Grapevine: Verstappen Wins the Minardi Two-Seater Race

Minardi race driver Jos Verstappen beat a field of eight drivers - including team chief Paul Stoddart - to win the two-seater race at Rockingham Motor Speedway last weekend.

Grapevine: Verstappen Wins the Minardi Two-Seater Race

Minardi race driver Jos Verstappen beat a field of eight drivers - including team chief Paul Stoddart - to win the two-seater race at Rockingham Motor Speedway last weekend.

A record number of 44,000 spectators turned out to watch the "Thunder at the Rock" event, which also included demonstrations of Minardi's Formula One machines and a 'Days of Thunder' ASCAR race.

Dutchman Verstappen, whose passenger was rock star Jay Kay from pop band Jamiroquai, had gear selection problems at the start and dropped to the back of the field.

But he soon caught up with the pack and used the pit stops to overtake a number of cars and said: "It was great to take the chequered flag and hear the Dutch national anthem on the podium. I only wish it had been a real Grand Prix.

"I must say, it was a great experience I still can't believe how close the two-seater is to the Formula One car. I drove the F1 car in pit-stop demonstrations and the two-seater was only a few seconds slower."

Minardi tester Gianmaria Bruni, who was partnered by Justin Hawkins from rock band The Darkness, finished second and F3000 driver Patrick Friesacher, with footballer Teddy Sheringham, rounded off the rostrum.

Minardi team Principal Paul Stoddart was delighted with the event - the third of its kind after running at Donington in 2001 and 2002 - and he paid tribute to his team and the volunteers who helped it go so well.

"My sincere thanks to the European Minardi teams in England and Italy, and to the volunteers who have helped us out this weekend," he said. "Without their support, we simply wouldn't be able to stage events like this.

"Many people ask why we don't stage events like this more often, but the logistics involved in setting up what is effectively half of a Grand Prix grid is not something we take lightly."

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