Rob Bunker - Road Atlanta races
Rob Bunker saved his best until last, turning up his performance in the
final double-race weekend for the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. Bunker,
of Bridgewater, N.J., led the opening practice on the 2.54-mile Road Atlanta
road course in Braselton, Ga., and followed with strong sixth-place
qualifying efforts for both the Sept. 29 and 30 races.
Bunker had a good start in the first race, moving his No. 18 AIM Autosport
Formula BMW FB2 to fifth at the green flag. Unfortunately, he was judged to
have jumped the start and was penalized with a stop in the pits, dropping
him to the back of the 18-car field. Turning adversity to opportunity,
Bunker and the AIM team used the rest of the race to work on car setup for
the final race the next day.
"They [race officials] said I jumped the started, but it was controversial,"
Bunker said. "I had the suspension kind of jacked up on the front, like a
drag car. I was getting ready for a good launch, and I got a good launch! We
came out last because of the penalty, so the only thing we could do was make
a test session out of it. And it helped – the car stayed fantastic through
the whole 30 minutes of today's [Sept. 30] race."
Bunker had another quick start in the second race, immediately gaining one
position, then working up to fourth. He charged through the race, but was
unable to catch the lead trio of podium finishers. He was satisfied with
fourth place, his best finish of the season.
"It was an anything-goes kind of race because it was the last one. I had a
great start, jumped to fifth quick, then I got Daniel Herrington for fourth.
I wish I could have caught up with the guys in podium positions, but they
were too far ahead at that point," he said. "I was charging hard – some of
my best laps were at the end of the race."
Bunker finished eighth in the Formula BMW USA Championship standings for the
season and seventh in rookie points. He credited his Speed Secrets coaches,
Ross Bentley and Bob Perona, with his first-season results.