Pizzonia looks to make splash in Brazilian race

Skip Barber Racing School grad Antonio Pizzonia returned to his native Brazil in the hopes of breaking out in yet another series. In his first FIA Formula 3000 weekend at the Interlagos track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pizzonia ended the first day of...

Skip Barber Racing School grad Antonio Pizzonia returned to his native Brazil in the hopes of breaking out in yet another series. In his first FIA Formula 3000 weekend at the Interlagos track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pizzonia ended the first day of practice fourth overall, just two-tenths behind the leader.

After graduating from his Three Day Racing School, Pizzonia entered the Skip Barber Race Series where he immediately made some heads turn. Then just 17 years old, Pizzonia went on to win the five of his first six race starts. A sixth had been in the offing until a mechanical gremlin slowed him down.

With spades of confidence in hand, he left for Europe where he won the British Formula Renault title in his rookie season having won 11 of the 13 rounds. The honor garnered him a test with the Williams F1 team to glowing reviews from the team impresario, Sir Frank Williams.

Last year, Pizzonia handily won the prestigious British F3 championship raising the specter of a jump to Formula 1 for 2001. In spite of having shone brightly in tests for both the Benetton and Arrows F1 teams, Pizzonia decided to join the Petrobras F3000 squad that propelled another Skip Barber grad to stardom in Juan Pablo Montoya.

The Sperafico name continues to garner headlines. This time it's the turn of Barber Dodge Pro Series competitors Alex and Rafael's cousins to fill the limelight. Brothers Ricardo and Rodrigo Sperafico occupied the second and third spots on the F3000 time sheets ahead of Pizzonia in Brazil.

1997 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion, American Derek Hill had less successful start to his F3000 weekend. He posted only the 17th quickest time, yet needs to improve by only 1.2 seconds to be at the head of the field.

-George Tamayo

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About this article
Series F3000
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams