Changing weather and results at Magny Cours Once more a race day of the 2003 World Series by Nissan was dominated by changing weather conditions. Shortly before the first race on the circuit of Magny Cours, rain set in and all cars went on the...
Changing weather and results at Magny Cours
Once more a race day of the 2003 World Series by Nissan was dominated by changing weather conditions. Shortly before the first race on the circuit of Magny Cours, rain set in and all cars went on the track with rain tires. Racing Engineering's Stephane Sarrazin and Bas Leinders didn't finish the first race, but showed the competitiveness of the Nissan V6 during the second race, where they finished second and fifth.
The first race on the circuit of Magny Cours was rated a wet race and therefore all cars started on rain tires. The race was characterized by many incidents involving not only Racing Engineering's drivers but also Gene, Karthikeyan, Jouanny and Villaamil. Bas Leinders, starting from a good sixth position, had a good start but was hit by another car in the first lap and the damage on his car forced him to go into the pits where he spent more than twelve minutes. Knowing that he could not make a difference in the race results anymore, he used the remaining time on the track to check if the cars would be ok for the second race. Stephane on the other hand had a safe start from position three, but spun in lap two. By lap ten Stephane had already made his way up to position two again. Driving in a secure second place Stephane made a mistake that cost him the second position.
How the weather would be was the main question before race two. Finally it seemed like the rain was gone and the track started to dry up. Therefore both Stephane from second position and Bas, due to his engine problems only from fourteenth place, decided to start on slicks. Stephane made his way through an accident at the start involving Bernoldi, Burgueño and Pereira. After passing Karthikeyan in lap four Stephane immediately headed for position two and closed the gap to Besson. In lap eleven Stephane overtook Besson and was second. He lost this position when entering into the pits for the obligatory tire change, but overtook Besson again in lap twenty. Stephane finished race two second on the podium.
Bas, starting from position fourteen, pushed a lot throughout the race and was already seventh in lap five. A good pit stop in lap fifteen secured his fifth place in race two.
Stephane, after a weekend with mixed emotions, stated "In terms of performance I am very happy with this weekend as we had a very good car at all times and under dry as well as wet conditions. This is very important for the future. I think this weekend I've broken my spell of bad luck. I am happy with the podium but I am very unhappy about my mistake in the first race. But for the next race we are very confident as again we will improve before Magny Cours. We were on top of the grid in Zolder and here and we will continue like this.
After the first race, asked about the incident in the first lap, Bas announced "In Adelaide I was next to Villaamil and somebody hit me from behind. This incident damaged my car so I entered the pits for the repair. I went on the track again as we tried the car but we still have to do a set up for the second race as not everything is straight." Asked about the second race Bas said, "With all the engine problems behind us I easily made the third fastest lap in warm up. In the second race I went to fifth position from the fourteenth and made the second fastest lap in the race. Without the engine problems ..."
Alfonso de Orleans after the two races said "The performance is there. Overall it was an encouraging weekend... It was hard to really gauge it, due to the fact that I was at the Spanish F3 race in Jarama."