BESNARD DISQUALIFIED AFTER FINISHING FOURTH IN HEAT RACE; WARM-UP LAP INFRACTION SENDS F2000 CHAMP HOME EARLY

BRANDS HATCH, England (October 24, 1998) -- After finishing fourth in a driving rainstorm in his first heat at the Formula Ford World Finals, Australian David Besnard was disqualified for a rules infraction on the warm-up laps prior to the start of the race.

Besnard, who qualified sixth, lost power to the motor at the conclusion of the first warm-up lap and ducked into the pits only to find he had inadvertently switched off the ignition switch. Once he re-fired the motor, Besnard proceeded back onto the track and regained his sixth starting position on the second, and final, warm-up lap. Besnard was disqualified for failing to stop at the red light at the end of pit lane and reassuming his position.

"Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed," said Besnard. "When I got to the end of pit lane, I looked for a marshall to stop me, but no one was there. I didn't even see the red light. In the United States, we're allowed to retake our position on a pace lap, so I did. For the most part, the regulations are the same between here and the U.S., but this is one of the differences. The rules are the rules, and it's my fault for not knowing that procedure.

"The week was a bit of a struggle because neither my mechanic nor I are used to the cars. I think we were making good progress though, and could have been there in the final. It's a shame."

Besnard, who won the U.S. F2000 National Championship this season, next sets off to test A.J. Foyt's Indy Racing League car, a Toyota Atlantic car and and Tasman Racing's Indy Lights car in the next month and a half in the United States.