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UNOFFICIAL F3000 INFORMATION

 News Archives: July 2000

News on International F3000, Italian F3000, F3000 Autumn Cup (UK) and Formula Nippon.

  

July 31st 2000 -Formula Nippon:

Yet another win for Takagi at Sugo Toranosuke Takagi took his fifth victory of the year at Sugo in round 6 of the Formula Nippon championship yesterday. The PIAA Nakajima polesitter won from Ralph Firman (Morinaga NOVA) who made up a number of places on the first lap after starting eighth. Third was Katsutomo Kaneishi (ARTA), 4th Satoshi Motoyama (IMPUL), 5th Michael Krumm (5Zigen) and 6th Shinsuke Shibahara (Leyjun). Eleven of the nineteen starters finished the race. The result again maintains the PIAA Nakajima team's 100% record of wins this year, while ex-F1 driver Takagi has won every race he has finished. With four rounds remaining and a massive 26 point lead from Krumm in the points chase, Takagi could wrap up the title in the next round at Motegi on 20th August. Championship standings, qualifying and race positions are here.

 

July 29th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter denied win by Enge at wet Hockenheim Tomas Enge emerged victorious from an exciting tactical battle with team-mate Tomas Scheckter at Hockenheim today. The McLaren drivers took the first ever 1-2 finish for the team, and it was Enge's debut win in two and a half years of F3000 competition. Mark Webber (European Arrows) completed the podium in third position, closing the points gap to championship co-leaders Nicolas Minassian and Bruno Junqueira on a day they failed to score. Rain fell during the F1 qualifying before the race, so it was declared a wet race and the decision was made to start behind the safety car. Sebastien Bourdais failed to make the start from fourth on the grid, his car stopping somewhere on track before the dummy grid was formed. At the rolling start Enge kept the lead, the only driver to have a clear view ahead of him as the pack behind had to contend with Hockenheim's infamous poor water dispersion between the trees. Webber soon passed Scheckter to take second, while behind Junqueira's chances of scoring points soon ended. Following David Saelens in a move around Dino Morelli into a chicane, Junqueira missed his braking point and rammed the Belgian, pitching all three of them into the gravel. All rejoined the track, but Junqueira had to pit for a new nose while Saelens opted for an early change to slicks. Junqueira later pitted again with a terminal gearbox problem. Andre Couto and Fabrizio Gollin then collided when the Italian tried to pass, with only Couto able to continue. Justin Wilson then gambled on a change to slicks, only for a new shower of heavy rain to start. As the track got wetter, Andreas Scheld collided with Darren Manning in the stadium, while Fernando Alonso, lying in the points, was taken out of contention when he collided with Wilson. By this point Enge had pulled out a large lead, with Scheckter running strongly in third behind Webber. It was to be rendered meaningless however when the safety car appeared due to the frightening conditions. Morelli then retired in the pits, apparently in some discomfort after a possible fuel leak. Visibility and grip was so poor that Saelens even went off and hit a polystyrene marker under the yellow period. After 11 laps Enge led from Webber, Scheckter, van Hooydonk, Montagny and Bernoldi. With 20 laps to go, the safety car lights went out and the race resumed. Montagny, chasing after fourth, ran into the back of van Hooydonk, effectively ending their races. Montagny retired in the pits after trailing around with no front wing. Further down the field a potentially serious incident occurred when Manning ran into the back of Kevin McGarrity into the Ayrton Senna Kurve, sliding along on top of the fellow Briton. Nicolas Minassian then made his way into a crucial sixth place, only for his wet tyres to lose all grip on the drying track. He would eventually finish 7th, denied the championship lead by a few tenths of a second. Webber was similarly struggling, dropping behind Scheckter into third. Enge then made a remarkable gamble, pitting for slicks as the track continued to dry. Initially it appeared to backfire, as Scheckter and Webber headed the field and opted to stay on wets. Enge began to charge and carve through the field, banging wheels with Ricardo Mauriucio and surviving an off on his way, and it was only at the end of the penultimate lap that he blasted past Scheckter, the rookie unable to do anything on his wet tyres. Scheckter had himself survived a spin at the Ostkurve when leading. Fortunately he had pulled out a large gap to Webber and didn't lose track position. McLaren therefore took a jubilant 1-2 after a difficult year, with Webber in third able to close the gap to the championship leaders and to his target of 30 points by season's end. Andrea Piccini took fourth after a strong drive, his best ever finish in F3000 and the Kid Jensen Racing team's first points of the year. Now only WRT has failed to score points this season. Kristian Kolby also put his run of non-qualifications behind him with fifth for his first F3000 points, while Enrique Bernoldi took sixth to deny Minassian the final point. Minassian and Junqueira still share the championship lead with 38 points, while Webber now has 21 and Enge is promoted to fourth in the standings on 14. The championship fight will now go down to the final round, and an exciting race is sure to follow at the Hungaroring in two weeks' time. Full results and championship standings are here.

 

July 29th 2000 - International F3000:

Tomas Scheckter interview You may like to know there is a question and answer session with new McLaren Junior signing Tomas Scheckter at Autosport online , in which he discusses his F3000 and British F3 fortunes.

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Enge and Scheckter take McLaren 1-2 in qualifying Tomas Enge and Tomas Scheckter produced the McLaren team's best performance of the year to monopolise the front row at a wet Hockenheim today. Torrential rain which flooded the pits and parts of the track meant the two sessions were cancelled. Instead, a single 45 minute session was held in the early evening. The session started off with a very wet track, championship challenger Nicolas Minassian (Super Nova) setting the early pace. Gradually a dry line emerged by the end of the session, only for another downpour to bring proceedings to an early halt. Caught out by the rain, Sebastien Bourdais (Gauloises Formula) crashed heavily into the tyres in turn 1, closely followed by Minassian's title rival Bruno Junqueira (Petrobras Jr). A marshal was very lucky not to be hit by Junqueira's car as he ran to Bourdais' assistance. The session was red-flagged 11 minutes early and could not be restarted, as the circuit's 7:30pm curfew had been reached. Enge therefore took his first pole, with Scheckter a stunning second in only his second appearance in the championship. Mark Webber (European Arrows) qualified third ahead of Bourdais, A1-Ring pole-sitter Jeffrey van Hooydonk (Witmeur KTR) and the ever-impressive Fernando Alonso (Astromega). Championship co-leaders Minassian and Junqueira ended their troubled day in 12th and 13th respectively. Minassian pulled off the circuit with a problem when lying second after just 20 minutes, and could only watch as the times began to tumble on the drying track. Tomorrow Webber will be aiming to close the championship deficit to the pair. Bas Leinders (Kid Jensen Racing) crashed in the stadium section soon after the start of the session and consequently failed to qualify. He was joined by Christijan Albers (European Arrows) who spun in the stadium and Ananda Mikola (WRT) who pulled off the track after 10 minutes. Ricardo Mauricio (Red Bull Junior), Viktor Maslov (Arden) and Darren Manning (Arden) also crashed in the stadium, but all scraped into the race in 24th, 25th and 26th respectively. Andrea Piccini qualified a season-best 7th, and scoring points with Leinders out will be crucial for the team to avoid relegation. Coloni only fielded one car after Soheil Ayari decided to leave the team (see separate story). McLaren's 1-2 was the first of any single team since Petrobras Junior achieved the feat here last year, and the first in the history of the team. Qualifying times are here.

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Ayari quits Coloni for WRT F3000 veteran Soheil Ayari has quit the Coloni team. The Frenchman had agreed to join the WRT, the team which is almost certain to quit F3000 at the end of the season, but for reasons that are not clear he is not competing this weekend at Hockenheim. WRT are this weekend running the same drivers as in round 7, Dino Morelli and Ananda Mikola. They are the only team apart from Kid Jensen Racing to have failed to score points this year. Ayari has had his poorest season in F3000 since he joined the series in 1997, scoring just one point in seven races. He has struggled to compete in both F3000 and Indy Lights, and decided to concentrate on F3000 before returning to Indy Lights after the season's end. (Source: Eurosport)

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter confident over dual programme Tomas Scheckter has denied that competing in F3000 has affected his performances in British F3. Scheckter, who replaced Stephane Sarrazin in the McLaren team at the A1-Ring F3000 round, finished a strong second for Stewart on his F3 return at Croft last weekend. He reduced his rival Antonio Pizzonia's championship lead from 45 to 30 points on a day that the Amazonian failed to finish. In Autosport Scheckter said of his dual programme: "I've been getting a slagging for it, but I've proved there's no problem. It's good for me to do both." Pizzonia, meanwhile, has admitted his F3 challenge has been dented by his other role as Benetton F1 tester: "It's difficult to concentrate on two different things. We have only two 30-minute test sessions before each F3 race and it takes time to get used to the car again."

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

F3000 drivers to tackle Spa 24 Hours Next weekend's Spa 24 Hours endurance event for touring cars features some International F3000 drivers on the entry list. The works backed Kronos Racing Peugeot team will run Witmeur KTR driver Jeffrey van Hooydonk alongside ex-F1 driver Eric van de Poele and 1994 British F3 runner-up Vincent Radermecker. Another Belgian, Kid Jensen Racing's Bas Leinders, will race a Peugeot 306GTi with Le Mans legend Henri Pescarolo.

 

July 28th 2000 - Mexican F3000:

Higgins set for Indy Lights return Ireland's Derek Higgins will return to the Indy Lights series for five of the last six races, starting at Mid-Ohio next month. He will compete for the new Mexpro team formed around the Mexican driver Rudy Junco. Higgins, who won three races for Team GO last year, has been technical adviser for Mexpro this season. Higgins raced successfully in the Mexican F3000 championship which ran between 1996 and 1997, using Lola T96/50s with stock Chrysler V6 engines. (Source: Autosport)

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Manning tests new BAR engine Darren Manning completed a full race distance test of the new Honda V10 engine at Silverstone last week. The Arden F3000 driver was 12th fastest during the test developing the more powerful unit which will be introduced at the German Grand Prix. Red Bull Junior driver Enrique Bernoldi tested the Sauber C19, finishing 8th just behind Mika Salo. Meanwhile CART driver Dario Franchitti tested for Jaguar as did British F3 runner-up Luciano Burti. The Brazilian, who made his F1 debut in the Austrian GP, crashed heavily at Stowe following a rear suspension failure but was uninjured.

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Gavin to make ALMS debut Oliver Gavin, the former British F3 champion who competed last season for European Formula in F3000, will make his American Le Mans Series debut at Mosport on August 6th. The Briton will race a Lola for the Intersport team. He will also make his third appearance for the team in the US Grand Am series at Trois Rivieres this weekend. (Source: Autosport)

 

July 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Sospiri plans racing return 1995 F3000 champion Vincenzo Sospiri is planning to return to the Sports Racing World Cup at Donington on August 27th. The Italian was believed to have quit racing after suffering a shoulder injury, but is now due to return to the SRWC driving a Panoz for the Dave Price Racing-run Den Bla Avis team alongside John Nielsen. (Source: Autosport)

 

July 28th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Round 5 qualifying positions amended The full race report for round 5 at Vallelunga is now available. Qualifying positions have been amended as Thomas Biagi was stripped of his pole position ahead of the race. Biagi's car was found to have an engine mounting from a Lola B99/50 rather than the regulation part from a Lola T96/50. Revised qualifying results, race results and report can be found here.

 

July 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Hockenheim set for championship battle This weekend's round 8 at Hockenheim is crucial to the two drivers who now share the championship lead. Bruno Junqueira (Petrobras Junior) and Nicolas Minassian (Super Nova) are equal in the standings with 38 points each, Minassian having overhauled Junqueira's seemingly unassailable lead by winning the previous two rounds when the Brazilian failed to score. Both drivers have identical score-sheets this year, with three wins, a second and a fifth apiece. Now it seems that wins will be all-important, as in the event of a tie-break the driver with the greater number will take the title. Bruno Junqueira said: "It's between me and Minassian. I now have to win two more races to be sure of the title. I won at Hockenheim last year, so I can do well there again, and I like the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps too." Minassian is also confident of doing well in the remaining three rounds: "A lot of people were saying the championship was finished, but it never is until the end." Junqueira took his first victory at Hockenheim from second on the grid in 1999, but retired from the Hungary and Spa events after qualifying 18th and 3rd respectively. Minassian, then with rookie team Kid Jensen Racing, retired from 19th on the grid at Hockenheim last year, but fared better at the Hungaroring and Spa by taking a fifth and a third respectively. Both drivers are now in their third season of F3000, and it is almost certain one of them will be the 2000 champion. Mark Webber (European Arrows), third in the standings on 17 points still has a mathematical chance of the title, but has now set his sights on another target: "If I can finish with thirty points that would be mega" he said. Junqueira warmed up for the Hockenheim race today by taking part in a charity football match in Germany. His team, "Michael Schumacher and friends" drew 7-7 against their opponents the "Pop star team" made up of German celebrities such as H-Blockx, DJ Sasha and former professional footballers.

 

July 26th 2000 - International F3000:

WRT to leave F3000 The Rafanelli-run World Racing Team looks certain to leave International F3000 at the end of the season. The team's Italian boss Gabriele Rafanelli told Autosport: "We need two programmes, but I'm getting tired of F3000." Rafanelli's main programme in the American Le Mans Series, where the team runs a Lola B2K10 Judd, has seen considerably more success than the F3000 outfit. The WRT team was formed in 1999 after Rafanelli's links with BMW ended, but has seen few results in two seasons of competition. The only points finish came with a strong second place at Magny-Cours for Tomas Enge in 1999. That season the team lost its Fina sponsorship during the year after David Saelens switched to the top Super Nova outfit. The drivers who replaced the Belgian, Andrea Boldrini and Norman Simon, rarely qualified. This season has seen the team struggle once again. First Hidetoshi Mitsusada was sacked after failing to perform, then his replacement Marc Hynes lost the drive after three races with sponsorship difficulties. Third driver Dino Morelli failed to qualify at the A1-Ring due to brake problems. In the second car Ananda Mikola has failed to impress. Rafanelli will continue its involvement in ALMS next season, but is now looking to expand into another series. A return to touring cars, possibly the DTM, has been rumoured, as the team will not be allowed to run programmes in ALMS and its European counterpart the SRWC. Rafanelli and BMW had a long running relationship which saw much success in Super Touring and the original DTM. (Source: Autosport online)

 

July 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Morelli to stay with WRT "in principle" Ulsterman Dino Morelli will stay with WRT for the rest of the season providing budget problems don't intervene. Team boss Gabriele Rafanelli said: "In principle he is with us, but there are one or two other candidates." Morelli replaced Marc Hynes in the team when the reigning British F3 champion could not secure the necessary budget for the remainder of the year. Morelli had previously been expected to continue racing for Durango Benetton Junior in Italian F3000, but after the switch to WRT Michele Spoldi was brought in as his replacement. WRT now looks certain to end its involvement in F3000 at the end of the season after two years with few results (see separate story). (Source: Autosport online)

 

July 24th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Ricardo Sperafico wins at Vallelunga Brazil's Ricardo Sperafico took the second win of his debut F3000 Italia season for ADM Motorsport in round 5 at Vallelunga yesterday. Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) took second, meaning he now re-takes the championship lead from Warren Hughes. Arden driver Hughes failed to finish the race. Third went to "Babalus" (First GP), fourth to series debutant Gabriele Varano (Team Ghinzani), fifth to Gianluca Calcagni (Monaco Motorsport) and sixth to Rodrigo Sperafico (Draco). Giorgio Vinella (Da Vinci) finished two laps down in 17th on his return to the formula. Full race results can be found here.

 

July 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Biagi on pole at Vallelunga; champion Vinella returns to track GP Racing's Thomas Biagi took pole position for round 5 at Vallelunga today. The F3000 veteran and Ricardo Sperafico (ADM) in second were the only drivers to set times under 1 minute and five seconds. Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) and "Babalus" (First GP) will start on row two. Gabriele Varano qualified fifth on his series debut for Team Ghinzani. The Swiss ex-Italian F3 ace was signed as the team's driver at the start of the season, but could not race then due to licence problems. Championship leader Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia) qualified only ninth. Reigning F3000 Italia champion and Minardi test driver Giorgio Vinella made a surprise return to the series with Da Vinci, qualifying 13th. Michele Spoldi, the new signing at Durango Benetton Junior having left Sighinolfi, qualified 11th. Another newcomer, ex-Formula Renault Eurocup driver Angelo Lancelotti qualified 20th for First GP. Twenty-two cars will start tomorrow's race. Qualifying times are here.

 

July 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Spoldi joins Durango Benetton Junior Team Italy's Michele Spoldi has left Sighinolfi to join Durango Benetton Junior as replacement for Giovanni Montanari. Dino Morelli stood in for Montanari at Monza and was expected to stay with the team, but the Ulsterman has since joined WRT for the International championship. Former Italian F3 front-runner Spoldi tested at Lurcy-Levis for the team last week to prepare for this weekend's Vallelunga round. (Source: www.autosportnews.com )

 

July 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Worrying times for Kid Jensen Racing and WRT Kid Jensen Racing and the Rafanelli run World Racing Team are now the only two teams to have failed to score points this season. Astromega broke their 2000 duck when Fernando Alonso took sixth at the A1-Ring, meaning KJR and WRT are the teams most likely to be relegated at the end of the season. The lowest scoring team will lose its 2001 entry in favour of the Italian F3000 championship winning team. Kid Jensen Racing have had a difficult second year, Andrea Piccini not yet building on some strong 1999 performances and Bas Leinders also struggling. It is a far cry from last season when Nicolas Minassian took the new team's first victory at Silverstone. WRT has had a similarly dismal season. First Hidetoshi Mitsusada was found to be well off the pace, then replacement Marc Hynes left after three races with a budget shortfall. Dino Morelli, his replacement, failed to qualify at the A1-Ring with a brake problem. The team's other car is occupied by rookie Ananda Mikola, who has failed to live up to the form his Italian F3000 season promised. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

July 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Martello plan ALMS graduation Martello, the team which took Giorgio Vinella to the 1999 F3000 Italia title, plans to run a sports prototype in the American Le Mans series in the future. Martello were renamed Da Vinci to contest this year's F3000 Italia series. DAMS meanwhile will pull their Cadillac team out of the Sports Racing World Cup to concentrate on ALMS competition. (Source: Autosport)

 

July 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Walfisch "tried to race" at A1-Ring Fabrice Walfisch, dropped from the Astromega team before last weekend's A1-Ring round, turned up at the circuit anyway and tried to sign on as the team's driver. He was turned away by the team who had brought in Marc Goossens to replace the Frenchman after a poor season. The split between driver and team was not amicable. (Source: Autosport)

 

July 18th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Pavicevic to test Durango sportscar Australia's Andrej Pavicevic will test the Durango GMS sportscar tomorrow in Vallelunga, Italy. The car is being developed for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and possibly Le Mans in 2001. Pavicevic said: "They will participate in races this year with the car and have asked me if I could help Durango develop the car so I agreed to help." Pavicevic has been competing for Durango Benetton Junior in Italian F3000 this year, but has had a dire season. It has been confirmed however that he will remain with the team for the remainder of the year. His team-mate Giovanni Montanari was replaced in round 4 at Monza by Dino Morelli. Pavicevic also tested the Durango Benetton F3000 Lola T96/50 at Lurcy-Levis in France last Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of this weekend's Vallelunga round. (Source: Hot Open Wheelers)

 

July 18th 2000 - International F3000:

Prost quit rumour puts junior team in doubt At the Austrian Grand Prix a rumour suggested that Alain Prost is to sell his Formula 1 team to a Canadian company after two and a half dismal seasons. The news follows on from the revelation that sponsor Gauloises, owned by parent company SEITA, may pull out at the end of the season and leave Prost seeking a replacement sponsor to supply the 10 million the tobacco firm provides. The future of the Gauloises Formula F3000 team is not clear at present. Formerly Apomatox until the 1999 season, the team has been the official Prost junior team since 1998.

 

July 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Minassian win at A1-Ring sets up championship battle Nicolas Minassian took a controlled victory in an exciting round 7 at the A1-Ring in Austria today. 10 points for the win puts him equal with Bruno Junqueira in the championship, the Brazilian failing to score for the second consecutive race. The Super Nova driver was gifted the lead after front-row men Jeffrey van Hooydonk and David Saelens were called in for 10-second penalties after blatantly jumping the start. Mark Webber initially followed them off the line when the race officially started, but Minassian was soon in a lead he kept until the chequered flag, despite early pressure from Justin Wilson. Most of the action went on behind Minassian, with two safety car periods not enough to upset the lead. Wilson (Nordic) took second, his best ever result. He passed Sebastien Bourdais (Gauloises Formula) for third when the Frenchman made an error at the Remus curve before making his move on fellow Brit Darren Manning (Arden) for second. After the safety car was sent out when Christijan Albers and Andre Couto both spun into the A1-curve, Wilson attempted to take the lead from Minassian, only to be held off. Minassian then opened up a steady gap and remained unchallenged in the lead. Behind there was much action with close racing all down the field. Championship leader Junqueira (Petrobras Jr) pushed hard from the start after qualifying down in 20th and benefitted from a series of incidents to be chasing Fernando Alonso for the final point in the closing stages. With his teammate Jaime Melo ahead of Astromega driver Alonso, Junqueira made his move into the Remus curve for sixth place. Just ahead Webber was attacking Manning for third, but Manning kept the Aussie behind until the chequered flag. By that stage Alonso had repassed Junqueira for his first ever F3000 point, and the Astromega team's first of the year. Tomas Scheckter's debut with McLaren lasted only a lap until he was out of contention after a spin in the A1-Curve. He got back into the car after climbing out in the pits and drove around many laps down to gain vital experience. Ricardo Mauricio's race was similarly an extended test session after the Brazilian's Red Bull Junior car suffered a fuel pressure problem before the start. He started from the pitlane when the problem was solved and ran many laps down. The second safety car period was caused by a collision between Soheil Ayari and Andrea Piccini which saw both drivers retire at the Jochen Rindt curve. At the restart with six laps to go, Mauricio's lapped car held up the pack behind Minassian, meaning Wilson posed no serious threat for the lead. Manning took third for his second podium of the year, while Webber took his first points since his Silverstone win with fourth. Fifth went to Melo Jr while Alonso took a deserved sixth after holding off Junqueira. Full results are here.

 

July 14th 2000 - International F3000:

van Hooydonk takes pole on drying track Belgian's Jeffrey van Hooydonk was the surprise pole-sitter after two wet sessions at the A1-Ring today. Times improved as the track dried towards the end of the second session, and the Witmeur KTR driver timed his lap perfectly to take advantage of the conditions. It was both van Hooydonk's and the Belgian team's first pole position. He will be joined on the front row tomorrow by David Saelens (Super Nova), with Mark Webber (European Arrows) and Nicolas Minassian (Super Nova) making up the second row. Two rookies, Jaime Melo (Petrobras Jr) and Christijan Albers (European Arrows) will start on the third row. The two sessions saw practically the entire field take off-track excursions on the slippery track, and for much of the afternoon it looked as though Soheil Ayari, who had set a lap time before the rain fell heavier, would take pole. The rain eased however and a dry line emerged, allowing Franck Montagny (DAMS), Darren Manning (Arden) and Saelens to set provisional pole times before van Hooydonk crossed the line. Ayari droppped back to 13th place in the final five minutes. Championship leader Bruno Junqueira (Petrobras Jr) lost out in the lottery, dropping down the field into 20th place, later complaining of being held up by Kevin McGarrity. With his closest rival Minassian starting fourth, there is a good chance of his 10-point lead being reduced tomorrow. Marc Goossens, replacing Fabrice Walfisch at Astromega, will start in 14th place, while Tomas Scheckter, replacing Stephane Sarrazin at McLaren, will start 19th after a few spins. Dino Morelli, making his 2000 debut at WRT in place of Marc Hynes, failed to qualify after a number of off-track moments. He is joined by Fabrizio Gollin (Coloni), Kristian Kolby (DAMS) and Kevin McGarrity (Nordic). Qualifying times are here.

 

July 13th 2000 - International F3000:

Coca-Cola sponsorship for Nordic Nordic Racing has secured a major sponsorship coup with a deal with soft drinks giant Coca-Cola. The company will sponsor Justin Wilson's car for the remainder of the season, the existing livery ideally suited to their red and white logo. The news is yet another boost for F3000 which appears to be growing in profile after years of neglect. (Source: Eurosport)

 

July 13th 2000 - International F3000:

Goossens returns to Astromega Belgian Marc Goossens will replace Fabrice Walfisch in the Astromega team from Saturday's A1-Ring event onwards. Walfisch has failed to perform this season, a change to a 1999 chassis failing to bring an improvement in form after he complained about the handling of his 2000 car. Team boss Sam Boyle said: "The relationship between him and the team has broken down. It is better for him to try with someone else." Dino Morelli tested Walfisch's original chassis at the A1-Ring and could find nothing wrong it, lapping close to Fernando Alonso's pace. F3000 veteran Goossens, who has also raced in Formula Nippon, made his debut in 1994. He competed for Astromega in the 1996 season and took two of his three race victories for the team. Last Monday he tested for the team at Heist-Op-Den-Burg to adapt to the car. He is already familiar with the Lola B99/50 chassis as he competed last season for Lukoil Arden, a season that brought few results. Astromega boss and former racer Mikke van Hool said of the fellow Belgian: "Out of the many options to replace Walfisch, Marc was, without a doubt, the best choice. He has a lot of experience, is fast, knows the circuits where we'll be driving and is Belgian." Of the team's hopes for their first points of the season this weekend van Hool said: "We're going to a circuit where Alonso did some very promising testing and Marc can make use of the new qualifying system in F3000, to adapt and set a fast time in the second session. The arrival of Marc will have a positive effect on the team, who lost the motivation because of untenable tension with Walfisch. The change is also positive for Fernando. Yes, I'm confident." Like WRT, the team are desparate to score some results to ensure they remain in F3000 in 2001. The bottom three teams will not be guaranteed an entry for next season. (Source: Eurosport / www.team-astromega.com )

 

July 13th 2000 - International F3000:

Morelli replaces cash-stricken Hynes F3000 veteran Dino Morelli will make yet another International F3000 comeback at this weekend's A1-Ring race. Current British F3 champion Marc Hynes has been forced to stand down from the WRT team after he could not find the money to continue, and will be replaced by Morelli. The Ulsterman competed on occasion last year for Coloni, and this season he is already replacing Giovanni Montanari at Durango Benetton Junior in Italian F3000. He did not get the chance to race in the previous round at Monza due to a gearbox failure. Morelli was signed by WRT after a successful test. Team boss Gabriele Rafanelli said: "We need someone to be in the points if we are to retain our place in the series. He's a quick guy and he proved himself in the test." The three lowest scoring teams may find themselves without an entry in the 2001 championships, and WRT has never been a threat for points positions so far this year, initially running the unimpressive Hidetoshi Mitsusada and since relying on the inexperienced pairing of Hynes and Ananda Mikola. Morelli was injured in two serious accidents in 1995 and 1997 which held up his F3000 career, and he has never raced a full season since. His greatest achievement at this level was to win the Italian F3000 finale for Coloni last year. (Source: Eurosport / www.autosport.com )

 

July 13th 2000 - International F3000:

European Arrows in crisis over contract dispute The reasons for the dispute that prevented Mark Webber from testing for Arrows last week have emerged. European Racing, which runs the European Arrows F3000 team Webber drives for, allegedly objected to the Arrows team refusing to allow the Australian to drive their F1 car last week. Webber was signed last year on a joint deal to compete in F3000 and act as the Arrows test driver. However, Webber refused to sign a contract that would give Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw an option on his services as test driver for 2001, instead holding out for a possible F1 seat. The refusal by Arrows to allow Webber to test was the result of Webber's refusal to sign the contract. Pedro de la Rosa instead tested at Silverstone last Thursday. European Racing boss Paul Stoddart met Walkinshaw on Wednesday (12th) to try to resolve the situation, but the future of the F3000 team appears to be in doubt. Stoddart commented: "Mark not driving last week was the final straw. I don't think there is a way back, but it all depends on what he [Walkinshaw] has to offer." Before the meeting he told Motoring News: "If things aren't resolved, then we will have to go our separate ways." European Racing and Arrows are no strangers to disputes. European Racing took control of their own F3000 team in 1999 after a split with partners Edenbridge, while the Portman Arrows F3000 team disbanded after just three races last year. (Source: www.eurosport.com / www.autosport.com )

 

July 13th 2000 - F3000 Autumn Cup:

Top teams commit to F3000 Autumn Cup The inaugural four round Autumn Cup F3000 mini-series to be held in Britain looks set to attract strong grids after four teams have been confirmed. McLaren/mySAP.com Team, Kid Jensen Racing, Red Bull Junior and Fortec Motorsport have all pledged their support to the series and other teams are interested. McLaren junior team manager David Brown said of the series: "It is something to do during the winter, and gives us a chance to attract some different drivers with an eye to next year's F3000 International Championship". The series, for current F3000 machinery, kicks off on September 9th at Brands Hatch (GP circuit) before moving to Donington Park (September 24th), Brands Hatch (Indy) (September 30th) and Snetterton (October 8th). Coverage will appear here. (Source: www.autosport.com )

 

July 11th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter to replace sacked Sarrazin Stephane Sarrazin has been dumped by the McLaren junior F3000 team, mySAP.com Team. The Frenchman, who has had a dismal season with the team, will be replaced by British F3 front-runner Tomas Scheckter, son of 1979 F1 World Champion Jody. Scheckter starred in his one-off outing for Da Vinci in Italian F3000 at Monza, finishing second, and will now compete in the International series for the remaining four rounds. The South African impressed in a test session for McLaren late last week at Pembrey, Wales. The Monaco based 19-year old will continue to race in British F3 for Stewart Racing, where he has fallen behind Antonio Pizzonia in the championship fight. David Brown, McLaren F3000 team manager, said: "It is disappointing that our relationship with Stephane has to finish...we think that Tomas will make a good team-mate to Tomas Enge. He seems to have the ability and strength of character to rise to the challenge." Scheckter said of the news: "I am very excited about driving for one of the best teams in the world. It will be a real challenge for me and I am ready to respond to all the new experiences F3000 will bring." Sarrazin has failed to impress this season after topping pre-season testing times for the 1999 title-winning McLaren squad. He only has 3 points after six races and has been generally overshadowed by team-mate Enge. Scheckter will make his debut at his weekend's A1-Ring race in Austria. (Sources: BBC Ceefax / ITV Teletext / www.autosport.com )

 

July 10th 2000 - International F3000:

Montagny in surprise Cadillac return Franck Montagny made an unexpected return to the DAMS Cadillac team he raced for at Le Mans in the Nurburgring European Le Mans Series round yesterday. The DAMS F3000 driver was drafted in by the sportscar team to replace the injured Christophe Tinseau. In atrocious weather, Montagny and Marc Goossens brought the car home in fifth place. The six hour race was won by the Panoz of David Brabham and Jan Magnussen.

 

July 10th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Vinella makes Minardi testing debut Reigning Italian F3000 champion Giorgio Vinella made his first appearance as Minardi test driver last Wednesday. The Italian, who shares the drive with Fernando Alonso, drove at the Vairano circuit in Italy to help fine tune the new aerodynamic package Minardi will introduce in the Austrian Grand Prix. Vinella will next test for the team on July 18th at Mugello where he will be joined by Marc Gene. (Source: www.alphaf1.com )

 

July 9th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Durango to test in France Italian F3000 team Durango Benetton Junior will test at the French circuit Lurcy Levis on the 12th and 13th of July. Andrej Pavicevic will once again be accompanied by new team-mate Dino Morelli. The Ulsterman replaced Giovanni Montanari after the Italian crashed in testing at Monza on June 21st. Montanari was unhurt in the shunt. Durango's Italian Formula Renault team will also test at the former airport, with drivers Michele Rugolo and Stefano Mocellini. (Source: www.durango.it/ )

 

July 9th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Italian F3000: corrected round 4 entry Salvatore Tavano drove the #17 ADM Competition entry at Monza, replacing Paolo Ruberti, not the #28 B&C Competition car he normally drove and as was recorded on this site. B&C Competition only entered one car into the race. Thanks to Nicolas Korzan for supplying this information.

 

July 7th 2000 -International F3000:

Future of European Arrows team in doubt Mark Webber's status as Arrows test driver and the future of European Formula Racing as the official Arrows junior team have been thrown into doubt. Webber's test driver position appears to be under threat after contractual problems prevented him from participating in yesterday's official F1 testing at Silverstone. The European Arrows F3000 driver's test was cancelled after 11th hour negotiations failed, with regular driver Pedro de la Rosa taking the Australian's place. Further talks between EFR boss Paul Stoddart and Orange Arrows were expected today to resolve a number of unidentified issues. The 2-seater Arrows F1 project, run by EFR, is also under threat. (Source: http://www.f3000.com/)

 

July 5th 2000 -Formula Nippon:

Takagi the winner again at Suzuka Toranosuke Takagi took his fourth Formula Nippon victory of the year in round five at Suzuka at the weekend. The result means the PIAA Nakajima team maintains its 100% winning record this season and extends Takagi's championship lead to 40 points compared to Michael Krumm's 22. Second and third in the race went to Hideki Noda (Le Mans) and Krumm (5Zigen). Naoki Hattori (5Zigen) was fourth, Tsugio Matsuda (PIAA Nakajima) fifth and Satoshi Motoyama (IMPUL) sixth. Qualifying and race positions are available here. (Source: www.f-nippon.co.jp/ )

 

July 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Minassian win opens up championship Super Nova driver Nicolas Minassian took his second win of the season in round 6 at Magny-Cours yesterday. Championship leader Bruno Junqueira failed to score with a lacklustre 13th place, meaning his points lead has been reduced to just 10 points. Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais (Gauloises Formula) finished second for his best ever result ahead of Minassian's teammate David Saelens. The remaining points finishes went to Franck Montagny (DAMS), Tomas Enge (McLaren) and Stephane Sarrazin (McLaren). The race was effectively decided at the start, with Minassian outdragging Bourdais into the first corner. At the Adelaide hairpin on lap 2 Ricardo Mauricio (Red Bull Junior) was punted into a spin by Jaime Melo (Petrobras Jr). Andre Couto (Gauloises Formula) collided with Mauricio and broke both cars' front wings. Mauricio was out on the spot. Marc Hynes (WRT) was caught up in the chaos and retired with deranged front suspension. The safety car was briefly deployed to allow marshals to clear the track. Fernando Alonso (Astromega) posted the third and final retirement in the race when he stopped with fuel pressure problems. The Spaniard was driving well to recover after a bad start, fighting with Montagny for fourth place. Although the battle at the front remained close, their was never any real opportunity for Bourdais to make a move on Minassian. Saelens attempted to pass Bourdais into Adelaide, but ended up spinning to avoid hitting the Frenchman. Sarrazin later fought with Montagny for fourth but was unsuccessful. A spin later in the race allowed team-mate Enge through into fifth. The order remained the same until the finish. After the chequered flag, the rain which the gathering clouds had made inevitable fell, catching out Bourdais on his slowing down lap and pitching him into an off-course excursion. Minassian's third F3000 victory made the race an excellent day for the French, Magny-Cours being the home circuit for four drivers in the top 6. Interestingly five of the top 6 drivers are graduates of French F3, a series that races at the circuit. The return of Mario Haberfeld (Fortec) to F3000 yielded little, his race effectively ruined by a poor start from 5th on the grid. Fabrice Walfisch (Astromega) didn't find the upturn in form he thought he would from using a 1999 chassis. The Frenchman ended up competing with Couto for the award of most gravel traps explored. Final race results & standings are here.

 Information sourced from various websites, teletext and Autosport magazine, but text is totally changed (and added to) from original reports. This news is updated as often as possible, but news stories may be missed.

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