FIA F3000 International Championship. Round 8 (of 10) - Hockenheim, Germany. Saturday 29th July. RAIN SOAKED HOCKENHEIM The heaviest rain in recent German history fell on the Hockenheim race circuit in Germany, making qualifying and the...
FIA F3000 International Championship.
Round 8 (of 10) - Hockenheim, Germany. Saturday 29th July.
RAIN SOAKED HOCKENHEIM
The heaviest rain in recent German history fell on the Hockenheim race circuit in Germany, making qualifying and the race itself, a bizarre event. During the course of the 31 lap, one hour and fifteen minute race, the weather conditions changed from heavy rain to bright sunshine and then back to rain. Never before has the saying "four seasons in one day" been more relevant for a race.
For Nordic Racing drivers Kevin McGarrity and Justin Wilson, the one and only qualifying period, itself held in pouring rain (and red-flagged early), gave the pair 19th and 22nd respectively on the grid.
Both drivers made excellent starts, Wilson making up a total of eight places by the end of the fifth lap. Feeling that the circuit had started to dry enough for slick tyres, Wilson called on his radio that he was coming in for a tyre change. This, at the time, seemed the right thing to do as Justin would then have been able to make up many places over the drivers still on wet weather tyres. Unfortunately, the rain started again as Justin left the pits and he went off the circuit very quickly (as his tyres were both cold and new).
Kevin McGarrity made a more cautious start and was making good progress, moving into 11th place when he was assaulted by the Arden Team Russia Lola of Darren Manning, suffering extensive wing damage in the accident. "I'm not too sure what happened," said McGarrity. "I was braking for a chicane when I was violently rammed from behind by Manning. He struck me with such force that his car was mounted on top of mine for some time." With damage to his Nordic Racing Lola, McGarrity was forced to pit for a new wing and tyres on lap 15, at which time his rear wing was also changed by his race engineers. The new rear wing configuration now gave McGarrity a greater opportunity to pass cars in the steadily drying conditions. Having been forced to rejoin the race in last position, Kevin made great progress through the field, catching and passing 8 cars in the process, three of which were on the last lap. His charge through the pack eventually netted 11th place, setting a fastest race lap also.
Team Principal Derek Mower said: "There is no doubt in my mind that had Justin not fallen off the track as the weather conditions changed (yet again), then he would have finished in the points. Germany is over now, so we must set our sights on the next race in Hungary."