Vietoris won this event in 2006, and in doing so was given the opportunity for his first Formula 1 drive. For Farfus, the outing in the BMW Sauber F1 Team car was the reward for a successful season in the FIA World Touring Car Championship. As recently as last Sunday, Farfus was still battling for the World Championship title with BMW Team Germany at the season finale in Macau (MAC).
Vietoris was first to complete his initial "taster laps" round the 4.005-kilometre track. The 18-year-old, who took overall victory in the 2006 Formula BMW Germany season, quickly came to terms with the unfamiliar car. He did 62 laps and constantly improved his times.
"That was an amazing experience", said Vietoris, who raced in German Formula 3 in 2007, and is currently fighting for points with the German team in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport. "I have spent many years working towards the chance to drive a Formula 1 car. The g forces, braking effect and speed are simply phenomenal. This car is great fun to drive. It has certainly given me a more accurate impression of the unbelievable power and aerodynamics that are at work in Formula 1. Today's drive has made me even more determined to make it into the elite motor sport class."
Farfus has already made it to the top in the world of touring cars. To date, the 24-year-old has clocked up seven race victories in the World Championship, and has been very impressive at the wheel of the BMW 320si WTCC in 2007. He could do nothing about the collision in the first race in Macau, which brought a premature end to his title hopes. This disappointment soon gave way to joy at the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car. "A big thank you to BMW and Mario Theissen for giving me the opportunity to have this extraordinary experience," said Farfus after 33 laps. "At the beginning, I was obviously trying to become acquainted with the car. As I had very little time to prepare myself, I feel my neck muscles a bit more than usual. In fact, I haven't raced a single-seater car for four years - not to mention a Formula 1 car. Lap by lap the feeling for this returned. It's just amazing how quickly things happen in a Formula 1 cockpit. This requires the highest level of concentration all the time."
From Friday, 35 drivers from 19 countries will be battling it out to follow Vietoris and Farfus. The winner of this year's Formula BMW World Final will also be given the chance to drive with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The final race begins at 14:50hrs local time (13:50hrs GMT) on Sunday.
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