in Formula BMW World Final heats.
Esteban Gutiérrez (MX) and Daniel Juncadella (ES) are the favourites for securing pole position for the Formula BMW World Final 2008, after claiming a victory and a third place each in the two heats held at Mexico City (MX) .
With three points each, the two young drivers jointly lead the points’ classification which determines the starting grid for Sunday’s final race. Gutiérrez won the first intermediate heat for Josef Kaufmann Racing. His team-mate, Michael Christensen (DK), finished second, and is the best-placed Rookie of the day. Eurointernational’s Juncadella crossed the line in third after 16 laps. In the second heat, Gutiérrez and Juncadella finished in reverse order with Alexander Rossi (US), who is also racing for Eurointernational, coming second in the middle of the two drivers from Formula BMW Europe.
“I’m really happy about how this day went for me,” said Gutiérrez. “We were competitive in both heats, despite taking a rather conservative approach, as I didn’t want to risk a promising grid position for the final. One win is in the bag – and I want to add some more.”
Gutiérrez was involved in a thrilling battle with pole- sitter Jim Pla (FR/DAMS Racing) and Christensen. At the start he took the lead from Pla, but the Frenchman launched a successful counterattack on lap eight. Christensen worked his way up from fifth on the grid and passed his team-mate on lap 12 before also getting by Pla a lap later. Only on the final lap of the race Gutiérrez managed to take the win away from Christensen by overtaking the Dane. Pla was also on pole position for the second heat. However, a jump start and the resulting drive-through penalty saw his hopes for victory end early in the race. So the way was open for Juncadella. “My great start laid the foundation for my win in heat 2,” said the driver who finished fourth in Formula BMW Europe.
“I passed Jim Pla and kept the lead right until the finish. I was also among the front-runners in the second race. Of course I have high hopes for tomorrow now. It’s all about not risking too much in the final heat – and then give your all in the final.”
Rossi’s tally is six points, just behind Gutiérrez and Juncadella and still in with a chance for pole position. The Formula BMW Americas’ overall winner said: “Heat 1 was not my best race. I had a poor start, but was able to recover a lot of positions. In the second race, I got a great start and the car was awesome. Within six or seven laps I was up to second so I could not be happier.”
The young guns will line up for the third heat on Sunday morning, before competing in the Formula BMW World Final from 14:50hrs local time (20:50hrs GMT).
At the World Final it was announced Formula BMW will return to Mexico in 2009. Formula BMW Americas will hold rounds supporting the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Puebla (MX) on 21st/22nd March