is to do even better.
"What I'd really like is pole and at least one win," he said on the eve of his latest departure from Auckland International Airport. "I know it's a big ask but my plan at the moment is to come back and go for the series win in 2007 so a win at the final round this year would be the perfect way to end my rookie season."
A big ask?
Not really says the young Aucklander's team boss, Mark Goddard.
"To win in F.BMW as a complete novice is almost impossible in your first year racing cars but Dominic is now a regular podium finisher and I don't think anyone here would be surprised if he does win a race at Zhuhai. Eurasia's personnel have been involved in the early careers of many successful drivers, such as Narain Kartikeyan and Alex Yoong, and we all believe Dominic has got what it takes to get to the top of the sport."
Australian Sam Abay heads into this weekend's series finale at the top of the points standings but Storey's compatriot and former kart series sparring partner Earl Bamber is just 16 points behind.
The pair took a win apiece at the penultimate round of the 2006 series at Shanghai a fortnight ago and with three chances to score points this weekend the series title could go to either driver.
Third overall and with an outside chance of an upset should the other two drivers suffer setbacks is young West Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo who lies 56 points behind Melbourne driver Abay.
The Rookie title is between Bamber and Ricciardo, with the young Kiwi leading on 255 points from Ricciardo with 223, Thai-based Brit James Grunwell with 210 and Storey with 164.
Qualifying and the first of the weekend's three races will be held this Saturday and the final two races on Sunday.
Formula BMW is the world’s leading entry-level class in Formula racing. 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.
The car has been seen on the grid since 2002 and has set standards particularly on the safety technology front. BMW's 140 bhp K1200 engine is capable of propelling it to 230km/h and the car itself exceeds the FIA safety requirements for its class. BMW Motorsport has also developed the FORS Formula Rescue Race Seat especially for Formula BMW. As well as this all Formula BMW Asia drivers must use the HANS safety system.
Formula BMW series are held in Asia, Europe, the UK and the United States and in late November this year the annual Formula BMW World Final will be held at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tomo.
Dominic Storey is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com
2006 Formula BMW Asia Points Standings after Round 16.
1. Sam Abay (AUS/Team E-Rain) 244 points; 2. Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus) 228 points; 3. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) 185 points; 4. James Grunwell (THA/Team Meritus) 148 points; 5. Aaron Lim (MAS/Eurasia Motorsport) 122 points; 6. Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport) 110 points; 7. Zahir Ali (INA/Eurasia Motorsport) 85 points; 8. Mohammed Al Baharna (BRN/Team E-Rain) 72 points; 9. Aditya Akkineni (IND/Team E-Rain) 50 points; 10. Hamed Al Fardan (BRN/Team Meritus) 40 points; 11. Hafiz bin Helmi (SIN/Team Meritus) 9 points; 12. Rayomand Banajee (IND/Privateer) 1 point.
Rookie Cup Points Standings after Round 16.
1. Earl Bamber 255 points; 2. Daniel Ricciardo 223 points; 3. James Grunwell 210 points; 4. Dominic Storey 164 points; 5. Aditya Akkineni 146 points.
Winners 2006: Al Fardan (2); Earl Bamber (7); Sam Abay (5); Ricciardo (2)
Pole Positions: Bamber (7); Abay (6); Grunwell (1); Ricciardo (2)
Podiums: Abay (15); Bamber (11); Grunwell (6); Al Fardan (2); Ricciardo (9); Storey (3); Lim (2)
Championship Points: 1. Abay (244); 2. Bamber (228); 3. Ricciardo (185)
Rookie Cup Winners: Bamber (10); Grunwell (2); Storey (1) Ricciardo (3)
Rookie Cup Points: 1. Bamber (255); 2. Ricciardo (223); 3. Grunwell (210)
Rnds 1 & 2: March 18-19 Sepang Malaysia (F1 GP support)
Rnds 3, 4, & 5: May 13-14 Sepang Malaysia
Rnds 6, 7 & 8: June 10-11 Beijing China
Rnds 9, 10 & 11: July 22-23 Sentul Indonesia
Rnds 12, 13 & 14: August 26-27 Bira Thailand
Rnds 15 & 16 Sept 30/Oct 1: Shanghai China (F1 GP Support)
Rnds 17, 18 & 19 October 21-22: Zhuhai International Circuit China