For round nine of the 2000 F1 season Benson and Hedges Jordan returns to the scene of its dramatic 1999 triumph when a perfect team strategy and a superb drive by Heinz-Harald Frentzen saw Jordan make the most of a wet race to claim victory ahead...
For round nine of the 2000 F1 season Benson and Hedges Jordan returns to the scene of its dramatic 1999 triumph when a perfect team strategy and a superb drive by Heinz-Harald Frentzen saw Jordan make the most of a wet race to claim victory ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello.
Recalling racing at Magny Cours Heinz-Harald said," Over the past few seasons I have only good memories of my time racing at Magny Cours. Last year in a race that was really up and down I was able to gain my first win for the Benson and Hedges Jordan team. I would like to be on the podium again and I feel we are in a good position to make that happen."
The German driver added: "The Magny Cours Circuit has been the venue for the French Grand Prix since 1991 and in my opinion it is perhaps not the most exciting circuit on the F1 Calendar. However the circuit has one real testing corner, the first left right combination after the start finish line. The corner is relatively quick and long and requires a lot of driver skill and feel."
The Benson and Hedges Jordan team tested at Magny Cours in preparation for the Grand Prix this weekend. Testing went well and the team concentrated on setting the car up as well as completing successful engine changes. Jarno Trulli commented: "We set the car up well at the beginning of the week and could not make much improvement to the balance. I think we have a car that will be up at the front of the grid although I don't think we will be as strong as in Monaco or Canada. I believe we should qualify in the top six to eight though, and on race day weather and strategy may work for us again as it did last year."
Trulli previously at the French team Prost still receives a warm welcome and gets enthusiastic support from local fans. During testing Trulli added, "I look forward to racing at Magny Cours as the French people are very supportive and I have had a lot of support from fans during testing last week."
Jordan's Technical Director Mike Gascoyne added: "We go to Magny Cours with a good set up and know the general strategy that needs to be put in place for the weekend. Magny Cours is a unique circuit with very smooth flat surfaces and changeable weather conditions. Testing can only prepare you so much as conditions can differ significantly. The circuit has good memories for Jordan as we went well in 1998 and we won last year. It is one of the circuits that we would expect to do well at. "
"We have not had much luck so far this season, but hopefully this will change in Magny Cours. We certainly had a successful test and we feel the cars will be competitive and should qualify in the top six. The most important thing is to have a two car finish without any reliability worries."
Gascoyne who appeared at Goodwood this weekend with the race winning Jordan 199 commented: "Goodwood is a fantastic event and the organisers do a great job to enable the public to get so close to the cars. Obviously the festival was marred by the tragedy on Saturday and this gives an indication of how dangerous motorsport can be and what a great job the Marshalls do."
"We had a small team there from Jordan and we all enjoyed ourselves it was a great chance for the public to get close to the race winning Jordan 199. Gascoyne, who was at the wheel of last year's Jordan Mugen Honda199 for a blast up the 1.2-mile hill climb in the grounds of Goodwood House on Saturday and Sunday, said: "Driving the car up such a difficult track can be very daunting, it is bumpy and narrow and the 800 horse power engine needs a much more skilful driver than me. On the last run after 50 metres I rapidly ran out of talent. After getting out of the car and seeing how little damage was caused I proved a point that I will stay a designer rather than a driver."