Fran-Am 2000 wraps up inaugural season with another Spengler victory. (24/11/2002) Phoenix, Arizona -- Overall series champion Bruno Spengler was dominant once again in the final race of the year for the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro ...
Fran-Am 2000 wraps up inaugural season with another Spengler victory.
(24/11/2002) Phoenix, Arizona -- Overall series champion Bruno Spengler was dominant once again in the final race of the year for the Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship series.
In front of several very special guests including Mr. Normand Legault, President & CEO of Grand Prix du Canada, Mr. Jean Paul Blais President and COO of GPC Formule 1, Mr. Richard Prieur President and COO of Cite Communications Inc. and Mr. Gerald deBar of Switzerland and two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona and newly crowned GRAND AM 2002 Champion Didier Theys, Spengler captured his seventh consecutive pole position Saturday morning in his American TCS Racing entry and led every race lap to claim his fifth victory in a row.
The race was marred by several on-track incidents that led to three full-course yellows. The time under caution did allow the field to catch up to Spengler with Phillips Motorsports' driver Dan McMullen restarting just behind Spengler each time. However, McMullen could not get the pass made and had to settle for second once again, his sixth runner-up finish of the year.
It was an up and down weekend for Gelles Racing and their international line up of drivers. Gelles was down by a car as Canadian driver Michael Brooks of Barrie, Ontario was unable to race on Sunday after an incident in Saturday's race.
A great qualifying session on Sunday saw Gelles drivers and Fran-Am newcomers Danilo deOliveria from Brazil and Doug Prendeville of the USA put themselves fourth and eighth respectively on the starting grid and Pedro Larriera of Uruguay qualify sixth. Larriera went out on lap 10 after contact with American TCS Racing driver Jonathon Fecteau while deOliveria escaped injury after flipping his car on lap 21. Despite the loss of three cars, Gelles Racing did get a podium finish with Prendeville finishing third.
After qualifying second for the second day in a row, American TCS Racing driver Sean McIntosh of Coquitlam, BC also received his second black flag in as many races for jumping the start. McIntosh raced hard to make his way back through the field only to make contact with another car and knock his front wing loose. After failing to respond to a meatball flag, McIntosh was penalized a lap and wound up finishing 10th. Dominique Claessens of Rolling Hills, California had his second fourth place finish in a row and Dino Bruno of Los Angeles, California rounded out the top five with his best finish of the year.
The Fran-Am 2000 North American Pro Championship is a cousin of Formula Renault in Europe, South America and China. Each Fran-Am 2000 race features a $25,000 Michelin International supported cash prize fund, with the overall series champion winning a ride in the 2003 Super Renault V6 series in Europe. Formula Renault is recognized worldwide as a primary feeder for the Formula One stars of tomorrow. Recent graduates include McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen (who went straight to Formula One from Formula Renault) as well as Sauber's Felipe Massa and newly appointed Jaguar F1 driver, Antonio Pizzona.
The Fran-Am 2000 race car features a spec-Tatuus carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, sealed 2.0-liter/186-horsepower motor (capable of running an entire season without a rebuild), 6-speed sequential gearbox, and spec-Michelin Sport racing tires.