Vilarinho rolls on in Formula BMW with Utah sweep
Giancarlo Vilarinho (Eurointernational) stormed to his fourth consecutive Formula BMW
Americas victory on a beautiful May day at Miller Motorsports Park, going wire-to-wire to
lead an unprecedented Eurointernational sweep of the podium.
The 17-year-old Vilarinho fought off the advances of stablemate Michael Lewis to score his
fourth victory of the year while Lewis earned his best finish of the 2009 season by coming
home in the second spot. Vilarinho's victory, when paired with the third-place run by
teammate Gabby Chaves, moved the two Eurointernational drivers into a tie atop the point
standings after six events.
"Today's race was more difficult than yesterday because Michael was very close to me
throughout the entire race," Vilarinho said. "All of these guys are very fast and I knew I had
to focus ahead of me and not worry about who was coming behind me. We were able to
finally catch Gabby in the points, so it was a good day."
Vilarinho, who again set the fastest lap of the race at 1:29.565 minutes, beat Lewis to the
line by .520 seconds to score the victory. Lewis was never more than a second behind his
Brazilian teammate at any point during the 15-lap event, and vaulted from third to first in
the rookie point standings with his runner-up finish.
"I got a good start and tried to stay right on Giancarlo's gearbox but he drove an awesome
race and never gave me the opportunity I needed," said Lewis. "The guys did a great job in
preparing the car and it showed with how well the team finished."
As was the case in Friday's fifth round, Chaves and Formula BMW Junior Gianmarco
Raimondo (Autotecnica) battled tooth-and-nail throughout the entire race distance.
Raimondo held the third position through the opening laps, but Chaves slipped inside of the
Canadian in Turn One of Lap Four and wrested the third spot away. He kept the
Autotecnica driver behind him the rest of the way enroute to his sixth consecutive podium
finish and was also able to maintain a share of the series points lead.
"I really didn't have the speed to get by Gianmarco, but he made a little mistake and I was
able to get around him," claimed Chaves. "But I just didn't have anything for the top two
guys. I just hope to regroup and come back after it tomorrow."
Raimondo ended his day in the fourth position while Team Apex's James Kovacic rounded
out the top five for the second straight day. The Australian emerged from a fierce battle
with Autotecnica's Alex Ellis for the fifth spot, leaving Ellis to claim sixth ahead of Joao
Horto while Jensen Motorsports' Barrett Mertins had a season-high eighth-place finish.
Lewis ended up as the top rookie for the second consecutive race and leapfrogged Ellis and
Kovacic to take a three-point lead in the Rookie standings. Raimondo's finish allowed him to maintain his perch on the third rung of the standings ladder after six races, making him the leader among the Formula BMW Junior Scholarship winners competing in 2009.
The Formula BMW Americas series will contest its third race of the weekend on Sunday
morning with the seventh round of the championship getting underway at 9:50 a.m.
Mountain Time. The starting grid was set with the results of Friday's race, meaning that
Vilarinho and Chaves will make up the front row with Vilarinho starting on pole.
This weekend's races will not be the only time that the series spends at Miller Motorsports
Park this year. On July 8-10 and August 17-19, Formula BMW Americas will host
licensing courses at MMP, which qualifies entrants to apply for an official FIA
International C License.