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Meritus revs up for 'home race'.

Around 5,000 fanatical fans are expected to cheer on the Malaysian racing team with Arab links during this weekend's 2010 GP2 Asia Series at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Team Malaysia is sponsored by QuestNet, a Hong-Kong-based direct selling brand with global operations covering the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

It is also the only Arab-owned racing squad in GP2 Asia Series due to its partner Raad S Abduljawad.

Saudi-born Abduljawad, the team's chairman, lives in Budaiya with his Bahraini-wife ... only 20 minutes away from the circuit.

He said: "Racing in Bahrain is always a great experience and it's a circuit that all drivers enjoy. It's good to have the team back home for the third event of the season.

"It will be important to get as many points as possible in order to keep a good place in the championship."

The Malaysia team finished fourth in the standings after round two of the GP2 Asia series at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi with Italian Luca Filippi and American rookie Alexander Rossi showing huge potential. Now both drivers are gearing up for what they describe as their 'home race'. Filippi is already a GP2 winner at the BIC and is currently fifth in the drivers' championship.

He said: "It will be my third race with Malaysia after the two rounds at Abu Dhabi to start the season, where I finished second on the podium.

"I love being back in Bahrain and clearly remember my race win in 2007 and I will have the same engine for this race as I did in 2007.

"This is for sure a sign of good faith and I do hope to take some more points at the team's home race. The whole team and I have been working well and are very focused. We are hoping for a great result for our weekend in Bahrain."

Rossi, 18, is third in the drivers' championship, and will be driving in Bahrain for the first time.

A road show has been staged by QuestNet throughout the Middle East and will be moving on to Malaysia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in the weeks ahead to motivate and excite motor racing enthusiasts.

As part of the initiative, the team's management and drivers made a pit stop at the French School in Busaiteen on Monday to hand out team shirts and sign autographs for 460 children between the ages of three and 18.

Peter Thompson, president and team founder, said: "It was a wonderful opportunity to work with the French School and the many smiling children.

"We wanted to show them the career opportunities they have at hand and help make their dreams come true.

"The drivers signed autographs, handed out shirts and showed them the workings of the car. We also had team building exercises and competitions such as the craziest QuestNet V-face contest. The winner Kamila Kassim, 10, received tickets to the race.

"We are very happy to be back in Bahrain and are looking forward to race weekend. We will be fighting hard to ensure mechanical reliability. They both have the potential to win and the team's engineering fundamentals have yet again been reinforced to ensure that the cars are in a strong position to score points in our home race.

"My brother Sean is the force behind the team's engineering development and I have confidence in his preparations for this event. The boys have done a great job and kept their third and fifth place in the classification of the series at the close of the second Abu Dhabi round of the GP2 Asia Series.

"The team has found the pace and I am confident that the whole team will come together for a great performance in Bahrain."

Sean Thompson, team principal, added: "The team can count on the amazing support of our QuestNet fans in Bahrain and this will help them tremendously."

Look out for a wave of red shirts this weekend as QuestNet fans will be kitted out to show their love and support for the team.

Also as part of the road show in Bahrain, the team's red racing car will also be displayed at Seef Mall before the final round of 2010 GP2 Asia race at the Bahrain GP.

Fans who want to photograph and see the GP2 racing car in person and participate in the exciting activities lined up can visit the mall from March 2 to 6.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Date:Feb 28, 2010
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