FIA F3000 International Championship - Round 7 race report.
A1-Ring, Austria. Saturday 15th July 2000.
Round seven of the FIA International Championship, held at the A1-Ring in Austria, saw an excellent second place podium finish for Nordic Racing driver Justin Wilson. Wilson, who started the race from 11th place on the grid, put in what can easily be described as his "race of the season", cutting his way through the traffic with such ease that he was already up into fifth place within six laps of the race start, eventually taking second place behind race winner Nicolas Minassian by the 12th !!
For the remaining 30 laps, Wilson attacked Minassian at very opportunity, yet, despite having possibly the fast car on the track, was unable to pass the highly experienced French driver. His quest was also not helped by two Safety Car periods, which served in only bunching the field closer together. In the second Safety Car intervention, Wilson, despite being second on the road, found himself in third (behind a slower lapped car). With just three laps to complete once the Safety Car had pulled in, Wilson found himself hampe red by the backmarker, losing valuable seconds in which to attack Minassian once more for the lead.
"As I said before, we knew that we would be on the pace here, as our recent testing times proved," said Team Manager Chris Mower. "What can I say about Justin today. He proved that the car was set-up well for the race and, what is more important, he proved what an excellent driver he is. Starting from 11th on the grid, he was already up to eighth on the first lap, then fifth by the sixth lap and second by the 12. He took full advantage of every opportunity handed to him and I really believe that had Minassian not been running with one whole less wing than Justin, then things could have been very different today. There are now just three races left for us, so we must knuckle down now and set our sights on the top step of the podium - which I believe is achievable. The team is now looking forward to the next round at Hockenheim, Germany, which for the team and Justin, cannot come quick enough."
<pre> RACE RESULT: 48 laps. 1: Nicolas Minassian. Super Nova Racing. 1hr 10min 42.354secs. 2: Justin Wilson. Nordic Racing. 1:10:43.768 (+1.414 secs) 3: Darren Manning. Arden Team Russia. 1:10:48.263 (+5.908 secs) 4: Mark Webber. European Arrows. 1:10:48.490 (+6.135 secs) 5: Jaime Melo. Petrobras Junior Team. 1:10:49.304 (+6.950) 6: Fernando Alonso. Team Astromega. 1:10:49.575 (+7.221)
Championship points after 7 (of 10) rounds. 1: Junqueira. 38 pts. Minassian. 38 pts. 3: Webber. 17 pts. 4: Wilson. 12 pts. Saelens. 12 pts. 6: Manning. 10 pts. 7: Bourdais. 9 pts. 8: Gollin. 7 pts. 9: Davies. 6 pts. Melo. 6 pts. 11: Montagny. 5 pts. 12: Couto. 4 pts. Enge. 4 pts. 14: McGarrity. 3 pts. Sarrazin. 3 pts. Bernoldi. 3 pts. Hooydonk. 3 pts. 18: Ayari. 1 pt. Alonso. 1 pt.
Next round: Hockenhiem, Germany. July 29th 2000