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UNOFFICIAL F3000 INFORMATION

 FIA International F3000 Round 10: Spa-Francorchamps (B), 26th August 2000

 

QUALIFYING:

The final round of the closest ever F3000 championship could not have been held at a better circuit than the daunting Spa-Francorchamps. Bruno Junqueira (Petrobras Junior) headed into the weekend with a seven points advantage over rival Nicolas Minassian (Super Nova). The Frenchman needed to win the race to take the title, while Junqueira needed only fourth or better to be guaranteed the championship, regardless of Minassian's result. Qualifying was crucial for Minassian, but ultimately it saw his championship hopes disappear. In sunny and dry conditions it was Fernando Alonso (below) who stunned the paddock, the Astromega rookie taking pole having only completed 10 laps before in touring car.

Early on in the first session Minassian set the pace, but he was soon eclipsed by team-mate David Saelens as times steadily improved. Saelens improved his time and kept on top of the time-sheets at his home circuit until the end of the session. Minassian looked strong in second, with Ricardo Mauricio (Red Bull Junior) third, Tomas Enge (McLaren) fourth and Junqueira languishing in fifth. Alonso at this stage was sixth. Mark Webber (European Arrows), aiming to secure third in the championship, was 1.3 secs off the pace in 14th. The session saw spins for Jeffrey van Hooydonk (Witmeur KTR), Darren Manning (Arden Team Russia) and Soheil Ayari (WRT), while Tomas Scheckter suffered a high-speed off through the gravel. Worse fortune befell Viktor Maslov who crashed into the wall at the Bus Stop, damaging his Arden machine's front end. The team managed to send him out again in the second session. The Red Bull Junior pair of Enrique Bernoldi and Mauricio were both stripped of their fastest laps in session 1, for failing to attend the drivers briefing due to being trapped in a traffic jam. Mauricio pushed hard and ensured he set more than one quick lap in case times didn't improve in session 2.

Fernando Alonso, race winner

Session 2 saw the times at the front improve, but was interrupted with red flag periods twice. First, Bas Leinders (Kid Jensen Racing) crashed at Malmedy. Just 10 minutes later Enge spun at Eau Rouge, remarkably not hitting anything and able to keep the engine running where he was beached, on the left of the track at the top of the hill. Just before, Junqueira had demoted Saelens to second, using old tyres despite having saved two sets for the second session. Minassian on the other hand had used two of his three sets in session 1, gambling that it would be the quicker of the two. It was the wrong decision and he slipped to 8th by the session's end. Junqueira then pitted for new tyres but spun into the gravel, from where he was pushed back on by marshals. Alonso then set the quickest time, a full 1/10th faster than Junqueira. He was soon joined on the front row by team-mate Goossens. It was the Belgian's best grid position since replacing Fabrice Walfisch earlier in the season. Junqueira was demoted to third, ahead of the on-form Mauricio (who was baulked by his spinning team-mate Bernoldi at the Bus Stop), Saelens and Justin Wilson (Nordic). Webber improved to seventh while Minassian faced an impossible task from eighth. His cause wasn't helped by a pre-race injury, suffering a cut to his leg with a vaccuum nozzle that required stitches. Near the end of session 2 Scheckter had another spin which left him stranded in the gravel. Jamie Davies qualified 23rd, replacing Andreas Scheld at Fortec for the weekend. He struggled with a leaking brake caliper seal. Scheld was recovering from an illness he apparently caught from his father. The non-qualifiers were Kevin McGarrity (Nordic), Walfisch (Coloni), Ananda Mikola (WRT) and Maslov.

 

RACE: JUNQUEIRA THE CHAMPION, BUT ALONSO TAKES GREAT WIN

The Spa F3000 finale proved a memorable day for two drivers. The tense race saw Bruno Junqueira (below) crowned the 2000 champion despite a mighty effort from Nicolas Minassian. The star of the race though was Fernando Alonso. For a man barely turned 19 his dominant display was stunning, finally living up to the promise he has shown since the start of the season.

Junqueira struggled to ninth

Conditions were once again sunny and dry for the race. Tomas Scheckter would not make the start. He crashed heavily at Pouhon on his second pre-race installation lap, breaking the front wing and the front-right suspension and injuring his right wrist. At the start, Junqueira got away well but could find no way past the Astromega pair into La Source. Alonso ran wide out of the hairpin, allowing Goossens down the inside. The two yellow cars raced side-by-side down the hill, but Goossens backed off into Eau Rouge and Alonso maintained control of the race from that point on. The action went on behind, with three-abreast racing on the Kemmel straight. Saelens shot from 5th into 2nd, Junqueira maintained 3rd position while Goossens, compromised since backing off at Eau Rouge, dropped to 4th. Wilson was squeezed out onto the grass on the right of the track by Goossens in the excitement. At the Bus Stop near the end of the lap, Goossens was demoted to fifth by Wilson. Behind, Ayari ran into the back of Franck Montagny (DAMS) and removed his own front wing. Exiting the Bus Stop, Mario Haberfeld (Fortec) and Manning collided, the Brazilian being pitched front-end first into the barriers lining the F1 pitlane. Manning struggled on to La Source before retiring. The safety car was sent out to remove Haberfeld's red Lola and pulled in after two laps. Before the safety car period, Alonso had already started to pull out a lead over the rest of the field. Minassian had at this stage risen to sixth.

At the restart Alonso immediately began to pull away. Behind on lap 6, team-mate Goossens managed to slipstream past Junqueira into Les Combes. Into La Source at the end of the lap, Minassian left his braking too late and was passed by Mauricio, the Brazilian having already demoted Webber. Junqueira was really beginning to struggle with a car problem. His next challenger was Wilson, who easily passed him into Les Combes. Later it was revealed that Junqueira was suffering with engine problems, the Zytek unit losing top-end power. The Brazilian soon came under pressure from title rival Minassian, the Frenchman storming up the order. Behind, Sebastien Bourdais (Gauloises Formula) and van Hooydonk both retired after a collision at Les Combes that could have been worse. Bourdais, on the inside, was launched into the air and could have flipped over, but instead bounced to a halt on the grass with his front and rear wheels pointing in various directions. Meanwhile Jaime Melo Jr (Petrobras Junior) hit Montagny into La Source. The DAMS pilot retired while Melo pitted. Minassian and Junqueira were then battling over fifth. Behind, Enge scrambled past Mauricio.

Goossens then made a crucial move nearer the front, passing Saelens for second around the outside into Les Combes. Minassian soon made it past the struggling Junqueira into Les Combes, taking fifth. He then set about chasing Wilson, who later began to struggle with a suspected slow puncture. After the half-way point the race settled down for a while. Enge had passed the handicapped Junqueira and Bas Leinders, having passed Mauricio, was next. He almost made the move into Les Combes, but completed it when the pair went through Malmedy. Further forward, Minassian had closed up on the battle for third between Saelens and Wilson. On lap 22 he slipped past Wilson on the straight into Les Combes. Leinders was then all over Enge into Les Combes for the final point. He got around the outside of the Czech, but spun off when he got on the kerbing on the exit of the corner, squeezed out by Enge who then slid into the gravel aswell. Enge continued but Leinders was beached, all hopes of the Kid Jensen Racing team avoiding relegation by finishing in the top 12 teams having gone. On lap 26 Minassian made the move for third on Saelens. Super Nova had team orders for the race, but the battle was not for the lead so Saelens made Minassian fight for the position. The move was completed around the outside in Les Combes. With four laps to go, Minassian was closing in on Goossens, but was unable to challenge the Belgian. With Junqueira struggling out of the points, Minassian was denied the title by Goossens and an out-of-reach Alonso. After the safety car pulled in near the start, Alonso had simply pulled away from the field, opening up a gap of almost 20 seconds and setting the fastest lap. In the closing stages he barely relaxed his pace, finishing a remarkable 14.6 seconds ahead of his team-mate.

Bruno Junqueira - 2000 Champion

Alonso took a comfortable victory then, Astromega celebrating a 1-2 at the end of a difficult season. Alonso's win, following on from his second in Hungary, catapulted him to fourth overall in the final standings. The young Spaniard has a bright future in the sport. Minassian finished third, a resigned shrug on the podium summing up his feelings. Saelens was a disappointed fourth, the struggling Wilson fifth and Enge sixth. Junqueira (left) back in ninth was the new champion by just three points, a deserving victor despite a mixed season. Super Nova overtook sister team Petrobras Junior to clinch the Teams Championship, while Mark Webber secured third in the driver standings despite finishing 16th after losing a front wing in an early incident. The bottom three teams remained the same, Kid Jensen Racing, Witmeur KTR and WRT facing an agonising wait before the entry procedure for 2001 is decided. With the season finishing unusually early, a number of teams are set to contest the new Autumn Cup, a four-race mini-series being held in Britain.

 

QUALIFYING:

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

1

Fernando Alonso (E)

Astromega

2m07.184s

2

Marc Goossens (B)

Astromega

+ 0.087

3

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 0.126

4

Ricardo Mauricio (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 0.207

5

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

+ 0.217

6

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

+ 0.605

7

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 0.701

8

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

+ 0.765

9

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

+ 0.839

10

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 0.847

11

Mario Haberfeld (BR)

Fortec

+ 0.849

12

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

+ 0.983

13

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 1.045

14

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

+ 1.107

15

Soheil Ayari (F)

WRT

+ 1.153

16

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

+ 1.289

17

Tomas Scheckter (ZA)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 1.393

18

Christijan Albers (NL)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 1.441

19

Bas Leinders (B)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 1.450

20

Andrea Piccini (I)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 1.459

21

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden Team Russia

+ 1.506

22

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

+ 1.583

23

Jamie Davies (GB)

Fortec

+ 1.722

24

Jaime Melo Jr (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 1.806

25

Kristian Kolby (DK)

DAMS

+ 1.978

26

Yves Olivier (B)

Witmeur KTR

+ 2.098

Non-qualifiers:

27

Kevin McGarrity (GB)

Nordic

+ 2.191

28

Fabrice Walfisch (F)

Coloni

+ 2.371

29

Ananda Mikola (RI)

WRT

+ 3.178

30

Viktor Maslov (RUS)

Arden Team Russia

+ 6.928

(All cars Lola B99/50-Zytek)

 

RACE RESULT:

Final classification, Spa-Francorchamps (B) - 30 laps, 209.040km/129.90miles

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

1

Fernando Alonso (E)

Astromega

1hr08m04.964s

2

Marc Goossens (B)

Astromega

+ 14.601s

3

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

+ 15.337

4

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

+ 22.172

5

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

+ 27.969 

6

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 38.455 

7

Ricardo Mauricio (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 38.751 

8

Christijan Albers (NL)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 44.548 

9

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 47.943 

10

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 49.798 

11

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

+ 55.539 

12

Jamie Davies (GB)

Fortec

+ 56.724 

13

Andrea Piccini (I)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 57.605 

14

Soheil Ayari (F)

WRT

+ 1:01.854 

15

Kristian Kolby (DK)

DAMS

+ 1:19.953 

16

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 1:23.502 

17

Yves Olivier (B)

Witmeur KTR

- 1 lap 

18

Jaime Melo Jr (BR)

Petrobras Junior

- 1 lap 

R

Bas Leinders (B)

Kid Jensen Racing

23 laps - spin

R

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

20 laps - handling

R

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

9 laps - collision

R

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

9 laps - collision

R

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

8 laps - collision

R

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden Team Russia

1 lap - collision damage

R

Mario Haberfeld (BR)

Fortec

0 laps - collision

NS

Tomas Scheckter (ZA)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

accident on installation lap

Fastest Lap: Alonso, 2m10.096s, 119.82mph

Key: R=Retired, NC=not classified, dq=disqualified, NS=did not start

(All cars Lola B99/50-Zytek)

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Final Standings

Pos

Driver

Team

Points

1

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

48

2

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

45

3

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

21

4

Fernando Alonso (E)

Astromega

17

5

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

16

6=

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

15

 

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

15

8

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden

10

9

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

9

10

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

7

11=

Jamie Davies (GB)

Fortec

6

 

Jaime Melo Jr. (BR)

Petrobras Junior

6

 

Tomas Scheckter (ZA)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

6

 

Marc Goossens (B)

Astromega

6

15=

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

5

 

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

5

17=

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

4

 

Ricardo Mauricio (BR)

Red Bull Junior

4

19=

Kevin McGarrity (GB)

Nordic

3

 

Stephane Sarrazin (F)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

3

 

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

3

Andrea Piccini (I)

Kid Jensen Racing

3

23

Kristian Kolby (DK)

DAMS

2

24

Soheil Ayari (F)

Coloni / WRT

1

Scoring: 10-6-4-3-2-1.

 

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