Pedro de la Rosa finishes the Championship in style .... Best regards, Raimon Duran Press Release 107 FN-10 / SUZUKA Nov. 9th, 97 Pedro's 6th win of Formula Nippon ! Suzuka (Japan) - Pedro de la Rosa has finished the 1997 Formula ...
Pedro de la Rosa finishes the Championship in style ....
Press Release 107 FN-10 / SUZUKA Nov. 9th, 97
Pedro's 6th win of Formula Nippon !
Suzuka (Japan) - Pedro de la Rosa has finished the 1997 Formula Nippon Championship in style, scoring his sixth F.3000 win of the season at Suzuka, equaling the record of race wins in one season and setting a new record of points and of podium finishes that may be very difficult to be beaten in years to come.
The Spaniard driver and F-1 candidate had already clinched the 1997 Formula Nippon Championship at Round 7 with still three races left, but he wanted to fight to the very end to prove he is competing to win and nothing else. He then lead all the race to finish in his Shionogi Nova Lola Mugen. In qualifying practice he had already been fastest in setting an impressive pole postion time just 2/10 shy of Suzuka F-3000 lap record set two years ago when the use of qualifying tyres was allowed.
At the start of the race, he simply pulled away after a perfect start and increased his lead gap by almost one second a lap until lap 15. He then maintained the gap until he took the flag after 35 laps. Behind him, Takuya Kurosawa could do nothing but to bring the car home and clinch second position in the championship. His rivals for the runner-up position in the series lost the battle even before it started. Four-times Sauber GP driver, Norberto Fontana started quite down the grid and new Tyrrell F1 driver Toranosuke Takagi stalled his PIAA Nakajima Reynard at the green light (for the second time this season). He eventually managed to finish 5th, almost one lap behinf Pedro de la Rosa, but could not challange Kurosawa.
This has been the 6th win of Pedro de la Rosa in this year's Formula Nippon 10-race Championship, equalling Kazuyoshi Hoshino's record of wins in one season (1990). Pedro has also set a record 82 points score in the series and has been in the rostrum at everyone of the 10 races. Taking into account that he already finished 2nd at last year's closing race, he has accounted for 11 podium finishes in a row...
Separately, this year Pedro de la Rosa has also won the Japanese GT Championship sharing a works Castrol Tom's Toyota Castrol Supra with German driver Michael Krumm. They scored two wins, one second and one third in six races.
"This may be my last race in a Japanese Championship and that is one of the reason for what I wanted to win this race desesperately. It has been a dream season for me : 16 races, 8 wins, two titles, a total 14 rostrums finishes, several pole positions and fastest laps in both championships. What any other driver would dream with ? Now I hope all this will be enough to get a good oportunity in F-1. I am sure one day I can do as well in F-1 as I have done it here", commented Pedro de la Rosa after the race. "Now I will go back to Europe and we will decide what we will do in 1998. Well, I can advance that I want to be in a F-1 at december tests !!"
1 - Pedro M. de la Rosa Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1h. 02' 07.829 at 198.20 km/h 2 - Takuya Kurosawa Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1h. 02' 20.924 3 - Masahiko Kageyama Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1h. 02' 42.699 4 - Masami Kageyama Reynard - Mugen Bridgestone 1h. 02' 49.090 5 - Toranosuke Takagi Reynard - Honda Bridgestone 1h. 03' 35.287 6 - Tetsuya Tanaka Lola - Mugen Bridgestone 1h. 03' 37.551