in the starting blocks.
Five talented young racing drivers have qualified for Formula BMW Europe’s exclusive sponsorship programme for the year 2009. During the scholarship qualifying in Valencia, Spain, two Dutch drivers – Jack Te Braak and Robin Frijns – were selected, along with Riccardo Galli from Switzerland and George Katsinis of Greece.
The fifth driver to be offered one of BMW’s sponsorship packages is Michael Christensen of Denmark for winning the 2008 “Rookie of the year” title. The “Juniors”, as they are known, will receive special support from BMW during their 2009 motorsport year. All five drivers can look forward to financial backing of 75,000 euros for the season and a place in the Education and Coaching Programme. 16-year-old Te Braak brings along both national and international karting experience.
He won the 2008 German Kart Championship (DKM), and counts among his well-known DKM forerunners Michael Christensen (winner in 2006 and 2007) and 2005 Formula BMW Champion Nico Hülkenberg (DKM winner in 2003).
The new BMW Junior Robin Frijns was born in Maastricht, Holland, but lives in Belgium. He has been an active kart racer in Belgium and France, winning the runner-up title in the 2008 French championship. In the 2008 final of the CIK FIA European Championship, the 17-year-old finished third in the KF2 category.
Frijns was invited to the licence course in Valencia in early August courtesy of the Italian karting magazine Vroom, and his very good performances there won him a place in the scholarship qualifying. Riccardo Galli shares his name with a 19th-century Italian artist, but has distinctly more talent on the race track than on canvas. He was aged five when he first drove a kart, going on to compete in Switzerland and Italy. The 16-year-old from the canton of Graubünden has both Swiss and Italian nationality and speaks German, Italian and English.
Greek driver Katsinis first sat behind the cockpit of a Formula BMW car in 2006 during the Formula BMW Experience Day held near Berlin. It was on this “taster day” that he discovered his passion for the 140 hp formula vehicle, and is now delighted to have received one of the scholarships.
Danish driver Christensen has qualified for sponsorship next year as best rookie of the 2008 Formula BMW Europe season. He managed to take home points from 12 out of 16 races.