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Formula BMW Pacific: Regalia on pole in Japan.

Okayama, Japan – Facu Regalia (ESP/17/Eurointernational) took pole position for both Rounds 13 and 14 of Formula BMW Pacific being held this weekend in support of the FIA World Touring Car Championship at the 3.703 km Okayama International Circuit.

Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies (ZIM/15/Eurasia Motorsport) was just a tenth of a second behind the pole man, and will join Regalia on the front row of the grid for the start of the first race. Drivers Classification points leader Rio Haryanto (INA/16/Questnet Team Qi-Meritus) clocked the third fastest time of the session, while current Rookie Cup leader Gary Thompson (IRL/17/E-Rain Racing) qualified fourth.

The drivers’ second-fastest times of the 30-minute session determine the starting order for Sunday’s Round 14, and Regalia will once again start from pole position, with Haryanto joining him on the front row. Thompson and Jefferies will start from third and fourth position respectively.

Formula BMW Pacific Junior Steel Guiliana (AUS/17/Atlantic Racing Team) matched his best qualifying performance of the season in seventh for both races, while compatriot and fellow Junior Chris Wootton (20/Eurasia Motorsport) qualified fifth fastest, setting his quickest lap the closing seconds of the session. He will start from the same position in Round 14.

With the top four qualifying within four-tenths of a second of each other, and just three races remaining in the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific season, Rounds 13 and14 are expected to be full of on-track excitement. Haryanto, Thompson and Jefferies are all on the hunt for the 2009 Formula BMW Pacific Drivers Classification title, and each point is therefore crucial.

Friday’s qualifying session began with Regalia, who finished 8th in Formula BMW Europe, immediately setting the pace. However, Jefferies, Thompson and Haryanto stayed close and an exciting session ensued.

Ten minutes into the session, Calvin Wong (MAS/17/Team Holzer PFX) went wide and spun into the barriers, bringing out the red flag for five minutes. The track cleared, the drivers emerged – the majority of them with fresh tyres – and the lap times began to fall away.

Regalia continued to stay in front, with Thompson, Jefferies and Haryanto each trying to better this provisional pole time. With five minutes remaining, Jefferies came the closest and secured second position, just 0.130 seconds behind Regalia.

Formula BMW Pacific is making its debut at the Okayama track this weekend, and is returning to Japan for the first time since 2005. Formula BMW Pacific is joined by members of the BMW Motorsport family, including the drivers and teams in the FIA World Touring Car Championship and the Asian Le Mans series.

Round 13 will take place Saturday, with Round 14 following on Sunday.

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