Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Perfect weekend for Haryanto in Sentul

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 08/18/2009 1:08 PM | Sports

Rio Haryanto of Questnet Team Qi-Meritus delighted home supporters to claim his fourth win of the weekend and lead the overall Formula BMW Pacific Drivers Classification at the Sentul International Circuit.

It was the perfect weekend for Rio, who took pole position and then all four Formula BMW Pacific races.

"There's nothing better than the feeling I have right now," Rio said after the final race on Sunday.

"I hope I can perform just as well in Singapore. I'm quite confident for the Singapore races, seeing that my car was fantastic here.

"I'm happy about the championship lead, but there's still a long way to go and I'm not thinking about taking the title yet because anything can happen."

Finishing second in Round 10 was Formula BMW Pacific Junior Axcil Jefferies of Zimbabwe, who fought all race to finish one place better, while Rookie Cup leader and Rain Racing driver Gary Thompson of Ireland rounded out the podium.

"I had a great start for the race and I managed to put the pressure on Rio," Jefferies said.

"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get past him, but I am getting closer and closer to him with every race."

Formula BMW Pacific is part of the Asian Festival Of Speed (AFOS), held at the Sentul International Circuit from Friday to Sunday.

AFOS is an FIA-sanctioned race series comprising the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, GT3 Asia, Asian Touring Car Series, the Asian Touring Car-Max and Formula BMW Pacific.

Haryanto, who took over the Drivers Classification lead in Round 9, now leads Thompson by 12 points, while Jefferies is 22 points behind the leader.

Having started from pole in each of the weekend's three previous races, Haryanto did the same in Round 10 and led from pole to checkered flag.

Jefferies was determined to finish better than his starting position and while the young Zimbabwean came within three-tenths of a second, he could not overtake and finished 1.7 seconds off first place.

With five races left in 2009, including two in support of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix in September, the competition for the championship is tight.

In the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Team StarChase driver Christian Menzel scored his third victory of the season during Round 8 on Saturday, while Rodolfo Avila of Asia Racing Team, who won Round 7, was second, with GruppeM Racing driver Tim Sugden third for the second time in the weekend.

Menzel's victory means the German is now six points off Sugden's championship lead. While Menzel is aiming for his first Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, Sugden is hoping for a second title to accompany the one he won in 2007.

The Porsche Carrera Cup Asia began in 2003 and has become the premier sports car series in the region. The field is further strengthened by the participation of Indonesian driver Ananda Mikola.

Mikola has a long racing career, starting out in Formula Asia in 1994 and progressing all the way up to Formula 3000, A1GP and more recently the Speedcar Series.


EPL set to hit free-to-air TV in Indonesia

Matheos Viktor Messakh and Agnes Winarti , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 08/15/2009 1:25 PM | Headlines

Indonesian soccer fans can now get their fix of English Premier League soccer matches that kick off Saturday, with a local free-to-air TV station securing broadcast rights.

This season marks major progress from last year, when the broadcast rights were held exclusively by a pay-TV company.

The holder of the right to broadcast the EPL in Asia and the Pacific, ESPN Star Sports (ESS), recently confirmed it had sold the package of English Premier League/Barclays Premier League matches to tvOne, while other packages were still being negotiated with a pay-TV firm.

"ESS is pleased to announce that tvOne will again be featuring a package of Barclays Premier League matches on free-to-air television for the BPL 2009/2010 season," ESS senior VP Andrew Marshall told The Jakarta Post by email.

"ESS is still working on arrangements for the pay-TV rights. Our primary concern has always been to ensure that fans' enjoyment of the Barclays Premier League remains uninterrupted and we will continue to focus our efforts in ensuring that."

Pay-TV firm PT Indonusa Telemedia said last week it was in the process of acquiring non-exclusive rights to air EPL matches from ESS.

"This is not a bidding was like last year, when the ESS offered the rights exclusively to a single broadcaster," said PT Indonusa Telemedia chief director Rahadi Arsyad.

"We're not negotiating the price or the exclusiveness of the rights, so much as the payment mechanism, because we have several broadcast platforms, such as cable, satellite and Internet protocol TV. We can't say much about the negotiations, but we'll most likely acquire the rights."

TV7 (now Trans7) first secured EPL broadcast rights in 2002 in a one-season package worth Rp 12 billion (US$1,200,000).

"The contract value has increased 20 percent every year," said soccer observer Anton Sanjoyo. "Two years ago, pay-TV operator Astro reportedly signed a $50 million contract for one season."

Of this season's contract, tvOne's Antariksawan Yusuf said, "Obviously the contract value is higher than last year's, but it's worth it because we get two live matches a week."

F1 Rocks to lure spectators to night race

Matheos Viktor Messakh , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 08/14/2009 12:06 PM | Sports

Night race: Singapore SingTel Grid Girls are introduced to the media in Singapore on Thursday. Singapore will host its second Formula One night race on Sept. 27. AP/Wong Maye-ENight race: Singapore SingTel Grid Girls are introduced to the media in Singapore on Thursday. Singapore will host its second Formula One night race on Sept. 27. AP/Wong Maye-E

After a successful maiden Formula One night race, the organizers of the Singapore Grand Prix are looking to draw more visitors by arranging more lively supporting events.

World-class celebrities will be invited to a concert at a three-day entertaining F1 Rocks before the Sept. 27 race at Marina Bay.

“We continue to bring in new development with more creative events to make the Singapore Grand Prix a unique F1 destination in Asia,” Chooi Yee Choong, regional director of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said Thursday in Jakarta.

The STB is working with All The Worlds (ATW), a joint-venture company of Universal Music Group International, for the event.

The concert will feature headliners Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, ZZ Top, Simple Minds, N*E*R*D and Chinese pop legend Jacky Cheung.

“This year, for this one and only night race in Asia, visitors sizzle with much more exciting events,” Choong said.

“The timing could not be even more perfect, as it will coincide with the upcoming Lebaran holiday.”
He added the organizers would be expecting more Indonesians to watch the race live, after more than 5,000 Indonesians came to last year’s race.

“This year’s event is more interesting with the presence of the world-class celebrities, so of course we will do better than last year, and the number of spectators will surpass last year’s,” he said.

To lure spectators to Marina Bay, STB Indonesia is working with Baker Furniture, a renowned international maker of interior furnishings, to offer Indonesian spectators various tour packages, including a S$17,000 package that includes VIP seats, hotel, access to the drivers’ party and limited shopping arrangements.

ATW executive producer John Simidian said that after signing a deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in March, ATW would also hold an F1 Rocks in Melbourne in 2010.

“It’s the coming together of the world’s most exciting sport and the world’s biggest music stars,” Simidian said.

“What better place to host this launch than Singapore, a city we see as a true entertainment hub.”

ATW will hold the F1 Rocks all around the world for the next five years, starting with Singapore. Last year’s race was broadcast live to 110 million viewers.

The show is also expected to feature guest appearances from top F1 drivers.