Davidson wins Formula Ford Festival

Brands Hatch, Saturday/Sunday 21/22.10.00 - Anthony Davidson won the most dramatic Formula Ford Festival in recent history with a lights to flag victory in his BIC sponsored Haywood Racing Mygale. The 21-year old was forced to defend physical ...

Brands Hatch, Saturday/Sunday 21/22.10.00 - Anthony Davidson won the most dramatic Formula Ford Festival in recent history with a lights to flag victory in his BIC sponsored Haywood Racing Mygale. The 21-year old was forced to defend physical challenges from the works Van Diemen drivers to win this hugely prestigious international event.

His win follows Jenson Button's Festival victory with Haywood Racing in 1998, Eddie Irvine (1987) and Johnny Herbert (1985). 11 Festival winners have gone on to race in Formula One.

After the race Britain's top rookie driver was ecstatic: "It was one of the hardest races of my life. I have never had to defend my lead so hard. There was so many times that I thought I was going to be pushed off by the guys behind. This is the perfect way to finish my first season in cars, now I'm looking forward to moving to Formula 3 in 2001."

Davidson, who was recently nominated for the McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award, to be announced in early December, won his heat and semi-final to start the Festival Final from pole position. He immediately established a 0.5 second lead from James Courtney (AUS) and Robert Dahlgren (SWE) in the works Van Diemens.

However, it was clear that Davidson's car was not working so well in the drying conditions and the pack edged closer. For 15 laps Anthony had to drive with one eye on his mirrors to stop his pursuers from passing. It meant that he was pushed several times, which deranged his rear suspension.

A huge accident forced the race to be red flagged after 15 laps, to ensure that the drivers involved were unhurt. It meant that the Festival would be decided over a frantic 5-lap dash to the flag.

Once again Davidson converted his pole position into a 0.5 second lead at the end of the lap. However, Dahlgren soon closed in to make a lunge on lap 18 into Paddock Hill Bend. With smoke streaming from his locked tyres, Anthony just managed to stay in the lead.

On the same lap Courtney and Mark Taylor (GB) eliminated themselves from the lead battle. Dahlgren made a last, desperate bid around the outside at Paddock. Anthony held his line and the Swede slid into the gravel trap and retirement.

Anthony just had to stroke his battered car home for a scintillating win that showed huge maturity, skill and courage under intense pressure. He won by 0.446 of a second from Danica Patrick (US) and Robin Rudholm (SWE).

<pre> Results Posn Driver Nat Car Race time Gap Best lap 1st Anthony Davidson GB Mygale 4:09.335 48.321 2nd Danica Patrick US Mygale 4:09.781 0.446 48.288 3rd Robin Rudholm SWE Van Diemen 4.11.573 2.238 48.443

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