Meritus GP managing director and co-owner Firhat Mokhzani is confident the team has proved it can move up to a higher level after securing its first ever GP2 Asia victory at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on Saturday.
Racing under the banner MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com, the Malaysian outfit created history to become the first Asian team to win a GP2 race when Luca Filippi crossed the finishing line in 1’06:15.383s to secure second place in the Drivers’ Championships.
Luca ended the season with 29 points after securing one race victory and two runner-up spots. MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com also finished fourth in the Constructor’s Championships with 34 points despite racing against 12 other European-based teams.
This marks the first time a MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com driver has finished inside the top five in GP2 Asia. The previous best was Hiroki Yoshimoto, who finished ninth with 14 points in the 2007-2008 season.
“It was a historic win and a tremendous achievement for the team. For us to get a victory at this level of world racing is indeed a great honour and testament to all the hard work the crew have put in,” said Firhat. “This has given us more encouragement for our long-term plans, one of which is to move to the main GP2 championships in Europe next year.”
MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com also finished in its best ever position with its best ever points tally after finishing with 18 and nine points in the first two seasons to be placed ninth and 10th in the overall standings.
An emotional Peter Thompson, founder and team president of Meritus GP, said: “I’m almost lost for words. I knew we were very close to winning our first race and I’m delighted to have done it at the Bahrain Grand Prix, in front of so many former Formula 1 champions. We must now build on this result.
“Firhat and I started the company in 1996 and since then, Meritus GP has established itself as Asia’s most successful motor racing team with 34 interntional titles. We will now move on to the Formula BMW Pacific, where we have been undefeated for the last seven seasons.”
This season’s Formula BMW Pacific will flag off during the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend from April 3-5.
Final GP2 Asia Constructors’ Championships 1. iSport 73, 2. Arden 38, 3. DPR 35, 4. MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com 34, 5. Art GP 20, 6. Super Nova 14, 7. Dams 12, 8. Coloni 12, 9. Ocean Racing Technology 9, 10. Barwa Addax 5, 11. Trident 4,
Final GP2 Asia Drivers’ Championship (Top 10) 1. Davide Valsecchi (iSport) 56, 2. Luca Filippi (MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com) 29, 3. Giacomo Ricci (DPR) 28, 4. Charles Pic (Arden) 19, 5. Javier Villa (Arden) 19, 6. Oliver Turvey (iSport) 17, 8. Alvaro Parente (Coloni) 12, 9. Alexander Rossi (MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com) 12, 10. Christian Vietoris (Dams) 9
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