FNIPPON: Mine report

RESULTS 7th RACE - MINE 14/9 Pedro de la Rosa wraps 1997 Championship ! Best regards, Raimon Duran Press Release 96 No-7 / MINE Race September 14th, 1997 Pedro de la Rosa, 2nd, is 1997 Champion.... with 3 races left ! The wet-dry race...

RESULTS 7th RACE - MINE 14/9

Pedro de la Rosa wraps 1997 Championship !

Best regards, Raimon Duran

Press Release 96 No-7 / MINE Race September 14th, 1997

Pedro de la Rosa, 2nd, is 1997 Champion.... with 3 races left !

The wet-dry race was won by Norberto Fontana.

Mine (Japan) - In finishing second in Round 7 of 1997 Formula Nippon Championship, Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa (Shionogi Nova) has mathematically won the title with still three races left.The winner was Argentinian Norberto Fontana who was one of the few drivers to start with slick tyres in a fully wet track, thus avoiding to stop in the pits to change tyres.

Rain satrted heavily when the full grid was in its formation lap, forcing the Clerk of the Course to red-flag the race even before it started. Fifteen minutes later the race started with the Safety Car at the front. Rain had stopped few menutes before and only three cars took the chance of slick tyres : Kurosawa (4th onthe grid), Fontana (7th) Firman (11th) and Apicella (14th). Poleman Takagi, De la Rosa (2nd) and the rest opted for playing safe : they were partially wrong...

The SC came in on lap two and by lap three, De la Rosa was already leading from Takagi. However few laps later the track started to dry and soon afterwards Fontana and Firman closed on De la Rosa. By then Kurosawa (main De la Rosa's rival for the title) seemed already out of contention after a spin.

Fontana and Firman passed the Spaniard on lap, this convincing Pedro to stop to change tyres despite the sky being still heavily clouded and menacing to open again. The pit stop costed De la Rosa several places (despite a great job of the Shionogi-Nova crew) and when he came back he was on 10th position, with Fontana, Firman, Apicella and .....Kurosawa in the first four places. With 52 laps to go there was plenty of time to regain few places.... Few laps later Pedro was back into the points and by mid-race (lap 31) he already was ahead of Kurosawa, who had also been passed by Mitsusada.

On lap 34 Kurosawa had to retire and Pedro, then in 5th place was already champion. But to win a championship without being on the rostrum and not celebrating it with champagne is not the way Pedro wanted to celebrate his 6th singleseater title . So, he kept charging, setting fastest lap few times and passing Apicella on lap 36. Then Ralph Firman retired on lap 38 while 2nd (in what has been his best race so far this season) and finally Pedro not having enough with 3rd place, passed Mitsusada with 5 laps to go, clinching his 10th podium finish (*) of the year, and the 1997 F. Nippon title. (*) : 7 in Formula Nippon + 3 in Japanese GT.

Now, Pedro's immediate targets are to call the attention of few F-1 team managers in serach of a winner and to win the remaining three Formula Nippon races.

RACE RESULTS

1 - Norberto Fontana Reynard - Mugen Bridgestone 1:21:57.939/147.026 km/h 2 - Pedro M. de la Rosa Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1:22:51.775 3 - Hidetoshi Mitsusada Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1:22:58.290 4 - Marco Apicella Reynard - Judd Bridgestone 1 lap 5 - Toranosuke Takagi Reynard - Honda Bridgestone 1 lap 6 - Satoshi Motoyama Reynard - Mugen Bridgestone 1 lap

17 finishers

Fastest Lap : Pedro M. de la Rosa en 1' 15.092 at 155.2 km/h

Championship Standings after 7 races (out of10)

1 - Pedro M. de la Rosa 56 points 2 - Takuya Kurosawa 22 3 - Hidetoshi Mitsusada 18 4 - Norberto Fontana 17 5 - Toranosuke Takagi 15 6 - Masahiko Kageyama 12 6 - Ralph Firman 10 =8A 15 drivers qualified Points : 10-6-4-3-2-1

Next Formula Nippon race : MOTEGUI (R7), Sept. 28

=46or further information, please contact Raim=F3n Dur=E1n at:

+34 3 211 2334 / +34 0894 2183 / +34 3937 7314 rd.racingservices@filnet.es

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , Tora Takagi , Hidetoshi Mitsusada , Ralph Firman , Satoshi Motoyama , Takuya Kurosawa , Marco Apicella , Masahiko Kageyama , Norberto Fontana