Superb fifth for Sato

With his immediate Formula 1 uncertain, Takuma Sato's fine drive to fifth place in the Japanese Grand Prix was an immaculately timed reminder of what the out-going British F3 champion is capable of

Superb fifth for Sato

After impressing with a career-best qualifying position of seventh, Sato drove faultlessly to fend of the challenge of the Renault drivers and picked up a couple of places following the retirements of David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher to claim his first ever F1 points.

"That was incredible!" he beamed. "One point was what I was after, but I've scored two, which is excellent for the team. The car was really good and the strategy, tyres and engine all worked together well today. The crowds were unbelievable, waving at me on every single lap and I saw everything! It was great and I appreciate the fans. This is one of the best feelings in my life and I'm so happy to score two points for the team."

Sato's two points also meant Jordan moved clear of BAR and Jaguar to finish sixth in the constructors' standings and guarantees the cash-strapped team a larger slice of the F1 prize fund.

"It has been a tough battle in the Championship midfield this season and finishing sixth is very important to us as it brings us respectability," said team boss Eddie Jordan. "I'm very pleased for Takuma as he did a great job. The crowd went wild for him and I'm sure there will be a party in town tonight."

Dave Richards. boss of BAR who lost out to Jordan in the intra-Honda battle was disappointed with finishing eighth in the standings.

"This isn't the way we wanted to conclude the season," he said. "But we have to put the disappointment behind us now and look to the future."

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