Eubank and Pantano win at Donington! DONINGTON PARK, ENGLAND, August 11, 2002 -- Watched by an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 25,000, Formula One hopeful, Giorgio Pantano, and former WBO Middleweight Boxing Champion, Chris Eubank, today were the...
Eubank and Pantano win at Donington!
DONINGTON PARK, ENGLAND, August 11, 2002 -- Watched by an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 25,000, Formula One hopeful, Giorgio Pantano, and former WBO Middleweight Boxing Champion, Chris Eubank, today were the surprise winners of Thunder in the Park 2, the second annual motor racing extravaganza staged by European Minardi for its unique, two-seater Formula One cars. The star-studded driver line-up for the event was led by 1996 Formula One World Champion, Damon Hill, and included 2002 KL Minardi Asiatech drivers, Mark Webber and Alex Yoong, team owner, Paul Stoddart, as well as David Saelens, Matteo Bobbi and Christijan Albers, all of whom have strong connections with the team.
Joining this wealth of driving talent as high-speed passengers for today's event were a number of celebrities, including Eubank, well-known songstress, Gabrielle, and ITV F1 reporter, Beverley Turner, as well as successful charity auction bidders, Jonathan Frost, Lee Amaitis, Sam Goldstein, Mehboob Hamza and competition prizewinner, Derek Sadler. The main goals of the busy, three-day programme at Donington were to raise money for two very worthy charities close to the motor racing fraternity -- the Brain & Spine Foundation and the Down's Syndrome Association -- and to achieve Stoddart's stated aim of making Formula One more accessible to the public.
Thunder in the Park 2 succeeded on both counts. Quite apart from the exciting race, won by Pantano and Eubank, the eight European Minardi F1x2 chassis carried 102 intrepid passengers in the course of the three days and covered nearly 3000 kms around Donington. An added bonus for the assembled fans was the appearance of a pair of the team's 2001 PS01 Formula One cars, which made a series of demonstration runs in the hands of drivers Pantano, Bobbi, well-known American, Bryan Herta, and 2002 FIA International F3000 Champion, Justin Wilson. In the end, though, it was the news that Thunder in the Park 2 had raised more than US$500,000 for the chosen charities that brought the most satisfaction to all concerned.
"For me this was an exciting experience. I enjoyed driving the Minardi two-seater a lot and I want to thank everyone for giving me the chance to do something special for the public today, as well as the people behind the drivers, but especially for two important charities. It has been a great weekend and the whole experience has been fantastic."
"The race was electrifyingly terrifying, but it was also really exciting. A lot of money has been earned for the two worthy causes involved this weekend. Would I do it again for charity? Absolutely! It has been a fantastic day, both for me and for my wife, who also had a ride, and I will definitely be in touch with Paul Stoddart, because these are nice events in which to participate. My driver, Giorgio, won the race and I guess even after 10 years, people will say, 'There's that Eubank, winning again -- he just can't help himself!' It's been a great day."
"Wow! What a fantastic day. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone involved with this fantastic event, particularly to Damon Hill, who gave freely of his time, to all the other drivers, who did such a fantastic job, but most of all, to the 150 staff of European Minardi, European Aviation, and indeed, the whole European Group, who worked tirelessly over the past weeks to make Thunder in the Park 2 happen. Special thanks must also go to Murray Walker, for coming out of retirement and commentating live on his first F1 'race' for nearly two years. It has been a wonderful event."
FINAL RESULT - THUNDER IN THE PARK 2
1. Giorgio Pantano/Chris Eubank 2. Christijan Albers/Mehboob Hamza 3. Alex Yoong/Lee Amaitis 4. Damon Hill/Derek Sadler 5. Paul Stoddart/Sam Goldstein 6. Matteo Bobbi/Darren Williams 7. David Saelens/Beverley Turner 8. Mark Webber/Jonathan Frost