Alexander Rossi secured the International Formula Master Rookies' Championship in dramatic style at Imola, by winning a thrilling final race of the season. Alexander ended the season championship nine points clear in the rookies' standings and fourth overall.
“My first season racing in Europe was something that I will never forget,” said Rossi. “I came into the championship without any winter testing as well as a team change midseason, which caused some high moments, but just as many low moments throughout the year. However, what I learned and was able to experience is something that I will remember for the rest of my motorsport career. On top of this, finishing off the season with the rookie title and win number three was very rewarding and it just made me realize that one can never stop pushing in and out of the car even if the results are not always there.”
After qualifying sixth, Rossi was assessed a five-place grid penalty for using “too much road” on the exit of the Acque Minerali corner, thereby not “respecting the track boundaries.”
“The stewards imposed a new rule immediately before qualifying, which was meant to prevent drivers from running four wheels over the white line on exit of Acque Minerali,” Rossi explained. I ran over the line and do not dispute that, but what was frustrated given the fact that a large percentage of the field did the same thing. It is the quickest way through that corner and only myself and Josef Kral were penalized.”
Undeterred, Rossi fought his way up from 11th on the grid to finish fifth.
He lined up fourth on the grid for race two, then made a strong start to take second place behind teammate Erik Janis by the exit of Turn 1. For the next 11 laps, Alexander targeted a move for the lead but had to
patiently wait for the right opportunity while withstanding pressure from Kral in third place.
Rossi took the lead on lap 12 with an brave move to the inside entering the Villeneuve chicane. Once free from Janis, Alexander was immediately
able to stretch a gap and received the checkered flag with a 1.7-second advantage ahead of Kral.
“Sunday's race win was probably Alexander's best drive of the season,” says ISR team principal Igor Salaquarda. “He was under pressure for a long time, but he didn't make a single mistake for the whole race. It was a very good way for him to end the season because it proved what a good driver he is.”
While Imola was the final event of the International Formula Master 2009
Championship, Alexander has a commitment to participate in the GP2 Main Series Collective Tests at Jerez, Spain, October 6-8, and Paul Ricard, France, November 10-12. Rossi will use these tests to better prepare for his Formula 1 test with BMW Sauber also in Jerez, December 1-3, which he won for winning the Formula BMW Americas title last year.
“I am looking forward to my schedule for the next couple of months as the opportunities that have presented themselves are incredible,” said the young Californian. “I will be pushing very hard to do a good job in both the GP2 tests as well as the Formula 1 test. My fitness program is being increased all the time and I am very confident that I will be ready to maximize my potential in cars of such caliber.”