60th Grand Prix de Pau, June 10th/11th/12th, 2000. by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite <pre> Entry List No 1 - James Andanson, France, La FiliÃ¨re, Martini MK 79 Opel-Spiess No 2 - Ying-Kin Lee Marchy, China, La FiliÃ¨re, Martini MK 79...
60th Grand Prix de Pau, June 10th/11th/12th, 2000.
by Stella-Maria Thomas and Lynne Waite
<pre> Entry List No 1 - James Andanson, France, La Filière, Martini MK 79 Opel-Spiess No 2 - Ying-Kin Lee Marchy, China, La Filière, Martini MK 79 Opel-Spiess No 3 - Romain Dumas, France, La Filière, Martini MK 79 Opel-Spiess No 4 - Mathieu Zangarelli, France, Signature Elf, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 5 - Jonathan Cochet, France, Signature Elf, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 6 - Yannick Schroeder, France, Promatecme, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 7 - Tiago Monteiro, Portugal, ASM Elf, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 8 - Tristan Gommendy, France, ASM Elf, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 9 - Julien Beltoise, France, ASM Elf, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 10 - Marcos Ambrose, Australia, EMC2 Mygale, Martini MK 79 Renault-Sodemo No 11 - Milos Pavlovic, Yugoslavia, RC, Dallara F300 Spiess-Opel, 1:20.963 No 12 - Nicolas Kiesa, Denmark, RC, Dallara F300 Spiess-Opel, 1:20.526 No 14 - Adam Jones, GB, La Filière, Martini MK 73 Opel-Spiess No 15 - Philip Giebler, USA, La Filière, Martini MK 73 Opel-Spiess No 16 - Julien Piguet, France, EMC2 Mygale, Dallara F396 Opel-Spiess No 17 - Martin O'Connell, GB, Rowan, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:20.685 No 18 - David Moretti, France, Griffiths, Dallara F396 Fiat-Novamotor No 19 - Frederic Makowiecki, France, Griffiths, Dallara F396 Fiat-Novamotor No 20 - Warren Carway, Ireland, Rowan, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:21.776 No 21 - Antonio Pizzonia, Brazil, Manor, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:19.035 No 22 - Juan Manuel Lopez, Argentina, Manor, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:21.385 No 25 - Ryo Fukuda, Japan, LD Autosport, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo No 26 - Davide Uboldi, Italy, Uboldi Corse SL, Dallara F399 Fiat-Novamotor No 27 - Paulo Montin, Italy, Target Racing, Dallara F399 Opel-Spiess No 29 - Takuma Sato, Japan, Carlin, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:19.826 No 30 - Ben Collins, GB, Carlin, Dallara F300 Mugen-Honda, 1:18.891 No 31 - Patrick Friesacher, Austria, Opel Team BSR, Dallara F300 Opel-Spiess No 32 - Andre Lotterer, Germany, Opel Team BSR, Dallara F399 Opel-Spiess No 37 - Pierre Gilbert, France, Griffiths, Dallara F396 Fiat-Novamotor No 64 - Lucas Lasserre, France, LD Autosport, Dallara F399 Renault-Sodemo
</pre> Things were not looking good for anyone at the start of this, the 60th running of the Pau Grand Prix (that's two more than Monaco they proudly tell you). On Friday it started to rain, and it didn't bother to stop until most of the way into Saturday. The "Thinking Person's Monte Carlo" was looking more like a swamp, especially round at the visitor's end of things. Perhaps they had no choice; perhaps they just got beaten to it by the French teams that come here every year (and incidentally by Carlin Motorsport who were here last year). Whatever the reason, three teams were soon up to their truck axles in water; John Booth of Manor Motorsport could be seen wielding a brush with some style in an attempt to move the water so that their flat bed was visible again. Where was he moving it to? Who cared, so long as it was somewhere else? Even Antonio Pizzonia could be seen pushing water around, though not so effectively. Still, he's much closer to it than John. To the ill-concealed glee of their driver, Nicolas Kiesa, the RC Motorsport unit was also flooded, as was the awning at Bertram Schafer Racing. A fairly unhappy Piers Hunnisett, the former British racer now acting as coach to the RC drivers, was blaming himself. "The first time I ever bothered to pack suntan lotion... It's the South. It's not supposed to do this!" Trevor Carlin wasn't too happy about the weather either: "I only brought shorts..." The preponderance of duck on menus locally was causing a lot of people to worry about developing webbed feet, while those who had been unfortunate enough to be at Silverstone for the Grand Prix could be heard disconsolately wailing just one word: "Mud!"
Anyway, the weather gods seemed to get it out of their system to a great extent during the course of the day, which meant that come Sunday, and the two qualifying session, conditions were a lot better. They weren't perfect but the Pyrenees had at least put in an appearance in the distance, which improved everyone's mood. It was as well that conditions improved after the chaos of the testing sessions. With Philip Giebler (La Filière) in particular seemingly convinced that there was something interesting in the run off area at Gare, and also convinced that if he went up there often enough he might find out what it was, the whole affair was becoming silly. At one stage of the afternoon both Carlin cars, a BSR car and a Manor car (Pizzonia's) were all delivered back with pieces hanging off. You could put a lot of it down to youthful over enthusiasm, except that Ben Collins is old enough to know better even if the others aren't.
Qualifying - First Session:
First Session - Group A:
Weather: Cloudy, cool, damp.
Looking very keen, the first driver out of the pit lane and onto the track was Takuma Sato (Carlin Motorsport). The Japanese driver had looked pretty effective in testing until his brush with the scenery and he was keen to get some clear track space to try and set a good time. Even so Davide Uboldi was quickly ahead of him in the order. Of course, he has been here before, which helps. In addition, after the rain the day before, the foreigners were all looking for a good set-up and also trying to get the hang of the Michelin tyres, so a little local knowledge could go a very long way. It may, therefore, have come as a bit of a surprise to those who had been there before to finish the session with Antonio Pizzonia fastest of all, ahead of Sato. The locals were going to have to look to their laurels if they were to deal with these two. It hadn't looked as if it would end that way, with Mathieu Zangarelli (Signature) making a lot of the early running and Ryo Fukuda (LD), who is currently the man to beat in French F3 up there too.
As the times came down rapidly Zangarelli found himself fighting it out with Andre Lotterer (BSR), the young German getting on the pace pretty quickly too, despite not exactly knowing his way round the streets of Pau. Then Pizzonia dropped them all down a place, only to have Milos Pavlovic (RC Benetton) do the same to him. Lotterer and Zangarelli both fought back, as did Julien Beltoise (ASM), who seemed to suddenly wake up and realise that he had better get a move on if he didn't want to end up at the back. Having dragged himself up the order, however, he was completely unable to drag himself off the kerbs at Foch and had to be dragged away by a breakdown truck instead. After the flags stopped waving, it was again Sato's turn to set the fastest lap, but he was just as suddenly displaced to 2nd by Pavlovic. In the closing seconds, though, it was Pizzonia, with Sato moving back up to 2nd, ahead of Zangarelli, who was ahead of Pavlovic. Proving that Promatecme have problems in France as much as in England, the French arm of the team's only entry, driven by Yannick Schroeder, was provisionally on the 5th row, ahead of Lotterer and Fukuda.
The hapless Beltoise was 8th and Davide Uboldi was 9th. James Andanson, having shown well at the beginning, was 10th, the fastest of the Class B drivers in the group, and Tristan Gommendy (ASM), who kept spinning, was 11th. Philip Giebler (La Filière) was 12th, still apparently fascinated by whatever was at Gare. Behind him was Julien Piguet (EMC2), who struggled all weekend. He wasn't the only one in trouble though. Warren Carway (Rowan) was last but one, complaining about how difficult the tyres were to get used to and saying that he was suffering wheel spin in most gears going up the hill from Gare. He wasn't last though. That dubious distinction went to David Moretti (Griffiths), in one of the oldest cars in the race. It wouldn't, however, be made to suffer much longer. <pre> First Session Times - Group A: 1st - No 21 - Antonio Pizzonia, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:12.629 2nd - No 29 - Takuma Sato, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:12.983 3rd - No 4 - Mathieu Zangarelli, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:13.037 4th - No 11 - Milos Pavlovic, RC, F300 Opel, 1:13.146 5th - No 6 - Yannick Schroeder, Promatecme, F399 Renault, 1:13.367 6th - No 32 - Andre Lotterer, BSR, F399 Opel, 1:13.393 7th - No 25 - Ryo Fukuda, LD, F399 Renault, 1:13.472 8th - No 9 - Julien Beltoise, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:13.512 9th - No 26 - Davide Uboldi, Uboldi, F399 Fiat, 1:13.572 10th - No 1 - James Andanson, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:13.995 11th - No 8 - Tristan Gommendy, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:14.258 12th - No 15 - Philip Giebler, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:14.336 13th - No 16 - Julien Piguet, EMC2, F396 Opel, 1:15.544 14th - No 20 - Warren Carway, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:17.987 15th - No 18 - David Moretti, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:19.789
First Session - Group B:
With the track improving rapidly, the early pace setter in this session was Nicolas Kiesa (RC Benetton). His progress was somewhat hampered when the first outbreak of yellow flag waving occurred. One of the Griffiths cars, either that of Pierre Gilbert or Frederick Makowiecki, was off at the Chicane, though he was soon able to get back on. Patrick Friesacher (BSR) was soon up the order, but the next pole-sitter was Paulo Montin (Target). The Italian would not hold his place for long though before Friesacher came back at him and Kiesa decided to join in. Tiago Monteiro (ASM) was also looking good for a front row position, and these three would fight it out along with Jonathan Cochet (Signature) for most of the session, Monteiro setting the fastest time in the end, with Cochet behind him and Friesacher and Kiesa taking the next two places, edging Montin down into 5th. Juan Manuel Lopez was showing well, having finished 6th here last year and so at last finding himself on a circuit he has seen before. However, a clash with Kiesa at Gare where "he just ran out of talent!" left him looking rather unnerved and after that he slipped back down to 9th, behind Adam Jones. Kiesa might have finished further up the order too had he not simply run out of road at Gare.
It was fair to say that the locals were pretty disappointed at the performance of local boy Lucas Lasserre, although what they really expected from him in his first year in F3 was hard to say. The pressure is always on him to perform here, and 6th would be disappointing to his many supporters in the big tent on top of the Boulevard des Pyrenees. Romain Dumas (la Filière) got the better of teammate Jones in this session to finish one place ahead of the Solihull lad in 7th. In 10th was the mysteriously out-of-sorts Ben Collins. The Carlin drivers were both complaining of a complete lack of grip from their Michelins, and to add to his troubles, Ben was plagued with a gearbox that refused to stay in gear. Even so, he was baffled by the problems and he didn't look comfortable all day. In 10th place in his session, and therefore in a provisional 10th row position, Ben was in big trouble.
Marcos Ambrose (EMC2), who was such a star in Formula Ford last year in Britain, seemed to be struggling somewhat too with this tricky circuit, though he was markedly better off than Martin O'Connell, (Rowan), who was 12th. Of course this amused Jones no end, as it meant he was ahead in the Brummie battle, especially as he is in a Class B and technically Martin isn't. The last driver still reasonably close to the pace was Ying-Kin Lee Marchy (La Filière), the Chinese youngster coming home ahead of the two final two Griffiths cars of Frederic Makowiecki, who really didn't stand a chance in a Dallara F396 that seemed to be too small for him, and Pierre Gilbert, in a similarly elderly car. Gilbert, its fair to say, seemed to be a major liability and you have to wonder what he is doing out there. It is to be hoped that he doesn't make it to Zandvoort because if he does he will be a much worse mobile chicane than the little white tow trucks ever are. Technically, with a time as slow as his, he was outside the qualifying time. Maybe he would be able to make up the deficit in the second session, but it seemed unlikely. <pre> First Session Times - Group B: 1st - No 7 - Tiago Monteiro, ASM, F399 Renault, 1:11.930 2nd - No 5 - Jonathan Cochet, Signature, F399 Renault, 1:11.945 3rd - No 31 - Patrick Friesacher, BSR, F300 Opel, 1:12.101 4th - No 12 - Nicolas Kiesa, RC, F300 Opel, 1:12.442 5th - No 27 - Paulo Montin, Target, F399 Opel, 1:12.589 6th - No 64 - Lucas Lasserre, LD, F399 Renault, 1:12.811 7th - No 3 - Romain Dumas, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:13.002 8th - No 14 - Adam Jones, La Filière, MK 73 Opel, 1:13.069 9th - No 22 - Juan Manuel Lopez, Manor, F300 Honda, 1:13.109 10th - No 30 - Ben Collins, Carlin, F300 Honda, 1:13.295 11th - No 10 - Marcos Ambrose, EMC2, MK 79 Renault, 1:13.391 12th - No 17 - Martin O'Connell, Rowan, F300 Honda, 1:13.598 13th - No 2 - Ying-Kin Lee Marchy, La Filière, MK 79 Opel, 1:13.929 14th - No 19 - Frederic Makowiecki, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:17.836 15th - No 37 - Pierre Gilbert, Griffiths, F396 Fiat, 1:22.277