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UNOFFICIAL F3000 INFORMATION

 FIA International F3000 Round 6: Magny-Cours (F), 1st July 2000

 

QUALIFYING:

Qualifying at Magny-Cours once again saw a stunning performance from rookie Sebastien Bourdais (Gauloises Formula). The Frenchman took his first pole position in the formula following on from his surprise second in qualifying at Monaco. The 21-year old finished the two sessions over a quarter of a second ahead of his rivals, his time from the first session remaining unbeaten in the second. In the second session he was scrubbing in his third and final set of tyres before waiting in the pits, such was his confidence no-one could touch his pole time. Nicolas Minassian (Super Nova) came closest to beating him in second, one of the few drivers to improve in the second session, while Fernando Alonso (Astromega) had his best qualifying performance of his rookie season in third. Minassian's team-mate David Saelens finished fourth while Mario Haberfeld (Fortec) made an impressive return to the track. After missing the previous two rounds after injury in Barcelona, the Brazilian ended the second session in fifth place, his highest ever F3000 grid slot. Franck Montagny (DAMS) and Mark Webber (European Arrows) slipped down to sixth and seventh respectively.

Surprisingly off the pace was championship leader Bruno Junqueira (Petrobras Junior), the Brazilian failing to find a clear lap and ending the day in ninth. With Minassian on the front row, there was the possibility of Junqueira's championship lead being reduced come the race. While most drivers had merely had a month off punctuated by the official A-1 Ring two-day test, Junqueira had travelled to Canada two weeks earlier in case it was decided Ralf Schumacher would be unable to race for Williams. Although Junqueira tested for the team at Monza, carrying out pit-stop and race-start practice, he was not required to drive after Schumacher was passed fit at the last minute. In addition to this, a number of drivers (Montagny, Kolby, Bourdais and Minassian) competed at the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

For Magny-Cours Fabrice Walfisch (Astromega) had persuaded the team to change his chassis, after he complained about its handling. The team had brought in Dino Morelli to test the car at the A-1 Ring official test before the race, but the Ulsterman could find nothing wrong with it and lapped close to Alonso's pace. Nevertheless, Lola sourced a chassis, Walfisch's 1999 Draco car, for the race. The change didn't help the Frenchman who qualified down in 16th spot. Andre Couto (Gauloises Formula) and Kevin McGarrity (Nordic) were both in trouble in the first session, sliding off at Estoril in separate incidents, while Ricardo Mauricio (Red Bull Junior) managed just one lap before a problem with the car confined him to the pits until the second session. The second session saw a stupid incident between Yves Olivier (Witmeur KTR) and Kristian Kolby (DAMS). Olivier misjudged a passing attempt on the inside of Kolby into the Adelaide hairpin, the cars collided and Olivier was launched over the top of Kolby at relatively slow speed. Both cars were damaged and the struggling drivers' hopes of qualifying were dashed yet again. They were joined in non-qualification by Viktor Maslov (Arden Team Russia) and Andreas Scheld (Nordic).

RACE:

The Magny-Cours round was decided in the first corner, Nicolas Minassian taking his second victory of the season after a processional race. The victory was good for the series, Minassian closing the gap to Junqueira in the championship to just ten points on a rare day the Brazilian failed to score. Rookie Sebastien Bourdais drove a mature race to hold on to second position while David Saelens made it a good day for Super Nova by clinching third.

Minassian beat pole-man Bourdais into the first corner and was then able to establish his own race pace. Bourdais was running on fresh tyres after his rivals used theirs in qualifying, but once he was beaten by Minassian he could do nothing to try and pass him. Bourdais pushed hard but his tyres became worn, and in the second part of the race Minassian was able to pull steadily away. He also had a minor problem with his gearbox, it selecting neutral when he shifted down. Saelens, widely accused as the guilty party in the clash with Bourdais at Monaco, rarely challenged the lead two, his form compromised by locking brakes. On lap 25 however, he appeared to make his move at Adelaide. He later revealed he simply couldn't slow down enough and was about to hit Bourdais for a second consecutive race. Whatever, he spun in avoidance on the inside of Bourdais and stalled his engine. Saelens restarted without losing position.

Franck Montagny, fresh from topping times at the recent A1-Ring test, ran a steady fourth from the start of the race, more concerned with holding off cars behind him than chasing the lead trio. At the start he was chased hard by Mark Webber and Junqueira. The race was briefly interrupted after the safety car was deployed over an incident on lap 2. Ricardo Mauricio spun at the hairpin amidst the typical midfield scramble, only to have his front wing removed by Andre Couto. Marc Hynes, competing on a race by race basis with WRT, then ran into another car and ended up with deranged front suspension. Although both cars were swiftly cleared (one marshal having the ride of his life on Hynes' car!), the safety car was sent out anyway.

At the restart Fernando Alonso made up for his poor initial start by storming past Bruno Junqueira and Mark Webber at the hairpin on separate laps. Junqueira charged from the start, moving up into the points from ninth on the grid, but threw it away on lap 6 with a spin at the Adelaide hairpin, after Webber slowed and took him by surprise. Thereafter he was battling in the midfield where he made further mistakes. Webber was forced into the pits with a rear puncture and once again was out of contention, despite setting the fastest lap and pulling away from leader Minassian when almost a lap down. Alonso, now in fifth, was hassling Montagny for fourth and looked certain to get by eventually. The 18-year old Spaniard's best display so far in his impressive season, and the promise of his first points, were cruelly cut short on lap 16 with an electrical failure. He pulled off opposite the pits before sitting down behind the barriers.

The next driver to challenge Montagny for fourth was Stephane Sarrazin (McLaren). The Frenchman spun just seven laps from the end, gifting fifth to team-mate Tomas Enge. Soheil Ayari (Coloni) then tried to deprive him of sixth, but the F3000 veteran merely damaged his nose and dropped down the field. Mario Haberfeld's return did not yield his first points as the Brazilian made a bad start, baulked by Alonso. He eventually finished 11th, but told Autosport: "It's still a triumph because it proves I'm race fit." Fabrice Walfisch found no improvement in form by switching to another Lola B99/50 chassis. In fact, he had his least convincing race of the year with a series of lurid gravel-trap excursions rivalled only by Andre Couto.

Junqueira still holds a healthy 10 point lead with four rounds to go, but Minassian is confident he can continue his form on the circuits to follow which he has performed well at in the past.

 

QUALIFYING:

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

1

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

1m27.071s

2

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

+ 0.258s

3

Fernando Alonso (E)

Astromega

+ 0.307

4

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

+ 0.339

5

Mario Haberfeld (BR)

Fortec

+ 0.356

6

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

+ 0.385

7

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 0.484

8

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden Team Russia

+ 0.490

9

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 0.525

10

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 0.655

11

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 0.656

12

Soheil Ayari (F)

Coloni

+ 0.663

13

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

+ 0.719

14

Jaime Melo Jr (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 0.759

15

Stephane Sarrazin (F)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 0.759

16

Fabrice Walfisch (F)

Astromega

+ 0.834

17

Christijan Albers (NL)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 0.852

18

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

+ 1.038

19

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

+ 1.047

20

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

+ 1.067

21

Ricardo Mauricio (BR)

Red Bull Junior

+ 1.098

22

Bas Leinders (B)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 1.110

23

Andrea Piccini (I)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 1.176

24

Kevin McGarrity (GB)

Nordic

+ 1.226

25

Marc Hynes (GB)

WRT

+ 1.470

26

Ananda Mikola (RI)

WRT

+ 1.480

Non-qualifiers:

27

Kristian Kolby (DK)

DAMS

+ 1.681

28

Yves Olivier (B)

Witmeur KTR

+ 1.867

29

Viktor Maslov (RUS)

Arden

+ 2.215

30

Andreas Scheld (D)

Fortec

+ 2.220

(All cars Lola B99/50-Zytek)

 

RACE RESULT:

Final classification, Magny-Cours, 49 laps - 129.36 miles

Pos

Driver

Team

Time

1

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

1hr15m44.627s

2

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

+ 3.559s

3

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

+ 7.936

4

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

+ 14.430

5

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 15.733

6

Stephane Sarrazin (F)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

+ 23.231

7

Christijan Albers (NL)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 28.020

8

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden Team Russia

+ 36.769

9

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

+ 38.572

10

Bas Leinders (B)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 59.329

11

Mario Haberfeld (BR)

Fortec

+ 1m04.295

12

Andrea Piccini (I)

Kid Jensen Racing

+ 1:06.845

13

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 1:07.641

14

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

+ 1:08.384

15

Kevin McGarrity (GB)

Nordic

+ 1:08.908

16

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

+ 1:09.695

17

Jaime Melo Jr (BR)

Petrobras Junior

+ 1:14.607

18

Fabrice Walfisch (F)

Astromega

+ 1:14.461

19

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

+ 1:24.728

20

Ananda Mikola (RI)

WRT

+ 1:33.532

21

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

- 1 lap

22

Soheil Ayari (F)

Coloni

- 1 lap

23

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

- 1 lap

R

Fernando Alonso (E)

Astromega

15 laps - electrics

R

Marc Hynes (GB)

WRT

1 lap - collision

R

Ricardo Mauricio (BR)

Red Bull Junior

1 lap - collision

Fastest Lap: Webber (1m30.105s, 105.54mph)

Key: R=Retired, dq=disqualified

(All cars Lola B99/50-Zytek)

 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Standings after Round 6 of 10

Pos

Driver

Team

Points

1

Bruno Junqueira (BR)

Petrobras Junior

38

2

Nicolas Minassian (F)

Super Nova

28

3

Mark Webber (AUS)

European Formula (Arrows junior)

14

4

David Saelens (B)

Super Nova

12

5

Sebastien Bourdais (F)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

9

6

Fabrizio Gollin (I)

Coloni

7

7=

Darren Manning (GB)

Arden

6

 

Jamie Davies (GB)

Fortec

6

 

Justin Wilson (GB)

Nordic

6

10

Franck Montagny (F)

DAMS

5

11=

Jaime Melo Jr. (BR)

Petrobras Junior

4

 

Andre Couto (MAC)

Gauloises Formula (Prost junior)

4

 

Tomas Enge (CZ)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

4

14=

Enrique Bernoldi (BR)

Red Bull Junior

3

 

Jeffrey van Hooydonk (B)

Witmeur KTR

3

 

Kevin McGarrity (GB)

Nordic

3

 

Stephane Sarrazin (F)

mySAP.com Team (McLaren junior)

3

18

Soheil Ayari (F)

Coloni

1

 Scoring: 10-6-4-3-2-1.

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