Day Three, Part One
Chaves Achieves FBMW History
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, August 30 — Gabby Chaves (5th in the American Driver Ranking) did something no one else has ever done in Formula BMW Americas history. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who has pulled off this feat in any racing series anywhere in the world. Gabby Chaves finished on the podium in every one of the 14 races in the 2009 season. A fitting way to bring the series, which has been dropped by BMW, to closure.
Gabby Chaves never got tired of the podium celebrations, which he took part in for 14 of the 14 FBMW races.
The dual Columbian, American citizen completed the accomplishment with another runner up finish, his second at Mosport, after starting once again in the second spot.
"I think that's what gave me the championship," Chaves said stating the obvious. "I did really well in the opening races, and then stayed consistent with seconds and thirds, five races in a row. Then at Lime Rock, I think that's what got the championship with a win and a second that gave me a gap followed by two wins at Road American which clinched it."
Chaves got an excellent standing start, hounding Giancarlo Vilarinho into the first turn. However, the polesitter maintained his position, holding off Chaves. Meanwhile Gianmarco Raimondo, the winner of Saturday's race, made an attempt on Chaves going into the first turn on the next go around.
After the second lap, the top three spread out a bit, but on the following lap, Vilarinho and Chaves were running together and checking out on the field. By the fifth lap, Chaves was all over Vilarinho.
"I tried really hard every lap," Chaves said. "Unfortunately, I never had a good enough run on the straightaway. Whenever I pulled out to pass, I hit the rev limiter."
Meanwhile, in the middle of the pack, Michael Lewis, fighting for the Rookie Cup, had his own hands full. He was running fourth where he started, but his closest pursuer, James Kovacic, started to reel him in after a poor start. Kovacic wound up turning the fastest lap in his pursuit of Lewis.
Gabby Chaves fought hard, but had to settle for second in the second FBMW race.
Up front, Chaves kept trying, and then on the last lap made a last ditch effort in the last turn. He got alongside of Vilarinho at the apex, but Vilarinho slammed the door shut. Chaves decided to play it safe, and do whatever it took to avoid contact.
"I said, let's give it a try in the last corner," Chaves said. "Vilarinho defended it well. I went into the pits, but got it back on track."
"It was a big fight with Gabby," Vilarinho said.
It was an even bigger fight on the last lap between Lewis and Kovacic for fourth place. Kovacic got a perfect run on Lewis coming out of the last turn, and pulled out to pass. They got to the line in almost a dead heat, with Lewis hanging on by five hundredths of a second. Even though by then it didn't matter if Kovacic made the pass for the rookie championship, it was still a thrilling finish to cap the Rookie Cup for the American, Michael Lewis.
Gabby Chaves playing it cautious in the last race enabled him to enjoy the podium celebrations yet again. Something he has enjoyed in every Formula BMW Americas race this season.
Copyright © 2009 by Russell Jaslow and American Driver Ranking. All Rights Reserved.