Bahrain: Bernstorff triumphs Formula Middle East opening race
BIC, Sakhir – British racer Emil Bernstorff stormed to victory on the 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit in the first of two races for Formula Middle East supporting the 2013 Formula 1® Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
As the series prepares for its first season on the Bahraini racing calendar starting this November, the 12-strong field put on a tremendous demonstration in which pole position man Bernstorff held his advantage over Alban Varutti and Michela Cerruti, who completed the podium.
The Briton underlined the significance of participating at an event as prestigious as motorsport’s ultimate division, and was keen to put on a good show at Formula Middle East’s second race on Sunday.
“It’s really cool to be in the pit garage while F1® qualifying is going on and just watching them driving past,” said Bernstorff. “We’re part of that, it’s a bit crazy! There’s a lot of people here and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more tomorrow so it will be very nice to be a part of it all.”
He added: “I think I did pretty well. It was a really good start which is why I never had any real worries throughout the race.”
Meanwhile, Frenchman Varutti, who has also voiced a desire to make a formidable start, won’t make things easy for Bernstorff. Despite his second place, he’s looking to close the gap to Bernstorff in Sunday’s second race, and wants to see his Batelco-backed teammates on the podium as well.
“For me, this is the first time in single-seaters, so it’s not easy,” he said.
“I’m learning the car and I’m learning the track but its fine. It was a nice game and I think I did my job. I’m racing for Batelco and the job was to be on the podium and represent the office so at least we have me on the podium, and tomorrow I’ll fight with my teammates to get the 1-2-3, but it will be difficult for sure, because Bernstorff was quite fast.”
Third place winner Cerruti described the fixture as a “nice race,” but was also looking to make a mark at Sunday’s race.
“I had a lot of fun. I had a very bad start which was completely my fault. But it’s not the first time and I have to learn more. It was very hard to get back to my position. Being on the podium is so nice with such a nice atmosphere. And it could be something that could maybe not happen again, so it really was something very nice,” she said.
“It’s really exciting because it’s my first time in a support race for Formula One and I think it’s very important to be in the show, and a part of this weekend, because there are a lot of eyes on it and lots of people watching like sponsors and lots of important people. And you watch the TV and you see Formula One cars driving here, and to think that after a couple of hours you will drive there as well is really exciting and makes you feel important.”
“Since I fought a lot today I would like to maybe have a better start and to fight for maybe the second or the first position because even today I was trying in the last lap to pass Varutti but it was the last lap but I didn’t feel like risking maybe a crash. So I just let it go and was happy with the race. Tomorrow I hope I can take a higher step.”