It was easy does it for Salman Al Khalifa as the genial Bahraini wrapped up the Formula BMW Asia series, despite finishing fifth in the final race of the season. Al Khalifa only needed three more points to secure the title and he did it in style to win his first major international crown in an incident-packed race that saw his closest rival and compatriot, Hamed Al Fardan, blow a tyre on the last lap while leading and limp home in ninth place. Junior and pole-sitter Armaan Ebrahim (of India, Team E-Rain) was second, with Aaron Lim (Malaysia, Minardi Team Asia) taking the final podium position. Al Khalifa, who is part of the Bahrain royal family, was a relieved man as he drove his Team E-Rain car to fifth spot behind race winner Michael Patrizi of Australia. 'There's always a time for one thing and today was the time to play it smart,' said Al Khalifa of his safe ride. 'I have had my fair share of wins and of poles and I am satisfied with that. The guys ahead of me were close and were battling strong. Anything could have happened because it was a four-way battle so I just bided my time and gave them some space. 'I had more than a few chances to overtake but I let them go because it has been a long year and we have put a lot of effort and I didn't want to chuck it away for one more position or one more podium. It wasn't as important as winning the championship,' he said. The championship leader was delighted with his overall win, saying victory hadn't sunk in yet. 'It has been in my head the whole way through. For most of the year, I have led from start to finish. You always have that doubt that something might happen; that something might change. It was close in South Korea [in August]. We were tied on points but I was still ahead by number of wins,' he said. Al Khalifa has joined the ranks of Dutch-born Tung Ho-pin, Formula BMW Asia winner two years ago, and 2004 winner Hong Kong's Marchy Li Yin-kin as the new champion of the series and he will be hoping for bigger and better things next season. 'I'm looking at British Formula Three or EuroSeries but definitely Formula Three. That's the way to go and develop myself from there and try to learn as much as I can.' Team Meritus driver Al Fardan was cursing his bad luck just 24 hours after winning round 13 and he wasn't a happy man after leading the race until the last lap when he made contact with race winner Patrizi. 'On the last lap, he [Patrizi] made contact with my tyres. Of course, I am not happy. I was leading until the last lap. If I had finished first, second, third or fourth I would have received second place overall. It was bad luck,' said Al Fardan, who finished in third place overall. Patrizi, meanwhile, was celebrating victory as he led Team Meritus to another triumph. 'On lap three I had a broken wing so it was really hard to drive with it. The driver in front [Al Fardan] made a mistake on turn one and went wide. I was on normal line and I was on the brakes the whole time and the driver came down so there was contact. He went wide on the next corner and I made a move to pass him. I drove smart because I had no wing,' he said.