Macau practice two notes

Macau practice two notes
Dec 1, 2002, 6:31 AM

This time Bruce Jouanny (Promatecme International) led the way into action, followed by Tatsuya Kataoka (Swiss Racing Team), Ronnie Bremer (Manor Motorsport) and Kousuke Matsuura (Prema Powerteam). Shinya Sato (Swiss Racing Team) was in trouble ...

This time Bruce Jouanny (Promatecme International) led the way into action, followed by Tatsuya Kataoka (Swiss Racing Team), Ronnie Bremer (Manor Motorsport) and Kousuke Matsuura (Prema Powerteam). Shinya Sato (Swiss Racing Team) was in trouble again, proving that he's no Takuma. He was stuck across the track in a decidedly embarrassing manner and needed time to sort himself out.

Unsurprisingly, Jouanny set an early fastest lap, while Robbie Kerr (Alan Docking Racing) was trying to make up for having crashed out of the Thursday session on his first flying lap and had gone 3rd fastest. Robert Doornbos (Team Ghinzani) was also looking as if he was on good form again, while Heikki Kovalainen (Fortec Motorsport) was 3rd and quietly getting on with the job, having decided that he had only been dehydrated the day before. A further change in the order saw Jouanny leading from James Courtney (Carlin Motorsport), Doornbos, Kovalainen, Fabio Carbone in the other Fortec car and Paolo Montin (Tom's).

It didn't stay that way for long as Kataoka moved up to 2nd, from Kerr and Alan van der Merwe (Carlin Motorsport), who was making sure that his car was back in working order after his Thursday crash. Milos Pavlovic (Target Racing) went 4th next, while Kovalainen climbed back up to 2nd. Montin was still determined to get the elusive win here, and promptly went fastest of all, while Olivier Pla (ASM) was beginning to get to grips with the circuit and moved into 4th. Jouanny shot back up to 2nd, while Courtney pitted to see what was causing his Mugen engine to misfire. To the surprise of many, now occupying 4th place was Takashi Kogure (MugenxDome Project). Before any more changes could take place, the rain that had been threatening arrived in a short, sharp shower that was so localised that it didn't actually hit all of the circuit - the pits were sodden but it was dry at Lisboa. As a result, there were cars sliding off all over the place. The survivors all dived for cover in the pits and waited it out.

The order at this point was Montin, Jouanny, Kovalainen, Pla, Kogure, Kataoka, Carbone, Kerr, Doornbos and Cesar Campanico (Prema Powerteam). In 11th was Narain Karthikeyan (Carlin Motorsport), from Pavlovic, van der Merwe, Renaud Derlot (Arta-Signature-Elf), Courtney, Bremer, Marchy Lee (Manor Motorsport), Tristan Gommendy (ASM), Hiroki Yoshimoto (Now Motorsport) and Katsuyuki Hiranaka (Tom's). Matsuura was next, not looking anywhere as convincing as he did the day before, from Shinya Sato (Swiss Racing Team), Marcel Costa (Team Ghinzani), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Team Carlin.Kolles), Richard Antinucci (Promatecme International), Michael Ho (Team Carlin.Kolles), Lei Kit Meng (Manor Motorsport), Yuji Ide (Arta- Signature-Elf), Cristiano Citron (Target Racing) and local racer Jo Merszei (Alan Docking Racing).

As quickly as it arrived, the rain stopped and so everyone went back out to play, most of them ignoring the fact that the officials had announced that wet weather tyres could be used. It would have been a big mistake, as the track was drying out very quickly and there were only 12 minutes of the session left anyway. Not wasting time, Yoshimoto moved up to 5th at the end of his first flying lap. Bremer soon displaced Yoshimoto to take 5th, while Ide was briefly fastest. That 5th place was proving popular as Derlot now moved into it, only to have Pla decide he liked the idea too. The improvements were coming thick and fast now as the final second ticked away. Jouanny was now fastest of all again and the sun was shining, and not just on Bruce.

Now Yoshimoto and Doornbos were disputing 4th, while Karthikeyan managed to ease into the 2 minutes 17 seconds bracket to go fastest. Ide then improved on that, only to have Kovalainen go even better, before Montin did the same. Pla was now in 3rd but it still wasn't over. Montin went faster, setting a time of 2:17.028, while Kovalainen's time was 2:17.030. It really was that close.

Kovalainen then raised the target to 2 minutes 16 seconds, which was a challenge. Pla tried to rise to that challenge, lost control, clipped the barriers and got going again. Gommendy, who had been a long way down the order for most of the session, suddenly found his form with a lap that caused spectators to fear for his safety. It was an inspired performance, and netted him the fastest time of the morning shortly before the end of the session. It was a pity, therefore, that he then put the car in the wall at Dona Maria. Presumably the ASM guys wouldn't object too much, even though he had also clipped the barriers on Thursday and done damage in both sessions. At least he had done it while trying incredibly hard. And so the top ten was Gommendy from Kovalainen, Montin, Pla, Ide, Campanico, Courtney, Karthikeyan, Carbone and Kerr.


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