Though it was his father and older brother who first introduced Rio Haryanto (16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) to motorsport at the age of five, the young Indonesian has since fully come in to his own, securing the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Drivers’ Classification title and becoming the first Indonesian driver to do so. Haryanto also celebrates as his team, Questnet Team Qi-Mertius, wins the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Team Title.
Consistency, in addition to no small measure of natural talent, played a large part in Haryanto’s success this season as he earned first-place points in ten races, a winning streak that began in Round 6 in Kuala Lumpur and then followed him to Sentul, Indonesia, Singapore, as the series raced in support of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, on the program at the FIA World Touring Car Championship in Okayama, Japan and then at the season finale at the Macau Grand Prix. In total, Haryanto reached the podium 12 times in 15 races in his debut Formula BMW Pacific season, including six outright wins.
For Haryanto, his ‘home’ race in Indonesia proved pivotal: “Sentul was the turning point for me because it was my home race and I knew the track better than the others,” he said. “From the practice I was the fastest and then in the four races, perfect. It was really perfect for me and when we got to Singapore I had some confidence and was able to keep going.”
The Indonesian made his Formula BMW Pacific debut in 2008, when he raced in the final three rounds of the series as a guest driver. The excitement of racing on Singapore’s Marina Bay street circuit, in Shanghai and at Formula BMW Pacific’s inaugural race at the Macau Grand Prix, brought him back for a full season in 2009.
“I expected to win the championship because I had already raced three times as part of the series, so I think I came in with more experience than the others,” Haryanto said. “But at the beginning of the year, I struggled and didn’t win that many races. But then when it came to Sentul, I won all four races and we just kept working hard.”
He also believes that winning the Formula BMW Pacific title will serve as the platform to further his international motorsport career: “I’m very happy to have the title and it’s fantastic to be the first Indonesian to win Formula BMW Pacific.”
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