60th Grand Prix de Pau, June 10th/11th/12th, 2000. Report by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite Second Session - Group A: Weather: Cold, damp. There was a mood of fatalism at Manor Motorsport, particularly on the part of John Booth, team...
60th Grand Prix de Pau, June 10th/11th/12th, 2000.
Report by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite
Second Session - Group A:
Weather: Cold, damp.
There was a mood of fatalism at Manor Motorsport, particularly on the part of John Booth, team boss. When asked how he though the second session would go, he thought for a moment, then said of Antonio Pizzonia, "He'll be on pole or in the wall... or maybe both." It's so nice to find a team owner who has faith in his driver... As it turned out, he was wrong. Although Pizzonia went out and was very quickly on the pace, he soon found himself locked in a titanic battle for pole with Mathieu Zangarelli, who wasn't going to be messed around in his own (French) championship by some Brazilian from the UK. Intermittently joining in the scuffle for the lead was Milos Pavlovic, the RC Benetton driver seeming very much at home around the streets of Pau. He was also, seemingly, the only one of the British contingent not to have thrown himself at the wall at any point. He would make up for that in the warm up, but then, nobody's perfect.
Takuma Sato also started out well but then he too started to suffer from lack of grip and the challenge faded. First Ryo Fukuda, then Zangarelli pushed him down the order. Meanwhile, Pizzonia, Zangarelli and Pavlovic kept swapping position, as the times tumbled dramatically. It was clear that this was going to be a much faster session, for almost everyone except Julien Beltoise, who at this stage of the afternoon appeared to be going backwards. And then, with ten minutes or so of the session left, the red flags were being waved. David Moretti's Dallara was across the track at Goulet, and no one was going anywhere for a while.
Worryingly, when Moretti's car was brought in, it simply spilt into two pieces. That was the end of his weekend. There was no way that could be repaired, and it seems unlikely that he would have wanted to trust his life in it anyway. After Julien Piguet and James Andanson had also been trailered back the session was able to get underway again. Keenest to get out again was Pizzonia who began to make inroads on his earlier time, snatching provisional pole with four minutes to go. It looked as if it was all over, but Zangarelli had other ideas, promptly going faster than the Brazilian on his very last lap as the chequered flag was waved. Sato's depression with his 12th place was reinforced by the fact that Fukuda had qualified ahead of him, by 9 places. He was not a happy camper at this point.
4th was Pavlovic, who got the better of Beltoise, and in 6th was Andre Lotterer, another who couldn't seem to get any grip and couldn't figure out why either. This wouldn't look good when he got back to Germany and he was not pleased with his performance, wondering if there might have been something he could have done that he had failed to do. Philip Giebler was the fastest of the Promotion (or B) Class drivers, ahead of Yannick Schroeder and Davide Uboldi. James Andanson, as a result of the off at Goulet, would end up on the 10th row, ahead of Tristan Gommendy. Julien Piguet was ahead of Warren Carway; the two of them being a good two seconds slower than anyone else, and the unfortunate Moretti was last and out of the race for keeps.
Afterwards, Pizzonia was quite philosophical about not being on pole, although he didn't think it would help his chances in the race as: "Once they get in front of you they'll just stay there for the rest of the race. You can't overtake here." Even so he wasn't too unhappy: "It makes no difference, this race, to the championship so not having pole is not so important. I had only 20 minutes to learn the track and they've been here the last two, three years. It's not an easy track to learn but I like it."
Zangarelli, on the other hand, was delighted with his performance: "The first timed session was very good for me. I know that it is possible to make the pole position and at the last time I have one lap to make a pole position. I have a lot of problems during the séance, but then I have the time to make my lap in the good conditions. Before, with the flag and the stop of the séance, it was very difficult. It is very important for us that the French championship is with the race. I know very good John" (Cochet) "and I don't think it is a problem tomorrow at the start." He was even happier at being ahead of the man all of F3 is talking about, Pizzonia, though he didn't think it was as impressive as it could have been, given their relative levels of experience on this track. "It was not easy and he don't know the circuit here very good. I raced here 4 years, but it is my first season in F3 and it is very good to make pole position for me and my team." <pre> Second Session Times - Group A: 1st - No 4 - Mathieu Zangarelli, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:11.276 2nd - No 21 - Antonio Pizzonia, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:11.598 3rd - No 25 - Ryo Fukuda, LD, F399 Renault, 1:11.672 4th - No 11 - Milos Pavlovic, RC, F300 Opel, 1:11.844 5th - No 9 - Julien Beltoise, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:11.991 6th - No 32 - Andre Lotterer, BSR, F399 Opel, 1:12.095 7th - No 15 - Philip Giebler, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:12.355 8th - No 6 - Yannick Schroeder, Promatecme, F399 Renault, 1:12.374 9th - No 26 - Davide Uboldi, Uboldi, F399 Fiat, 1:12.789 10th - No 1 - James Andanson, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.809 11th - No 8 - Tristan Gommendy, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:12.843 12th - No 29 - Takuma Sato, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:12.883 13th - No 16 - Julien Piguet, EMC2, F396 Opel, 1:14.673 14th - No 20 - Warren Carway, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:14.814 15th - No 18 - David Moretti, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:16.063
</pre> Second Session - Group B:
It rained at lunchtime, which could have made life very difficult. Certainly afterward a number of drivers, among them Adam Jones, were complaining about damp patches under the trees. None of this in any way deterred Nicolas Kiesa. The Dane was delighted with himself having managed to modify his Michelins in a manner that amused him more than it should have done: "You should see my tyres! I've managed to rub the word Michelin off them. It's just a white mark now. And I've bent the wheel rim... Come and have a look!" Thanks Nicolas, but no thanks... He shouldn't be encouraged, he really shouldn't.
Anyway, in the second session the threesome at first fighting it out for pole were Tiago Monteiro, Paulo Montin and Patrick Friesacher, with Lucas Lasserre making a bid for supremacy in his own back yard. Lasserre soon faded, however, leaving the field to the other three. Kiesa seemed to hit his stride after about ten minutes, but then Monteiro was back again, the first driver to get into the 1.11s. And then, out of nowhere, Jonathan Cochet was suddenly in 1st place. For the next ten minutes things remained reasonably static before Friesacher was able to drag the car round and onto pole, dropping Cochet down a place. Kiesa was in 3rd while Ben Collins was able to improve to 8th. Sadly, in the closing minutes, while everyone else was going faster, he could find nothing more and would return to his oil drum at the back of the awning and bury his nose in a book for most of the rest of the day. As the session drew to a close, Monteiro was able to dig deep and haul himself back up the order again, though he couldn't stop Cochet. With very little left of the session, the Signature driver snatched pole away, and then, just to ram his point home, he promptly set an even faster time on his next and final lap. Monteiro would have to settle for the second row, in 3rd place overall alongside Pizzonia. "My mother is Brazilian, so this is an almost Brazilian row," said the Portuguese driver, smiling.
Behind him was Friesacher, who had managed to hold of Kiesa, never an easy job. In 5th was Juan Manuel Lopez, the Manor driver still not looking at all happy, though it seems that the gloomy look is his natural expression. In fact, it's debatable as to who looks least happy on a day-to-day basis, him or Pavlovic! Local hero Lasserre would start from the 6th row, ahead of Montin, with Adam Jones the fastest of the Promotion Class drivers. Just behind him was Martin O'Connell who had improved vastly from the first session. OK, so the 9th row was nothing to shout about but at least it was in single figures, not double. Romain Dumas would start from the 10th row and Collins finished the session 11th and very fed up with life in general. Perhaps he thinks too much - never a good thing around here. Lee was 12th with Ambrose behind him and last, again by a huge margin, were Makowiecki and Gilbert.
Afterwards, Cochet was a very happy individual. "I think it was not just lucky. The car is good, set-up is good, and I knew that in the second session it will be better. So I attack more, so with my second tyres in my second session, I had the bit between my teeth, to attack in the faster corners, in Beaumont and after in Foch which is a very, very quick and very technical corner. The car was good because every lap was quicker. I am very confident because I have not made only one time fast, I have made two times fast. First I have took the pole position, and then, after, I was quicker, so I am very confident for tomorrow and my team mate is second and with my teammates the ambience is very good."
Monteiro thought it had been a very exciting session: "Yeah, we fought a lot. I think all of us in front were really close, even if Jonathan set a really good time. But I think it was really doable, you know. I had a lot of traffic this session, for four or five laps, so I couldn't test really the changes we have done on the car and when I had three laps, free laps, I realised that I wasn't fast enough through the car was better. I didn't force enough in the fast curves." Disappointed: "Of course, of course I am. That's normal. But I think I could have done, really, 11.0, that was my point, and when I saw the times coming down I thought OK, next time is 11.0, but I did a little mistake and it was over. Maybe four or five laps, the problem is that the traffic didn't let me practice, because every time I had a car in front of me it was in the fast curves so I had to lift so I couldn't test really hard what was the limit of the car. So when I had my two laps it wasn't enough to go at the limit. I didn't really make a mistake; I didn't spin or anything, but I couldn't practice enough. A little mistake and you're outside the trajectory."
<pre> Second Session Times - Group B: 1st - No 5 - Jonathan Cochet, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:11.096 2nd - No 7 - Tiago Monteiro, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:11.487 3rd - No 31 - Patrick Friesacher, BSR, F300 Opel, 1:11.508 4th - No 12 - Nicolas Kiesa, RC, F300 Opel, 1:11.854 5th - No 22 - Juan Manuel Lopez, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:12.044 6th - No 64 - Lucas Lasserre, LD, F399 Renault, 1:12.073 7th - No 27 - Paulo Montin, Target, F399 Opel, 1:12.079 8th - No 14 - Adam Jones, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:12.209 9th - No 17 - Martin O'Connell, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:12.297 10th - No 3 - Romain Dumas, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.548 11th - No 30 - Ben Collins, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:12.592 12th - No 2 - Ying-Kin Lee Marchy, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.959 13th - No 10 - Marcos Ambrose, EMC2, MK 79 Renault, 1:13.034 14th - No 19 - Frederic Makowiecki, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:16.102 15th - No 37 - Pierre Gilbert, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:17.296
Combined Qualifying Times: The grid was formed by placing the two sessions side-by-side, with the fastest driver of all taking pole position.
1st - No 5 - Jonathan Cochet, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:11.096 2nd - No 4 - Mathieu Zangarelli, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:11.276 3rd - No 7 - Tiago Monteiro, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:11.487 4th - No 21 - Antonio Pizzonia, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:11.598 5th - No 31 - Patrick Friesacher, BSR, F300 Opel, 1:11.508 6th - No 25 - Ryo Fukuda, LD, F399 Renault, 1:11.672 7th - No 12 - Nicolas Kiesa, RC, F300 Opel, 1:11.854 8th - No 11 - Milos Pavlovic, RC, F300 Opel, 1:11.844 9th - No 22 - Juan Manuel Lopez, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:12.044 10th - No 9 - Julien Beltoise, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:11.991 11th - No 64 - Lucas Lasserre, LD, F399 Renault, 1:12.073 12th - No 32 - Andre Lotterer, BSR, F399 Opel, 1:12.095 13th - No 27 - Paulo Montin, Target, F399 Opel, 1:12.079 14th - No 15 - Philip Giebler, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:12.355 15th - No 14 - Adam Jones, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:12.209 16th - No 6 - Yannick Schroeder, Promatecme, F399 Renault, 1:12.374 17th - No 17 - Martin O'Connell, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:12.297 18th - No 26 - Davide Uboldi, Uboldi, F399 Fiat, 1:12.789 19th - No 3 - Romain Dumas, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.548 20th - No 1 - James Andanson, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.809 21st - No 30 - Ben Collins, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:12.592 22nd - No 8 - Tristan Gommendy, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:12.843 23rd - No 2 - Ying-Kin Lee Marchy, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:12.959 24th - No 29 - Takuma Sato, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:12.883 25th - No 10 - Marcos Ambrose, EMC2, MK 79 Renault, 1:13.034 26th - No 16 - Julien Piguet, EMC2, F396 Opel, 1:14.673 27th - No 19 - Frederic Makowiecki, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:16.102 28th - No 20 - Warren Carway, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:14.814 29th - No 37 - Pierre Gilbert, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:17.296 30th - No 18 - David Moretti, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:16.063