FIA F3000 International Championship.
Having secured second place on the grid for the round 9 race of the FIA F3000 International Championship in Hungary, Nordic Racing's Justin Wilson was full of confidence as the cars lined up for the race start. Unfortunately for Wilson, whose Lola was on the dirty side of the circuit, too much wheelspin as the lights changed to green saw the Coca Cola backed driver slip down to fifth place by the first corner. For the next 52 laps, Wilson tried and tried again to pass French driver Nicolas Minassian for fourth place, but to no avail. The Hungaroring is a very difficult circuit to pass at, and every attempt that Wilson made (and there were many) was blocked by Minassian. At the end of the race Wilson crossed the line in fifth, a disappointment, but a finish that earned him enough points to move up into fourth place in the drivers standings.
For team-mate Kevin McGarrity, having made a good start from 19th place on the grid, his race came to an abrupt end at the second corner when he was struck by Soheil Ayari, who was attempting to pass McGarrity on the inside. Kevin pulled into the pits at the end of the first lap and retired.
"I am very disappointed with today's result," said Justin Wilson after the race. "To have qualified so near the front I was hoping that I could have taken the race win for the Nordic team. The problem I found was grip and as I was lined up on the dirty side of the track, the wheels just spun and spun. By the time I had caught some grip again, I had already dropped down to fifth. I knew that I had to pass Minassian first if I was going to stand any chance of catching the leading trio, but however hard I tried, I just couldn't get by. And believe me - I tried. Still, the points I got for fifth has me now in fourth place in the championship, so I must set my sights on another good qualifying result at Spa in two weeks. Then I can go for the win."
Nordic Racing Team Manager Chris Mower added: " Obviously we are disappointed to have Justin finish fifth and not on the podium as we had hoped for. However, given the track conditions that saw Justin fall back, I can, in all honesty say that we were very proud of Justin this weekend. He qualified well and, despite falling back into fifth at the race start, he never once backed off or dropped his head. Instead he made the most of the situation and attacked Minassian at every opportunity for fourth place, at a circuit that is very hard to overtake at. At the end of the day he scored more valuable points not only for himself, but for the team as well, never giving up the fight right until the final flag. What more can you ask from a driver. Now we must set our sights on Spa, where we aim to qualify back at the front, followed, I hope, by the race win." <pre> Result. Round 9. 1: Bruno Junqueira. 1:21.30.052. 2: Fernando Alonso. 1:21.30.647. 3: Ricardo Mauricio. 1:21.38.865. 4: Nicolas Minassian. 1:21.41.193. 5: Justin Wilson. 1:21.42.687.
Next race: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Saturday 26th August 2000